Britain has taken hummus to its heart. Apparently, 41 per cent of us have a pot of the stuff in the fridge, and we spend around £60 million a year on it. Earlier this month, singer Robbie Williams revealed he eats it every day. Made by blending cooked chickpeas with olive oil, tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, cumin, lemon and salt, hummus has much to recommend it for your health. Chickpeas are a protein-rich legume high in fibre — important for digestive health, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels — and a good source of iron and other minerals. There are ever more sophisticated versions of hummus available, but not all are equal nutritionally. Noor Al Refae, a dietitian in Yorkshire, assessed 12, we then rated them.
Nando's hummus + peri-peri drizzle
170g, £2, ocado.com
This is 55 per cent chickpeas and has rapeseed, sunflower and olive oils. While the oils provide omega-3 fatty acids, they also boost the calorie content — a 60g serving (two heaped tablespoons) has 190 calories and 1.92g saturated fat — about as much as in a teaspoon of butter. It is also high in salt, with 0.6g in a serving, which is roughly what you’d get in two bags of ready salted crisps. That’s a ninth of the daily limit.
Taste: Bland — the chilli drizzle is a must.
Sainsbury's roasted beetroot hummus
200g, £1.55, sainsburys.co.uk
THIS is made with 39 per cent beetroot, which is a good source of nitrates, shown to have beneficial effects on blood pressure. It’s also high in vitamin C.
This has the second-lowest salt content here — a bag of ready salted crisps’ worth in a 60g portion. The 10 per cent tahini provides calcium, which aids bone health, and magnesium, for muscle and nerve function. The half-a-teaspoon of sugar in a portion is natural sugar from the beetroot.
Taste: Delicious: slightly sweet with a minty zing.
Asda extra special basil pesto hummus
170g, £1.75, asda.com
On the plus side, the sundried tomato paste in this is a good source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant which helps protect cells.
But this is topped with pesto, parmesan cheese, olive oil and pine nuts, giving it the second highest calorie content here, with 212 in a 60g serving — the same as three digestive biscuits. The 2.52g saturated fat in a portion is also 12.6 per cent of a woman’s daily limit.
Taste: An acquired taste as the cheese is powerful.
Moorish pea hummus
150g, £1.80, sainsburys.co.uk
This is described as having ‘50 per cent more protein, to keep you feeling fuller for longer’. The addition of peas — 30 per cent of the hummus — and pea protein powder here means a 60g portion contains 6g protein, which is about the same as a large egg.
That said, a 60g portion of lean meat, fish or soya would have more than double that amount of protein, without the high-fat content typical of hummus. But peas are a good source of protective antioxidant vitamin C.
Taste: The clean, fresh, pea flavour is scrumptious.
Chicp chilli pumpkin hummus
170g, £1.99, ocado.com
This is made with surplus vegetables that have been rejected by supermarkets due to their shape or size, thereby reducing food waste. It contains roughly equal quantities of chickpeas and pumpkin.
Pumpkin is a rich source of cell-protective beta-carotene, vitamin C and fibre, as well as lutein, which is important for eye health. Chilli flakes have been added, along with ginger puree.
This is lower in salt than most of the other products here, but a 60g serving will still take up 8 per cent of your daily limit.
Taste: Sweet and spicy with some real heat.
Meadow fresh clasic hummus
200g, 65p, Lidl
Significantly cheaper than most hummus, this also has the least salt of the other products here, with just 0.34g per 60g serving.
But it is one of the more calorific, with 211 calories in two tablespoons. There’s also 1.68g saturated fat in 60g, which is around 8 per cent of a woman’s daily limit and 5.6 per cent of a man’s, mainly due to the rapeseed oil and sesame seed paste.
Taste: Delicious and well balanced. Creamy with grainy bits of chickpeas.
Tesco reduced fat hummus
200g, £1.20, tesco.com
This reduced-fat hummus is 59 per cent chickpeas — the highest here — which accounts for its high fibre content: a portion provides around 3.8g of gut-boosting fibre, 12 per cent of your daily needs.
This has less than half the saturated fat content of some other brands — achieved by upping the amount of chickpeas, reducing the amount of oil and adding water and a little cornflour to thicken it — and is low on sugar, too.
Taste: Classic and grainy — if a little bland.
M&S velvet hummus
170g, £1.60, Marks & Spencer
The first ingredient here is water, followed by only 28 per cent chickpeas and 16 per cent tahini, which is rich in fibre, bone-strengthening calcium and heart-healthy fats.
This is high in total fat considering the amount of water, and you get 1.98g saturated fat per 60g serving and almost 200 calories; so it’s best served with vegetable crudites if you’re watching your weight. One serving also gives you a tenth of your salt limit.
Taste: It has pleasant lemony notes.
Waitrose extra virgin olive oil hummus
200g, £1.65, waitrose.com
Made with 42 per cent chickpeas, 13 per cent tahini and 24 per cent olive oil, it’s no surprise this hummus is among the highest in calories and saturated fat of all the products we looked at.
You get nearly 300 calories per 60g portion and 3.12g saturated fat — and that’s before you’ve found something to dip in it. It also has 0.49g salt in a serving — more than 8 per cent of your daily limit.
Taste: Rich tahini and olive oil flavour.
Sabra hummus extra with pine nuts
200g, £1.99, sainsburys.co.uk
Made to a traditional recipe, this smooth hummus is topped with pine nuts and olive oil, and has an extra layer of whole chickpeas at the bottom.
The olive oil is a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants, while the pine nuts add manganese, important for bone health and vitamin E.
Despite being 49 per cent chickpeas, it’s high in calories — with 209 in a 60g portion.
This serving will also provide a tenth of your daily limit of salt.
Taste: Authentic flavour.
Pulse caramelised garlic lentil hummus
150g, £2.50, ocado.com
Hummus is the Arabic word for chickpea, however, this contains lentils instead. Both are high-fibre legumes with similar calorie, protein and carbohydrate values. But this has half the fat of traditional hummus and fewer calories — about 100 in a portion, which also provides 12 per cent of your daily fibre.
On the downside, it has the second-highest salt content — 0.78g in a portion — 13 per cent of your daily limit.
Taste: Good, but the roasted garlic is overpowered by lemon and cumin.
...And here's a pudding! Hou choc-o-chick sweet hummus
180g, £3, houloveshou.com
A sweet hummus made with chickpeas, cocoa powder, coconut milk, and sugar. It has half the fat and calories of other chocolate spreads, such as Nutella, and is less calorific than some of the savoury products here, too.
However, the oil and coconut milk give it one of the highest levels of saturated fat. It’s sugary, too, with almost one-and-a-half teaspoons in a portion, some of it added. But for a sweet spread, this has a better nutritional profile than most.
Taste: Lovely chocolate ice-cream flavour, 7/10 as a dessert but 1/10 as a hummus.