Creamy and Bean-Free Avocado Hummus
Recipe From Megan Olson of Paleohacks:
Hummus is a dip with Middle Eastern origins, and the word is actually a direct translation for chickpea.1 It is traditionally made by grinding together chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon juice and salt.2
While tasty, the main issue with eating hummus is that it uses beans. As you know, beans contain lectins, which are sugar-binding plant proteins that attach to your cell membranes. Recent research has shown that lectins are linked to inflammatory or autoimmune conditions, making them a threat to your health.
If you like hummus but would like to circumvent its lectin-related issues, try replacing the chickpeas with other ingredients, which this recipe from Paleohacks succeeds in doing. By using zucchinis and avocados in place of chickpeas, you’re enriching the hummus with a healthy dose of beneficial fats, plus other nutrients, that your body needs. It’s very easy to prepare as well.
Creamy and Bean-Free Avocado Hummus:
- 2 medium zucchinis, peeled and deseeded
- 1 to 2 large, ripe avocados
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup homemade tahini
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Sea salt, to taste
- Paprika and dried cilantro for serving (optional)
- Slice off the ends of both zucchinis, peel and deseed them, then place in a food processor along with the avocado, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, cumin, garlic and salt.
- Process on high until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with paprika and dried cilantro on top (optional) and serve.
- Use two avocados instead of one to thicken up the texture.
- Try this avocado hummus as a marinade! Slather it on chicken, pork or beef to add depth and flavor.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Avocado Provides Healthy Fats for Optimal Health
In order to make hummus healthier, this recipe uses avocado, which is rich in various nutrients that will certainly grab your attention. In particular, avocado is rich in healthy fats, which is a far more ideal source of energy compared to sugar. In addition, these very same fats can help increase the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients from other foods you eat. A 100-gram serving also contains the following nutrients that can help you meet your daily recommended intake:
Vitamin K: 26 percent
Folate: 20 percent
Vitamin C: 17 percent
Potassium: 14 percent
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): 14 percent
Vitamin B6: 13 percent
Vitamin E: 10 percent
Niacin: 9 percent
Zucchini Provides Additional Texture for the Hummus
While avocado gives this hummus a smooth and velvety mouthfeel, using it alone won’t give the recipe a hummus-like texture. To help thicken the dish and give it a deeper flavor, zucchini is added. There are many things to love about zucchini. For one, it is a low-calorie food, which means that it can help prevent you from overeating and gaining excess weight. It also contains dietary fiber that may help boost your digestive health.
Furthermore, zucchini has a diverse antioxidant profile, which includes zeaxanthin, carotenes and lutein. Notable minerals include potassium, which can help moderate blood pressure levels and counter the effects of too much sodium in other foods you eat, and manganese, which may help promote proper calcium absorption and keep blood sugar levels balanced, as well as producing proteins responsible for blood clotting.3
Retaining the Tahini Helps Keep the Hummus Flavor
Tahini, which is essentially a paste made by grinding olive oil and crushed sesame seeds together, is a core ingredient of hummus.4 It’s easy to make at home, too, allowing you to avoid pesticides and other toxic chemicals that may come from commercially manufactured tahini. When making tahini, I suggest using unhulled sesame seeds because most of the nutrients are found on the skin. Consuming tahini may offer you the following benefits:5
- Various minerals, such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron
- Contains methionine, an amino acid that may help in detoxifying your liver
- Contains protein, which is helpful for your body’s essential biological functions
- May help manage inflammation, thanks to its copper content
Try This Recipe to Help Increase Your Intake of Healthy Fats
If you regularly eat hummus, I recommend you switch to this recipe. Not only does it taste great, it also contains healthy fats that are more preferable as fuel compared to sugar. In addition, removing chickpea can help reduce the amount of lectins you consume. But before you proceed with this recipe, make sure that all your ingredients are organic and come from reputable producers. This ensures that what you’re eating is not just delicious, but safe for your health as well.
A Complete Guide to Growing Zucchini
(website link): A Complete Guide to Growing Zucchini | Happy DIY Home
More and more people are growing zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) in their gardens and it’s easy to see why. These attractive plants are surprisingly low maintenance and reliably produce large, great tasting yields.
A member of the Cucurbita family alongside cucumbers, melons and squashes, zucchini is technically a fruit. Also known as courgette, these plants are commonly grown alongside other summer or warm weather loving vegetables.
An ideal plant regardless of your situation, these prolific plants are monoecious. This means that instead of producing either male or female flowers, each plant produces both male and female flowers. Bees and pollinators visit the male flower and then the female flower, pollinating your plant.
Male flowers are long with thin stems and are usually larger than female flowers. The female flower has a small swelling at its base, the ovary. After pollination this swells into the fruit. Because the plants produce both male and female flowers you only need one zucchini plant to produce fruit. This makes it an ideal choice if space is at a premium. It is also easy to grow and harvest.
If you want to try growing zucchini in your garden this guide will take you through everything you need to know.
- Different Varieties of Zucchini
- Where to Position Your Zucchini Plants
- How to Sow Your Seeds
- Caring for Growing Zucchini Plants
- Problems Commonly Encountered when Growing Zucchini
- How to Harvest Your Fruit
Different Varieties of Zucchini
Zucchini plants can either be grown from seed or purchased as young plants ready for transplanting into your garden. While the latter method is quicker, growing from seed is more affordable and offers you access to a wider range of varieties. Both seeds and plants can be purchased from garden stores and plant nurseries.
Some of the most popular varieties include:
- Eight Ball. This variety is grown for its nutty, buttery flavor. It produces dark green globe-like fruit that are ready for harvesting within 40 days of sowing.
- Seneca is prized for its dark green cylindrical fruit. The plant produces harvestable fruit within 42 days.
- Ambassador similarly produces dark green, cylindrical fruit. An early variety it can be harvested within 50 days of sowing.
- French White is a small bushy plant which produces white fruit. Ideal for smaller spaces, like Ambassador its fruit is harvestable within 50 days.
- Costata Romanesco is prized for its nutty flavor. Producing ribbed gray-green fruit which is decorated with pale green flecks, the fruit can be harvested within 52 days of germination.
- Spacemiser is a resilient, heavy yielding cultivar. Growing into an attractive bush, the green fruit can be harvested as baby squash within 45 days of sowing.
- Bossa Nova is a hybrid cultivar which produces fruit with a pleasant creamy flesh. A quick growing variety it can be harvested within 37 days of sowing.
- Lungo Bianco is a heirloom cultivar with a compact, bushy growth habit. Its attractive whilte fruits have a mild, sweet flavor and are ready to harvest within 70 days of sowing.
- Zucchini Golden is another heirloom bush variety that produces golden fruits which are ready to harvest within 55 days.
When selecting your plants, take the time to find a variety that is suitable for your growing conditions. If space is at a premium, plant dwarf or smaller cultivars such as Eight Ball. Similarly, these are heat loving plants so if you only enjoy a short summer plant fast maturing, early varieties such as Ambassador. This enables the plants to grow and bear fruit before the winter temperatures hit.
Where to Position Your Zucchini Plants
Growing zucchini plants love the sun. A full sun position, which receives 8 to 10 hours of sunlight everyday is ideal. While the plants can grow in positions that receive as little as 6 hours a day, growth may be slower and the yield not as bountiful.
The soil should be light and well draining. Before planting or sowing prepare the soil by digging in about 4 inches of well composted organic matter. You can also work in 4 to 6 cups per 100 square feet of all purpose organic fertilizer. This helps to enrich the soil and is best done 3 to 4 weeks before planting.
Dense or heavy clay soils can be amended by working in compost or peat moss. This lightens the soil and improves drainage. Use a soil test kit to test the soil for nutrient deficiencies. The soil should be neutral to slightly acidic, a pH of 6.5 to 7.0 is perfect.
How to Sow Your Seeds
When sowing zucchini seeds remember that these plants like warm air and warm soil. Their optimal temperature is at least 70 ℉. Wait until the last frost date has passed and the soil is at least 60 ℉ before planting or sowing. Starting seeds in conditions cooler than their can stunt growth. To help warm the soil up cover it with a horticultural fleece or sheet of plastic.
Before sowing the seeds mound the soil up to create small hills, roughly 6 to 12 inches high and wide. This helps to improve drainage. Sow 3 to 5 seeds in a circle on top of the mound, about one inch deep and water well. Following germination this can be thinned out to just one seed.
You can also start seeds undercover and transplant outside when the temperatures have warmed sufficiently. Sow seeds undercover 4 to 6 weeks before your last predicted frost date.
If you are starting the seeds undercover, sow one seed per biodegradable pot roughly one inch deep. Seed Starter Peat Pots are ideal for starting vegetable and fruit seeds that will later be transferred into the garden.
Fill each pot with fresh, well draining potting soil. After sowing, cover the seeds and water well. Continue to keep the soil evenly moist during germination.
Transplanting Young Plants
When all chance of frost has passed begin hardening the seeds off and reduce watering. Allow the nighttime temperature around the seeds to fall to about 65 ℉.
Mound the soil up and plant one plant per mound, spacing them about 36 inches apart. Larger varieties may require more space, check the seed packet for precise spacing information.
If the seedlings have been started in biodegradable pots they can be planted still in their pots. Simply make a hole in the soil large enough to hold the pot and plant. The rim of the pot should sit level with the top of the soil. Gently firm down the soil and water well. As the plant grows the pot will break down, allowing roots to flourish.
Growing in Containers
Growing zucchini plants require lots of space.But this doesn’t mean that you can’t grow them in pots on a patio or balcony. Dwarf plants such as Eight Ball, Cue Ball and Gold Rush are all ideal for container gardens.
Your chosen pot should be at least 24 inches wide and 12 inches deep. The larger the better. As well as pots you can use any sort of container, such as a barrel, as long as it has drainage holes at the bottom.
Fill your chosen container with a light, well draining potting soil. You can further lighten the soil by working in perlite or vermiculite. Sow the seeds as described above around two weeks after the last frost.
Plant around three seeds in the center of the container about an inch deep. Space the seeds a few inches apart. After planting lightly water the soil, try to keep it moist until the seeds germinate in a couple of weeks. Following germination pick out the weakest seedlings, leaving only one plant to grow on.
Caring for Growing Zucchini Plants
Following germination once seedlings are established, apply a layer of mulch around the plants. This helps the soil to retain moisture and keep an even temperature. This can help the plants to produce larger, earlier crops.
Mulching also helps to deter weeds. Aim to keep the soil as weed free as possible. When weeding try not to damage the root system of the plant.
When to Water
Growing zucchini plants need at least 2 inches of water a week. Try to water the soil not the foliage, zucchini is prone to developing powdery mildew especially if the foliage is allowed to remain damp.
Plants in containers require more frequent watering than those in the ground or raised beds. If you are growing in containers wait until the top two inches of soil are dry to the touch before watering deeply. Allow the top soil to dry before watering again.
A soil moisture gauge, such as the Atree Soil Moisture Meter, can be useful if you struggle to know when to water your plants.
Fertilizing Growing Plants
These are quick growing, prolific plants. Consequently zucchini requires regular fertilizing to sustain its rapid growth habit.
If you have enriched the soil before planting, when seedlings emerge apply a light dose of general purpose fertilizer. Repeat this when blossoms form. Organic solutions such as diluted fish emulsion can also be used. When fertilizing your plants, make sure that you properly water in the fertilizer so that it soaks all the way down to the root system.
If you haven’t enriched the soil before planting, apply a balanced fertilizer once every four weeks. This may also need to be done if you are growing in containers. Water soluble or liquid fertilizers are easily incorporated into the watering routine. Alternatively you can add a slow release fertilizer when you sow or plant.
About the Blog:
Paleohacks is one of the largest Paleo communities on the web. They offer everything Paleo, from a Q&A forum where users get their top health questions answered, to a community blog featuring daily recipes, workouts and wellness content. You can also tune in to their podcast, where they bring in the top experts in the Paleo world to share the latest, cutting-edge health information.