If you look at the recipe archive, you'll see green onions liberally sprinkled on MANY dishes. I wouldn't blame you for thinking I have an unnatural obsession with green onion. I do. The proof is here, here, here and HERE.
Green onion is a very popular ingredient in Chinese food. (We even put it in our pancakes!) I use it a lot in my cooking but never thought of making hummus with it until I saw the recipe on registered dietician nutritionist Kelli Shallal's blog when I was looking for protein-filled snack options. Call me biased but I think it's a brilliant idea!
Kelli has been helping me make better nutritional choices for my body. Truth be told, even after more than a year of living abroad, I still sometimes struggle with eating right in a place void of the comfort food I grew up with. Speaking of which, I would really like a bowl of pan mee, please.
During my first nutrition coaching session with Kelli, I was prompted to evaluate my existing dietary habits (too many chips on the go!) and really think about my personal health goals (mindful eating and meditation, ommm...). By the end of our video call, we identified the lack of protein and healthy fats in my diet as the key problem and she drew out a quick plan for me. Yes, let's kick stress eating and energy crashes in the b*tt!
"The first step," she advised, "is to make sure that you are eating balanced meals and that you are eating enough in the morning and for lunch, which will drastically reduce your cravings. If you have done that and you still have cravings, evaluate whether you got enough sleep, recovered fully from exercise, are stressed or bored."
Kelli believes that intense restriction does not lead to good outcomes, so she isn't a fan of diets. "Treats can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet and they don't make you or your diet bad." The trick, she said, is to be mindful of hunger cues. Intuitive eating is a topic she covers extensively on her blog Hungry Hobby (such a great name, don't you think?), which also has a lot of useful information on nutrition and fitness.
Don't you just hate it when a meal doesn't quite hit the spot? Story of my life! Poor food choices explain why my stomach sometimes feels like a bottomless pit. Let's talk about what I've learned from Kelli about protein and healthy fats, and how it has helped me.
Protein and healthy fats promote satiety and fullness, and what that does is prevent overeating, thus leading to a lower calorie intake. Pairing protein with a healthy carbohydrate contributes to stable blood sugar levels, which can help ward off cravings and energy dips.
Ah, sounds simple enough. So why didn't I pay more attention to that for my diet? Well, because life happened and my focus was derailed. Which is why it was really useful to have a professional to refer to, even if it was just for one session to help me get right back on track.
Now let's look at some of my favorite plant-based protein and healthy fats. I like how easily I can add tofu, tempeh, edamame and green peas to any recipe. Lentils, beans, and chickpeas are also packed with fiber and carbohydrates, and make nice vegetarian entrees. Or dips like hummus.
Don't be afraid of fat! Snack on seeds, nuts, olives, and even avocados, but always in moderation. And I love sprinkling nutritional yeast, which reportedly has 12g of protein in 3 tablespoons, on my roast veggies, soups, and salads.
Made with protein-rich chickpeas and my all-time favorite green onion, you can see why this hummus fits right into the plan for me. Although this recipe may not abide by the laws of hummus making (No tahini? No problem!), it does the job well. I've been spreading it on my sandwiches, turning it into salad dressings, and simply snacking on it with raw vegetables. I can't begin to tell you how satisfying it is!
Tell me: What's your favorite hummus flavor?
Special thanks to Kelli for the nutrition coaching session. If you're looking for professional nutrition coaching, Kelli Shallal MPH, RD, owner of Hungry Hobby LLC, provides virtual and local one-on-one nutrition counseling emphasizing a holistic view point and intuitive eating principles. Check out her website at hungryhobbyrd.com for nutrition services and her blog Hungry Hobby for recipes, quick workouts, and health tips.
Green Onion Hummus
Adapted from Hungry Hobby. A high-protein dip with green onion and parsley that give it a refreshing healthy color. Best enjoyed with raw vegetables as a clever snack option.
1 can (about 2 cups) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 large green onion, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup tahini (optional)*
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
Olive oil for drizzling
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the hummus has reached a creamy consistency. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. If you like, sprinkle with chopped green onion and parsley before serving. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil on top. Serve as a dip with raw vegetables. Happy snacking!
*NOTE: Tahini is a sesame seed paste that gives hummus that deep smoky flavor. If you don't have it or prefer not to use it, substitute with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil.