Hummus and bean dips are a tasty way to increase bean consumption. It’s one of my favorite appetizers when friends come over. And to  have on hand for snacks or a quick lunch, replacing processed mayonnaise and dairy (butter or cheese) for a wider assortment of flavor, giving our bodies something deliciously nutritious.

I bought hummus for years, not realizing how simple it was make until I made my first batch. It’s easy to escalate the flavor and nutrition: add roasted red bell peppers or pumpkin or fresh herbs.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”full” source_author=”Steven Pratt, M.D., and Kathy Matthews” source_title=”SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods that Will Change your Life” affiliate_link=”” full_quote=”Beans, peas and lentils are ancient foods, cultivated all over the earth for thousands of years…Beans are one of the most healthy and most economical sources of protein available and a good source of water-soluble vitamins, especially thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folacin.” short_quote=”Beans, peas and lentils are ancient foods, cultivated all over the earth for thousands of years”]

I’ve gone beyond simply garbanzo and have discovered making “hummus” with  lentil, black bean or white beans. I’ve puréed leftover lentil (or any bean) soup to make a tasty spread. And use that extra cup of black beans leftover from another recipe. Its as easy as simply blending with a crushed garlic, and a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and some fresh herbs (parsley, basil, arugula, etc).

Pesto also makes a frequent appearance in my kitchen. It’s usually associated with pasta, and generally made with basil or parsley. But I use whatever herbs are on hand: arugula, kale, mint, carrot tops and even Swiss chard and use pesto in multiple ways.

Here are recipes for my favorite dips and spreads to:

  • On fish fillets to roast in ove
  • On broiled chicken breasts
  • Tossed with whole-wheat pasta and beans fora quick dinner.
  • Spread on toast for a quick snack
  • Replace mayo and use as a sandwich spread
  • Use in a wrap with grains, greens, roasted or fresh veggies, leftover chicken or some cheese
  • Dip for crackers or crudités with a drink when unexpected guests drop in.