The Nutritious Trader Joe’s-Inspired Treat I Make My Kids Every Week
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I walked by chocolate hummus at the grocery store for years before I tried it. If you’re thinking that chocolate and hummus in the same bowl sounds weird, you’re not alone. The name alone kept me from trying it for too long.
But I was feeling adventurous at Trader Joe’s one day, so I grabbed a package. That afternoon, I ran into my second obstacle. What do you do with chocolate hummus? I didn’t want to dip something savory, and I didn’t really have the right kind of fruit on hand. Reader, I got out a spoon.
If I hadn’t known that I was eating beans, I’d have thought that it was chocolate pudding. Rich and chocolatey, with a hint of vanilla and plenty of sweetness, it was creamy and delicious. I was hooked.
While I’m always a fan of snacks that only I enjoy, it’s even more gratifying to have something on hand that my 2-year-old daughter will eat. She took one bite of the hummus and asked for more. She didn’t stop until the package was empty.
A Chocolate Hummus Recipe That Tastes Like Pudding
It didn’t take long before I was Googling recipes. I came across this one, a classic from Chocolate Covered Katie. My goal was to reverse engineer the store-bought hummus I’d come to love, so that I could save money and control what was in it. It was becoming clear that I was going to need to make it in much larger quantities than the tiny container I’d bought.
I pulled out my trusty food processor, which I now have to do at least once a week to keep us well stocked. I followed the recipe to the letter the first time, eventually tweaking it just a little as I grew more confident. This recipe could not be easier — you put everything: drained and rinsed beans, cocoa powder, sweetener, nut butter, salt, and vanilla, in a food processor, turn it on and let it go until everything is smooth. You might have to scrape down the sides once or twice. It takes much less time than going to the grocery store.
My daughter loves to help me make the hummus, which she refers to as “pudding.” She watches approvingly, reminds me that the food processor will be loud, and taste tests when needed. Everyone’s tastes will be different, so it’s essential to taste as you go. Don’t be afraid to add more sweetener or salt if you need to. Sometimes I add a little water if the consistency isn’t smooth enough or it isn’t blending well.
The recipe itself offers lots of options for customization. I usually go for half black beans and half chickpeas (I always make a double batch). I use maple syrup as sweetener, but I have also used simple syrup (just sugar and water). Though she calls for a nut butter, I use tahini to keep things classic, plus, I love the neutral, nutty taste.
The Best Ways to Use Chocolate Hummus
chia seeds and black sesame seeds, and sometimes sliced banana — I’m full until it’s time for lunch. It’s the perfect afternoon snack when I need a pick-me-up, decadent enough to feel like a treat and balanced enough that I don’t crash quickly after. Over the past few months, I’ve slowly begun introducing friends to it. We dip fruit into it, or spread it onto water crackers. It usually just takes a bite or two before they are asking for the recipe.
I love the fact that my daughter is getting something I’d love for her to be eating anyway, and that she enjoys it so thoroughly. I’m hoping, weird as it sounds, that it will become one of those first kitchen memories for her, something we can always share. I can’t help but feel a little thrill when she asks for it, because even though I didn’t invent the concept — I did make it. She’s eating her legumes, and happily.
I am all for nutrient-dense food, but it has to taste good. I’m not going to make something that tastes like lightly sweetened bean dip and say that it tastes like brownies. If you’re processing your chocolate hummus, and it doesn’t taste right yet, keep adding sweetener (and salt) until it does. I promise, by some strange alchemy, beans can become chocolate pudding.