While most hummus varieties are free of animal products, some brands include a few extra ingredients that may not be so vegan-friendly. Learn more below about which ingredients for hummus to avoid and how to make your own hummus at home using our simple recipe.
Hummus is one of our favorite dips - not only does it taste great, but it's one of a select few nutrient-dense dips that's good for you, too.
This Mediterranean and Middle Eastern specialty pump up just about anything from pitas to wraps, soups, and stews. Hummus is chickpea-based and usually animal product-free, which makes it incredibly popular in vegan and vegetarian circles.
Occasionally, hummus may contain some ingredients that aren't vegan-friendly, so we're giving you the rundown on the different types of hummus brands so that you have an idea of what to watch out for.
We’ve also included our simple recipe so you can make vegetarian hummus at home.
What is hummus?
Vegetable hummus is a smooth puree of cooked chickpeas, tahini, lemon, and fresh garlic. It has a nutty, earthy flavor with soft acidity from the fresh lemon.
While hummus originated in the Middle East and the Mediterranean and is an everyday staple in these areas, it has long been gaining popularity worldwide. An estimated 25% of American homes stock their refrigerator with hummus. The sales of hummus have grown to $725 million annually, from just $5 million 20 years ago.
Some people add other ingredients to the basic hummus recipe, like spices, black olives, caramelized onions, red pepper paste, and more. And often, manufacturers make hummus without chickpeas at all, for those with allergies to the food.
Though not technically hummus anymore, alternative hummus is made of zucchini, cauliflower, sweet potato, beets, and more! One of our favorite alternatives is tofu hummus, which is ridiculously high in vegan protein. You can easily learn how to make tofu as the perfect hummus replacement.
What are the ingredients in hummus?
What is hummus made of? Here are the main ingredients you'll find in a typical hummus bowl and a few non-vegan ingredients that manufacturers may add.
- Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans: a protein-filled legume;
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil:oil made from pressed olives;
- Tahini:a sesame seed paste;
- Lemon Juice:from fresh-squeezed lemons;
- Garlic, Water, and Spices
- Palm Oil:Production of palm oil is typically problematic for vegans as it cuts down rainforests, displacing indigenous populations, contributing to the extinction of certain animals, and releasing much carbon into the atmosphere;
- Vitamin D:Foods that have added vitamin D generally come from lanolin sources, a sheep's wool product;
- Honey:If this bee product sweetens the hummus, it's no longer vegan;
- White Sugar:White sugar is often processed using animal bone char, so many vegans avoid consuming it;
- Natural Flavors:Some natural flavoring can contain animal products. It's all listed under the umbrella of "natural flavor," so be careful when purchasing hummus containing this potentially non-vegan ingredient.
Can vegans eat hummus?
Vegans can eat hummus as long as it doesn't contain any non-vegan ingredients listed above. This also depends on each person's definition of veganism; some choose to adhere very strictly to a vegan diet, while others make allowances for sugar, honey, or other products they deem okay.
What matters most is not following a specific diet's rules but making informed decisions that feel right for you.
For the most part, the majority of big-name brands are vegan, but remember to read labels carefully, or try making hummus yourself - it's pretty simple and even better than the store-bought kinds!
Health benefits of hummus
Is hummus good for you?
Hummus is an excellent part of any healthy diet, vegan or not. Chickpeas are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and a great source of plant-based protein. The combination of dietary fiber and protein helps keep you satiated for hours, helping reduce overall calories consumed in a day.
Lemon and fresh garlic are both antioxidants that do beautiful things for your body!
Olive oil contains heart-healthy fats and helps keep your brain and joints strong and healthy.
The main spice in hummus, cumin, promotes healthy digestion and contains beneficial antioxidants. Cumin is also rich in iron, which a vegan diet can sometimes be lacking, making this dip the perfect snack for vegans!
Vegan hummus brands
Is Sabra hummus vegan?We're happy to report that one of the most widely-available brands of hummus is entirely free of animal products.
Here are some of the best-tasting hummus brands you can buy:
- Roots Hummus Original
- Hope Hummus
- Majestic Sprouted Hummus
- Tribe Hummus
- Nature's Promise Organic
- Whole Foods Original Hummus
- Kirkland Signature Organic Hummus
- Trader Joe's Hummus Dip
This is by no means an exhaustive hummus list, so if you see a hummus brand you want to try, flip it around and take a look at the ingredients on the label.
How to make vegan hummus: Easy vegan hummus recipe
Homemade hummus is way better than the store-bought versions - it tastes fresher, and you have complete control over the texture of your puree and the quality of added ingredients.
You can peel the chickpeas if you want an extra-smooth hummus, but we just throw them in whole. Toss your hummus ingredients into a food processor and pulse until it reaches your ideal smoothness.
It's a little more time-consuming, but cooking dried chickpeas from scratch can give you an even tastier hummus, so give it a whirl if you have the extra time.
This hummus contains no preservatives, so it has a shorter shelf-life than store-bought versions. Store this hummus inside an airtight container in your fridge and enjoy it for up to seven days.
- 1 15-oz can of chickpeas
- 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 c. tahini, stirred
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 Tbsp water
- Sprinkle of paprika or sumac
- In a food processor, combine your tahini and lemon juice. Process for 1 min, scrape the sides down, then process for 30 secs.
- Add the olive oil, garlic, cumin, and a 1/2 tsp of salt to the processor. Mix for 30 secs, scrape the sides, then process for another 30 secs, or until well blended.
- Open, drain, and rinse the can of chickpeas. Add half of the can of chickpeas to the food processor; process for 1 min. Scrape sides and add remaining chickpeas and process until smooth; 1 to 2 mins.
- If the hummus is too thick, turn on the food processor and slowly add 2-3 Tbsp of water until you reach your ideal consistency.
- Add salt to taste. Serve hummus with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of sumac or paprika.
- Store homemade hummus in a sealed, airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Final verdict: Is hummus vegan-friendly?
Hummus is almost always a vegan-friendly food, with a few potential exceptions to watch for, including:
- Palm oil;
- Honey, cane sugar, and white sugar;
- Natural flavors;
- And vitamin D.
Many high-quality, store-bought options are animal-product free, but you can make easy vegan and vegetarian hummus at home using our simple recipe and a few everyday ingredients.
Save this recipe and try our homemade vegan hummus!