This healthy and delicious hummus uses carrots three ways – steamed carrots, roasted colorful rainbow carrots and carrot juice.
Rainbow-hued carrots are grown around the world, and are now finding their place in the United States. These colorful beauties are not simply a novelty. Today they are being bred to contain more nutrients into this antioxidant-rich vegetable. For instance, purple carrots are rich in anthocyanins, the antioxidant compounds that give blueberries their distinctive color and superfood health benefits. They all add pizzaz to any snack or recipe – and might just prompt us (and the kids!) to consume more vegetables… and “eat a rainbow”.
For the Carrot Hummus – I start by steaming carrots until tender-crisp and whirl them in a food processor with tahini, garlic, sea salt and fresh pressed carrot juice. The juice lends a creaminess, lowers calories – a little less olive oil needs to be added. Coat chopped carrots with a little olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and roast until softened, which enhances their inherent sweetness. These are folded into the smooth hummus for texture and a boost of condensed flavor.
The various color pigments indicate different micronutrients, which is why it’s important to eat a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables each day. The different colors vary slightly in flavor, all sweet and crunchy – with the lightest colored ones the mellowest and sweetest.
But what’s getting scientists’ attention is finding that the bright veggies are full of pigments with impressive health-promoting properties. In a class all by themselves, these pigments are considered to be powerful antioxidants that can guard the body’s fragile cells from the destructive effects of unstable molecules known as free radicals.
Rainbow carrots can be found in gorgeous hues of Yellow, Orange (some almost melon colored) Red, Purple and Black. Xanthophylls give the yellow carrots their golden hues and have been linked with good eye health. Red carrots contain lycopene, a type of carotene also found in tomatoes that’s believed to guard against heart disease and some cancers. And – they have great eye-appeal and hip names… “atomic red”, “purple haze”, “yellow sun” and “white satin” to name a few.
Chickpeas, hummus’s main ingredient is admired for it’s, protein, good-for-you carbs, and fiber. The hummus craze is widely spreading, even Subway Restaurants has tested it as a topping to it’s sandwiches.
THE reason to make it yourself: Have control over the ingredients!
Here are the ingredients for Sabra’s hummus (the largest producer), available in supermarkets throughout the U.S. :
Hummus Ingredients: Cooked Chickpeas (Garbanzos), Water, Tahini (Ground Sesame), Soybean Oil*, Garlic, Salt, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate added to maintain freshness, Natural Flavors.
While tasty, it leaves an undesirable “tang” on my tongue – from Citric Acid and Potassium Sorbate (guess that’s why it stays fresh for weeks!) I would rather make it myself with organic chickpeas to start (widely available) and without Natural Flavors!! (ugh!) * Soybean Oil is often a hidden source of GMOs.
Keep extra Carrot Hummus on hand for a wonderful healthy go-to snack or appetizer.