Each week, there's a few staple foods we make. Like homemade yogurt, to be sure. Or real bone broth. Homemade sourdough bread. And this sprouted hummus, made with chickpeas, garlic, lemon and plenty of extra virgin olive oil.
Sprouting is a magical process to watch. It's a slow and gently transformative process that wakens a seed from its dormancy. It's also easy (budget-friendly!) to pack more nutrients into foods you already make and love.
Why Sprout (and cook) Chickpeas
Like most kitchen adventures, sprouting always seems intimidating at first. But once you try it, you'll find that it's actually super easy - and you'll wonder why it took you so long.
I promise you this: If you can fill a jar with water and give it a good shake, you can sprout chickpeas for hummus (and just about anything else, too).
But, beyond the fun of watching a seed, or grain or bean come alive, sprouting also makes foods more nutritious. Much in the same way that making sauerkraut makes cabbage more nutritious, and that's because there's several key processes at play.
Like all pulses, chickpeas contain food phytate as well as enzyme inhibitors (1, 2). Soaking and sprouting improves the nutrient profile of chickpeas, just soaking grains improves their nutrition, too. That's because phytates bind minerals and make them difficult to absorb, while enzyme inhibitors can make foods difficult to digest and protein difficult to absorb.
When you soak and then sprout chickpeas, you release food enzymes that mitigate the presence of both food phytates and enzyme inhibitors. As a result, the minerals and protein in sprouted hummus are more easily absorbed by your body, and the hummus is also easier to digest.
While sprouting is particularly effective at reducing these anti-nutrients, it's not sufficient on its own. And the you'll see the greatest improvement in nutrient availability when you sprout and then cook chickpeas (3) before making hummus or other foods from them. That's also why making raw sprouted hummus is generally a bad idea.
Pressure cooking chickpeas in your Instant Pot or in another pressure cooker is even more effective at reducing these compounds than cooking on the stove. It's also faster, too.
Tips for Making Sprouted Hummus
Making sprouted hummus is a simple process, even though it takes a few extra steps. First, you'll begin by soaking chickpeas in warm water and then draining the water. After that, you'll need to rinse and drain them daily until they germinate. Next, you'll cook the chickpeas either on the stove or, preferably, in your pressure cooker before puréeing them with garlic, tahini, extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
And while the process of making sprouted hummus is pretty straightforward, there's a few things you'll want to keep in mind to make sure the recipe comes out great every time.
- Plan ahead. It takes about 3 days for chickpeas to sprout sufficiently to make hummus.
- Soak chickpeas in warm (not hot or cold) water. Warm water facilitates the release of enzymes and helps your chickpeas sprout.
- Keep the jar at a cool room temperature. Sprouting favors a cool room temperature of about 68 to 70 F.
- Use a jar fitted with a mesh sprouting lid. A ventilated sprouting jar or a jar fitted with a mesh lid allows water to drain efficiently. Without it, your chickpeas will be prone to mold.
- Rinse the chickpeas 2 to 3 times daily. Fill your jar with water, shake gently, and then let it drain completely.
- Blend the ingredients really well to promote a smooth, spreadable hummus.
Sprouted Hummus Recipe
- Rinse the garbanzo beans, and pick out any loose bits of debris. Place them in a jar, and cover them with warm water. Allow the beans to soak overnight, at least 8 and up to 12 hours. Drain and rinse well.
- Seal the jar with a mesh sprouting lid, and turn it upside down or at angle to allow for airflow.
- Twice to three times a day, rinse the chickpeas by filling the jar with water, shaking gently, and then pouring out the water. Invert the jar at an angle to allow for airflow. Sprouts should appear within 2 days, and are ready when they reach about ¼-inch in length - about 3 days total.
Making Sprouted Hummus
- Rinse the chickpeas well, and then dump them into the insert of your pressure cooker. Cover with water by 3 inches, and swirl in a spoonful of fine sea salt. Pressure cook for 20 minutes.
- Drain the chickpeas, and dump them into a high-speed blender or a food processor. Add the minced garlic, lemon juice, salt, tahini, olive oil and water as well as any other flavorings or seasonings you like. Process until completely smooth.
- Serve the hummus immediately, or store in the fridge up to 1 week.
Sprouted Hummus Variations
Once you've mastered the basic technique for making sprouted hummus, you can add different flavor combinations and new seasonings.
Add serrano or jalapeños and a touch of cumin. A little bit of heat can balance the naturally earthy flavor of hummus.
Add garlic confit instead of raw garlic, for a rich and more complex garlic flavor.
Add a slice of preserved lemon for a probiotic boost and a fantastic flavor.
Add roasted beets for a reach color and a touch of sweetness.
Add a spoonful of miso paste for a rich, complex umami flavor.
1) Duhan, et al. (1986) Phytic acid content of chickpea (Cicer arietinum) and black gram (Vigna mungo): varietal differences and effect of domestic processing and cooking methods. Science of Food and Agriculture.
2-3) Shi, L., et al. (2017). Changes in levels of enzyme inhibitors during soaking and cooking for pulses available in Canada. Journal of food science and technology.