Hummus is a favourite condiment amongst the health conscious. Plus, it makes for a delicious dipping sauce for dunking fresh, raw and nutrient-packed crudités into!
With that being said, is hummus keto-friendly? Unfortunately, if you're following a low-carb, high-fat diet — like the keto diet — you'll need to leave traditional hummus made with chickpeas off of your meal plan.
But here's the good news: You can still enjoy hummus on keto by swapping chickpeas for roasted cauliflower florets. Plus, making your own hummus is incredibly easy, often comes at a lower price point than store-bought hummus and delivers a far superior flavour. Below, we explain why hummus is not keto-friendly and how to make low-carb cauliflower hummus from scratch.
Is Hummus Keto?
Short answer: No.
Longer answer: There are two main reasons why chickpeas aren't keto-friendly. First, chickpeas are high in carbohydrates. This, in turn, can prevent you from entering the fat-burning state known as ketosis. Secondly, chickpeas contain anti-nutrients known as lectins, which can be damaging to your gut lining and are not recommended on a keto lifestyle.
Chickpeas Are High in Carbohydrates
The main ingredient in traditional hummus is chickpeas, which aren't compatible with a ketogenic diet. Chickpeas are incredibly high in carbohydrates. In fact, a 1-cup (164 grams) serving clocks in at a whopping 45 grams of net carbs, with only 4 grams of fat and 14.5 grams of protein .
On the keto diet, only 5% of your daily calorie intake should come from carbohydrates. This translates to roughly 20 grams of net carbs per day (some can go as high as 50 grams per day on keto when fat adapted and still stay in ketosis — but this normally takes time). Unfortunately, just one serving of chickpeas will eat up your entire carb allotment for the day, which is why they're typically not keto-friendly.
Chickpeas Contain Lectins
In addition, chickpeas are a legume, which can be detrimental to your gut health. Legumes contain compounds called lectins, which can bind to cell membranes and — over time — damage the lining to your small intestines . While some research suggests that lectins can be destroyed through cooking, it's best to leave them out of any healthy, ancestrally inspired eating plan in large quantities . This is why many ancestrally inspired nutritionists advise against consuming large amounts of legumes, including peanuts, peas, black beans and — in this case — chickpeas.
While chickpea hummus may be out of the question, here’s a piece of good news: You can still achieve the same hummus texture and flavour without chickpeas. Further down this post, we'll explain how to make keto hummus with cauliflower instead.
How to Make Keto Hummus With Cauliflower
If you're looking for a healthy, low-carb and keto snack, enjoy hummus with sliced bell peppers, celery or other fresh veg. To decrease the total carbs in hummus, you'll swap chickpeas (garbanzo beans) for cauliflower, then add tahini, avocado oil and spices. The result? A keto-friendly hummus that contains less than 6 grams of carbohydrates, with over 22 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein.
Here's why each of those ingredients hold a place in a low-carb hummus:
Why You Should Use Avocado or Olive Oil Instead of Seed or Vegetable Oils
Oil is essential to making hummus, so it's important to choose an oil which is healthful and nutritious. However, many store-bought hummus brands use cheap oils, such as vegetable, corn or seed oils.
Making your own hummus means you can steer clear of harmful veg and seed oils, and benefit from a nutritious oil instead such as avocado or olive oil. Hunter & Gather Avocado Oil is perfect for making hummus as it has a subtle, buttery taste. It's also cold pressed, unrefined and incredibly nutrient dense.
We love to drizzle an extra splash of avocado oil when the hummus is finished for a glorious emerald green garnish. 🥑
Why Tahini — Not Chickpeas — Gives Hummus its Flavour
Keto dieters can still enjoy hummus as a low-carb appetiser, even if it's made without chickpeas. Why? Because it's tahini (not chickpeas) that gives hummus its distinct flavour (chickpeas, in reality, are relatively tasteless).
Tahini is a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean staple condiment, which is simply a sesame seed paste. It's a necessity when making hummus, as most hummus recipes are made with a base of chickpeas, tahini and oil.
Thanks to the popularity of hummus, you can find tahini in most larger supermarkets or online. You only need a couple of tablespoons of tahini per batch of hummus.
Recipe note: While tahini provides the bulk of the flavour, you're welcome to season your hummus with acid (like lemon) and spices. Below, you'll use lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper to finish the dish. However, you're welcome to experiment with garlic, cumin and other spices. Otherwise, you can blend other low-carb veg in with the cauliflower. For example, you can use red peppers to make a red pepper hummus, or artichoke and onions for an artichoke hummus.
Why Cauliflower Can Be Used in Keto Recipes
Cauliflower is a low-carb vegetable that can be used in a wide-range of keto recipes, including pizza crusts, pita bread or even mac ‘n’ cheese.
When compared to chickpeas, the carb count of cauliflower is far lower. In fact, in a 1-cup (100 gram) serving size, cauliflower has just 5.3 grams of net carbs . In addition, it contains 2 grams of protein and 0 grams of fat, making it suitable for a low-carb diet. Finally, cauliflower is filled with nutrients, including vitamins C, K and B6, and minerals such as magnesium, potassium and manganese.
Enjoy Cauliflower Hummus on a Low-Carb Diet
Typical hummus is a popular appetiser made from chickpeas, oil and tahini. However, since chickpeas are high in carbohydrates, store-bought hummus is not suitable for the keto diet.
Fortunately, you can make a low-carb alternative by swapping out chickpeas for roasted cauliflower. Below, we share a keto-compliant hummus that's gluten-free, dairy-free, seed-oil free and low in carbohydrates. For more keto food alternatives, be sure to browse the recipe section on this website.
Cauliflower Hummus Recipe
Looking for a low-carb alternative to regular hummus? This keto hummus is made with cauliflower — instead of chickpeas — packing less than 6 grams of carbs per serving.
- Keto and gluten-free
- Makes 4 servings
Nutritional Info (Per Serving):
- Calories: 258
- Fat: 22.6g
- Of which saturates: 2.8g
- Carbohydrate: 5.9g
- Of which sugar: 4.7g
- Protein: 6.3g
What You Need (Ingredients):
- 1 large head of cauliflower or 2 medium heads
- 2 tablespoons Hunter and Gather Avocado Oil
- 4 tablespoons tahini
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper to season
- Drizzle of avocado oil and sprinkle of paprika to garnish
What to Do (Method):
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Chop the cauliflower and cauliflower stems into equal sized chunks, toss with the avocado oil, salt and pepper and roast on a baking tray for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and soft.
- Add the cauliflower and the remaining ingredients into a food processor, blitz until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Taste and add more seasoning or lemon juice if desired.
- Spoon the cauliflower hummus into a bowl and top with a drizzle of avocado oil and a sprinkle of paprika, before serving with your favourite fresh raw veggies.
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It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms, and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
We do, however, recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.