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Hummus nutritional value: dried vs. canned chickpeas

Canned and preserved foods are not as healthy. Specifically, when using canned chickpeas instead of dried ones to make hummus, you loose half the nutrients.

Most of the recipes for homemade hummus found on the web, are based on canned chickpeas (a.k.a garbanzo beens). To those of you who are acquainted with the original flavor of hummus (not the industrial type, that is), this probably sound like a but idea. True, the use of canned peas demands less effort, but it doesn’t taste that good.

For those of you who see think canned chickpeas are a reasonable substitute, I collected some data about the nutritional differences between cooked dried chickpeas and canned ones.

Minerals. Canned chickpeas contain 52% more sodium than cooked chickpeas, although in the process of making the final product (the hummus, that is), this might change.

raw data source:

But the use of canned chickpeas leaves you with 48% less Iron, 42% less Copper, about 30% less Magnesium, Phosphors and Potassium and 10-25 percent less Zinc, Calcium and Selenium.

Vitamins. Vitamin C is not affected by cooking and can-conserving. The canned chickpeas contain 55-75% less Niacin and Folate though.

Amino Acids. Chickpeas contain 18 essential amino acids. About 35% in average of that content is missing from the canned product.

Omega-3. About 48% of the Omega-3 fatty acids found in dried chickpeas after it is cooked, are absent from the canned product. On the other hand, the Tahini (second most important ingredient in hummus) contains a triple amount of Omega-3.

Canned chickpeas nutritional value is very poor compared with cooked traditionally chickpeas. In general, about 50 percent of the nutrients are lost, and in some cases even more. This is, of course, a potential case-study for the general effect of nutritional value loss when using preserved foods instead of fresh ones, but of course – this blog talks about hummus, so our special concern is about what happens to chickpeas.

46 Comments on Hummus nutritional value: dried vs. canned chickpeas


  2. Dear Lea,
    Earlier after opening up this blog I stated the obvious: English is not my mother tongue so I make mistakes. I could not afford to pay for help in this area, so I use a spell-checker for spelling and do my best with the grammer.

    Indeed, as you say, this is not “professional”. But do I still offer good content? I believe I do. I know a lot about Hummus, and can explain myself in a more or less intelligent and coherent manner, which I believe most people will cope with, even if I a bit inarticulate when using English.

  3. hummuslover // April 9, 2007 at 6:24 pm // Reply

    Lea is an idiot, as is anyone who leaves their comments in all caps. Your site is a great source of info. I learned a lot and planning to try out your homemade recipe. I´m glad it´s in English since my ability to read hebrew (?) is nonexistent. Your English is great for someone for whom it´s a 2nd language. It´s all about the content in the end.

    I should know; I am around non native English speakers on a daily basis, and practice makes perfect so keep up the good work. I doubt you´re making much money from this site itself so don´t worry. People like Lea should appreciate that there are people out there who won´t have perfect command of English but should be appreciated regardless for trying. If you need help with the english, feel free to drop me a line. good luck!

  4. Lea is such an ignoramus, shame on her!

    Your English is just fine and and much appreciated. I have made hummus for years but today for the first time, after carefully following your recipe with overnight soak, I beleive I have tasted real hummus and I can tell you it is absolutely delicious and will never open another tin to make hummus again. Many thanks.

  5. Guys, don’t be so harsh on Lea.

    Kirin – this is great news and it fills me with satisfaction.

  6. Hey Shooky,

    After reading both, I still prefer the Hebrew site, but still – don’t get discouraged; for non-Hebrew speakers this is a priceless informational service, spelling and grammar mistakes notwithstanding.

    BTW – what about reviews of hummus places outside of Israel? if you’ve turned international, let’s spread the knowledge about decent hummus spots worldwide. I’m sure people will gladly contribute reviews/posts (I know I would re NYC places).

    On a different note – I would advise all readers who wish to try making home-made hummus to opt for high-quality tehini. This may not be clear to Americans, who are not that familiar with different tehini qualities. For residents of NYC I highly recommend AlWadi tehini; it’s available in several Arab shops, such as the Lebanese grocer at 112th Street and Broadway (I’m sure it can be found downtown as well, for those of us who have no Columbia affiliation). Avoid, if possible, Korynos and all the imported Israeli brands – they usually suck, and will not produce decent quality hummus.

  7. Hey Bambi

    Thanks for the compliments.

    In the future, I hope not only that my English will improve, but also that there will be many contributors. Worldwide coverage of hummus reviews is, by all means, one of our goals.

    Feel free to be the first one to post such a review – only remember it should be helpful and objective (since you are already an active registered user of the Hebrew hummus blog, and I follow your comments, I consider you a trustworthy candidate).

    Meanwhile: thanks for the tahini tip!

  8. I agree, i like what youve done, very informative

  9. PreggieGal // April 22, 2007 at 7:47 am // Reply

    Dear Friend,

    Thank you for your nutritional comparison of canned vs. dried garbanzo beans.

    Recently it has been discovered that canned food is not safe:

    I was trying to find a good source of protein and/or omega-3 that did not involve meat, milk products, fish or soy, and a friend introduced me to hummus. It was great! But the kind in the stores has too much salt (sodium), so I wanted to make my own. Also, finding organic hummus is difficult and it’s expensive, but making my own organic hummus is cheaper and of course healthier.

    I just have one question: for the tahini, do you recommend raw tahini or roasted tahini? Or it doesn’t matter?

    Thank you for your website.

    I like eating hummus by dipping raw vegetables in it. This is great, because previously I really disliked eating veggies. That was not a good situation for a gal in my condition. Also, my pregnancy guidebook recommended Tryptophan-containing foods to help overcome pregnancy insomnia, so thanks to your info I found out that hummus has Tryptophan! Thank you!

    Take care,
    (expecting twins in 2-3 months)

  10. Vermontoise // May 5, 2007 at 2:07 pm // Reply

    Corrected post…

    I‘m so glad that I found this site – and I‘d like to thank you whole-heartedly for putting it into English. As much as I‘d love to be able to understand Hebrew, my solidly Protestant upbringing didn‘t include Hebrew lessons!

    I am passionate about hummous, and until tonight thought I was strange for considering it a main dish… I often make up a batch of hummous and have it for dinner (my local shop in Paris suggested AlWadi tahini – I was very pleased to hear it’s one of the best, and available just three doors down from me!)

    I had a gastric bypass operation a year and a half ago, and am looking for new ways to manage my new weight (I have reached my goal weight.) I was afraid that my passion for hummous would make me fat again – but now I see that it’s not the hummous itself but what I eat with it that I should be careful of. I‘m also eager to try the recipes that you suggest. I always make my own, with almost no oil, but I want to try some new variations.

    Thank you again, and please keep up the good work!!!

  11. Dear Vermontoise –
    We live for comments such as yours. Thanks!
    Anyhow, it is important to say: although the pita bread is the main “danger”, don’t go crazy with the hummus. And make sure you consult with an expert or at list with your doctor about this diet.
    Good luck!

  12. What was your answer to the pernent ladies question? Raw or rosted?
    Tanks for you effort..and inf

  13. Great site, no problem with your english – I can figure it out when something is not right. It reminds me of early compact discs of classical music from Japanese companies such as Denon – the German liner notes and lyrics had been translated into Japanese and then English, always a treat to read. For as linguistically limited a people as Americans are, we really ought to be amazed at how well others do with our language given how nonexistent our skills are in the languages of others.

    I discovered Middle Eastern foods when I spent six weeks at an Arabic language and culture institute one summer. They’ve become a major part of my diet and my favorite cuisine to make from scratch.

    Another point on dry v. canned – less waste, energy involved in production.

    Now I am committed to finding one of the good tahinis you mentioned. But you do not try to explain what qualities a good tahini has. Please go on and try to describe it. Thank you.

  14. John – thanks. I’ll talk more about tahini soon.

  15. man , when it comes to hummus , who else than a Lebanese comes to resolve the whole issue ?! actually i cannot get what the whole fuss is all about here , but there happens to be a talk over a kind of appetizer thats been on my lunch tabel every day of my life so far .. Hummus originated in Lebanon , and the REAL TRUE MOST RELISH HUMMUS RECIPE is as follow 1) get dried chickpeas , soak em for about 8 hours in room temperature water 2 ) drain the chickpeas , then add new clear water in a pan or somethin and steam the chickpeas til they become STARCHY ! 3) the point here is turning the bloody solid chickpeas into edible starchy beans , starchy so that we assure the chickpeas are gonna absorb all the other solutions later to be CREAMY! 4 ) when the chickspeas are finally well steamed , drain em , add some salt to em and put em into a mixer thenauce ( tAHINI ) eq add sesame sual to about half the amount of chickpeas , a bit of lemon juice , NO GARLIC should be added at this procedure unless u wanna consume the whole humus instantly , the point is preserving humus with garlic in the refregie wont taste good later or merely as good as when u add crushed garlic prior to eating .. hope ya enjoy the genuine recipe

  16. Ronald Wagner // July 25, 2007 at 11:24 am // Reply

    I love garbanzo beans with olive oil and garlic, but have never tried a hummus that I liked much. Will look forward to trying your ideas! Thanks for the nutritional information also. For health reasons, if not money, we should all be eating more vegetarian fare.

    I lived around Jewish delis in Los Angeles, and never saw any hummus on the menu. Maybe I just missed it. Is it sold around Fairfax Ave. now?

    Thanks again,

    Ron Wagner

  17. Lea is an idiot, and she has no manners. If you don’t approve of his English, find another site

  18. Hi Shooky, Love the way you have explained the recipe and I have made a lot and hope to make my hubby happy too… We love hummus and thanks for all the information… keep your good work.

  19. Banu – thanks dear, this is very kind of you.

  20. I came across your website looking for hummus recipes using a search engine. I’m opting to use your recipe because of the use of dried garbanzos. I’m already soaking them and can’t wait until tomorrow!

    The nutritional aspects of dried versus processed is amazing. Thanks for the info!

  21. Hi Yvette,
    Good luck, and tell us how it came out, OK?
    BTW, what tahini are you going to use?

  22. I have found canned hummus here in Australia, and was wondering if anyone knew how I could can it at home.

  23. Hi,
    Nice site you have here. Me happy for finding it. 😀
    I use to make no-tahini-hummus, because of the high fat content of tahini, but I have to admit I got bored, so your newly found site is a blessing for me! Considering this, why should I stumble upon some language mistakes instead of learning so many things about a food I love? Perfect English makes a professional site? I really doubt that’s enough… (Not to mention non-professional visitors using ALL-CAPS… 🙂
    Keep up the good word (and lucky me! you made an English version for people like me. I suppose a Romanian one wasn’t on your list, so Eng is the next best thing for me. 😀 )

  24. Canned chickpea are ok in pinch- just. Dried always provide a better hummus. As far as Lea goes- anonymity on the web emboldens rude thoughtless comments, but still she was only expressing an opinion. We don’t have to adopt it. Kudos for the effort on the site shooky.

    I’ve left off putting fresh garlic in the hummus and only use powder now. Fresh garlic (even 1 clove) after it sits for a while overwhelms the hummus and I burp and exhale it for at least a few days! I must try the late addition and see how it fares…

  25. Radtek –
    True, in the long run using fresh garlic may leave aftertaste and that’s a very good reason to eat the hummus instantly. You can also add the fresh garlic shortly before serving.

  26. I haven’t tried your recipe yet, but I am so excited to learn that I didn’t buy the wrong kind of chickpeas, after all! I am an American living in Germany, and the thing I miss most about home (funnily enough) is the HUMMUS.

    I guess that’s because I can find just about everything else I miss — pizza, good Thai food, good Vietnamese food, etc., right here. But I haven’t found even lousy hummus around here yet. You can get reasonably edible hummus at every grocery store in America, but I haven’t found it in one yet in Germany.

    The best hummus I’ve ever eaten in America is in Chicago, at a Lebanese restaurant named Andie’s in Andersonville. It is the best! Creamy, garlicky, and delicious. They garnish it with black olives and chopped onion, and serve it with awesome thick, chewy pita bread, and it is heavenly.

    I’m salivating just thinking about it. And my five-year-old son, who is a picky eater, loves hummus the way most American kids love peanut butter (which he won’t eat).

    So I’m really, really looking forward to trying your dried chickpea hummus!!!

    But where am I gonna find a decent tahini sauce? I’m in Wiesbaden, not far from Frankfurt. All suggestions are welcome — any German readers out there?

  27. Dear Xenobia,

    I’d start with checking if there are Lebanese or Syrian shops in Wiesbaden or in Frankfurt. If not, and you happen to get to Berlin, than there are places in Kreuzberg.

    Also, you can buy Tahini from Amazon through our affiliate shop
    I think they do ship to Germany, and I’ll go for the Al Wadi brand.

    There’s also a business somewhere in the south of Germany that imports products from Israel, one of which is tahini. If you still have problems finding decent tahini, ask me and I’ll get you the details.

    Good luck!

  28. hi shooky,

    I tried to order the Al Wadi Tahini from your amazon store but they do not ship to Germany.

    I would really appreciate it if you could send or post the details of the south German importer of Israeli products.

    Your hummus recipe is great, I am making my 3rd batch tonight.

    many many thanks for a really great site


  29. Dear Benjamin,
    I asked for the details and will post them here as soon as I get them.
    Thanks for the kind comment.

  30. Shooky , I guess not enough is being said in the blog
    about how choose your chikpeas ?!?!?!?

    I suppose , the type of chickpeas you use affects the taste just as much
    as the type of Tahina you use , but not enough is being said about how
    to choose your grains , or more specifically : from which country/area are the best grains , or the best Restaurants like Said,Abu Hasan,Bahadounas,
    Abu Shukri(via doloroza) etc – from which areas are the grains of hummus they use ?

  31. Can you freeze humus after making a large batch? How long will it keep? Fresh that is.

  32. I soaked my humus for 12 hours and when I uncovered the plate, I found disgusting white smelly spots floating on top of a thick foul liquid. I threw them away and soaked a fresh batch for only 6 hours and have them soft boiling now.

    Why recommend the 10-15 hour soak? My flat is at 22’C so I know it is not too hot for the humus to ferment like this….And the humus are dried “fresh” ones packed last month. Any answers?

  33. judith – the smell means either you didn’t wash the chickpeas well before soaking or that it’s too hot and they leavened. It’s always good to swap the water every few hours if possible, and if you’re not sure about the weather than put the soaking bowl in the fridge just in case.

  34. Shooky- thank you for your quick response. I am new to humus making (less than 100 times) But I know I washed the humus well. I just realized I left the soaking humus on top of the microwave. And I used the microwave for 3 minutes; therefore, the humus was warmed up by the heat/radiation from the microwave. DOH!!
    Now I tried my second batch of humus; but I used baking POWDER instead of baking SODA. There is NO baking SODA here in the U.A.E. I went to the 5 biggest supermakerts and they only sell baking powder; even the “natural” store only sells baking powder.
    I used half a tsp of baking powder. The result? Diesel gas, bitter aftertaste. Terrible!! Also, I only used 1/2 c tahini and I found that it was too tahiny. (and I love tahina!) Maybe my Tahini is too strong? It is “Al Buadi” tahini from Egypt.

    So my final question is, Can baking powder in any quantity be used instead of baking soda? Because I have been longing to create that creamy texture these past 100 failed times 🙁

  35. Baking powder is OK, although you need to use more of it. To get rid of the aftertaste take it off the stove just after the chickpeas are soft, wash them well and swap the water. You can also use a pressure cooker – my father do, and he’s hummus is very good.

    I don’t know Al Buadi, but I advise you try tahini from Lebanon or Syria. Also, I once used a Greek tahini that was great, but of course different brands from the same country can be completely different. Lebanon and Syria are places where the use of tahini in foods is very common, so I guess they know the difference – unlike Turkish manufacturers for example.

    Good tahini should be light brown ans is supposed to be delicious as is, raw and untouched. If it doesn’t, than it’s not a good tahini. Keep in mind that you should always give it a good and long shake before opening.

  36. Ok, So I finally found some baking soda from a wholesale place. After buying 10 cans, I hurried home to soak my humus. I added only 1/4 tsp to one and a half cup dried humus. I swapped the water twice while soaking and changed the boiling water 4 times. I washed the cooked humus 3 times and peeled the skins off that did not remove from cooking.

    But, I can STILL taste the baking soda. What did I do wrong? It has a SOAPY and FILMY taste. Now, I am forcing myself to eat it and wondering WHY do chefs add something that alters the taste?!!?? I have been to Israel/Palestine several times and did not notice this taste in the humus I have eaten there. Actually, my favourite humus spot is in Jerusalem.

    I don’t think the ancient recipes added baking soda and and I am happy without it when I make it. But it never tastes as good as the one in the old city 🙂

    And yes, I always stir with a knife before using the tahina and peanut butter.

  37. First off Shooky, you’re way too kind. That ‘Lea’ person… ignore her. She can take her ‘professional’ criticism, proper spelling and grammar to create her own blog where she will likely be ignored.
    Secondly, love the blog. Lots of great information and interesting comment from other hummus lovers. Not a lot of people who eat hummus where I’m at so it is a real treat for me to get input from others on recipes and cooking methods. Soaking and cooking chickpeas without baking soda seems to give the best results for me and I can make enough on the weekend to last most of the week. That leaves me eager to make more from scratch on my days off because I always run out a few days before I get to make more. Wish I could get good quality tahini in Texas though.

  38. Hey Bill. Thanks for all the compliments. It really is encouraging.
    You can buy good tahini through Amazon – they have brands such as Prince and Al-Wadi, which we have here
    (this is an Amazon affiliate store, so we get a commission but you pay the same…).

    True, the use of baking powder or baking soda may give an unpleasant aftertaste but if you do it properly it shouldn’t be a problem. A pressure cooker is a good alternative, but it depends greatly upon the quality of water in the place you live in. The bottom line is: in order to get a really smooth hummus the chickpeas should be VERY soft.

  39. Judith (better late than never…)

    Well, you shouldn’t been able to feel the aftertaste at all, and this suggest that it’s not the baking soda. Everybody in Israel and the occupied territories use either baking soda of baking powder (which is more subtle) and in most cases there’s no trace for that in the final flavor.

    I’m not sure what methods ancient man used to soften their legumes, but baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate) was known in ancient Egypt, and was used for cooking by the Romans, so it probably older than hummus bi-tahini.

    But the quest for the right flavor of hummus is something many people go for years. Some convince themselves in the existence of a secret ingredient and ask everybody they think might know. Other do trial and error for years. I just recently got to the point where I can make hummus I’m really proud of, and it took me years to achieve.

    Peanut butter is NOT a part of the recipe, BTW.

  40. Shooky,
    I agree with you. I actually get a softer result with baking soda, if you rinse and put in fresh water to finish cooking about halfway through, the residue is removed along with a very slight aftertaste from the baking soda. One thing many people in the states do not take into account is that Ionized water from water softeners , chlorine, bromine, fluoride,local alkalinity or acidity, and hard water all can react with baking soda. These effects can be exaggerated by heating and the use of aluminum clad pots. Using the right amount of baking soda, a non aluminum pot and filtered water should help.
    I use no baking soda because I make a large batch which I don’t add tahini or garlic to until the day I use it. I work week on and off at 105 hours during my on week. I have to do all of my cooking on Sunday and have no time to cook for the next seven days. I’ve found this works pretty well because I add the ingredients to the chick pea paste and mix it again with a processor in servings on the day I use it. That softens it up a bit more and it soaks up the tahini nicely. Even though it would probably not sit well with most hummus purists, it works pretty well for me. I gotta have my hummus on those long 15 hour work days.
    Fresh garlic ! Yep.Yep.Yep.

  41. lol
    It´s such a great site!

    I’ve been thinking to try hummus since a months ago.
    But I did dare to try.

    and today, when I went to a supermarket, and I bumped into a pack of dried chickpea! So I just took it to try, anyway to just try.

    N now I was looking for an information and I got it.

    I will come again, jejeje great!

  42. Why, thank you Nari. This is certainly heart warming.

  43. To all those tahina-deprived posters: Go to a store that sells sesame seeds. Many nationalities use sesame seeds, Indians, Koreans, Middle Easterners, maybe some others. Buy either raw or roasted seeds (purists say raw, I use roasted with no problems at all). Put some seeds in a blender, add olive oil and a little lemon juice if you like, blend until the mixture tells you to stop. There you have it, home made tahina.

    Also, I have noticed that none of the recipes here for hummus use cumin (comino in Spanish). I add some cumin to the chickpeas in the final blend. Purists will faint. I love it.

    The best hummusiyya in TA is Abolafiya’s on the beach.

  44. Shooky- Thank you for your reply. Yes, I know peanut butter is not in the recipe; I was just agreing with you that I do stir tahina and my nut butters before using. Hehe. 🙂

    I tried again with a different kind of hummus. It did not have that strange aftertaste but the texture was definitly not smooth. Even after 4 1/2 hours of “slow” cooking! Even when I did use baking soda and baking powder, it still was not smooth. Perhaps its the over chlorinated water here that you and Bill suggested. I will try this recipe again when I am out of the UAE where all our water is desalinated. Desert life… ughhh

  45. Ferris Beauchamp // November 11, 2008 at 4:19 am // Reply

    I did tell you the thruth and you delete it .
    A Canadian partial to the thruth.
    Ferris Beauchamp

  46. Oooooh I absolutely love this blog and its comments. Hummus is one of my favourite foods and I have been making for years. I have just written a blog on homemade hummus, and linked to this site because I too agree that dried chickpeas are more nutritious than canned ones. I am also trying the Lebanese method one of your commentators recommended so I am – as I type – steaming the cooked chickpeas. I look forward to seeing the difference it makes. Keep up your excellent hummus work!

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