Golden Chana dal Hummus with Miso, Turmeric and Roasted Garlic

A cross-cultural twist on everyday hummus — roasted garlic, fresh lemon juice, deeply rich yellow miso and earthy bright turmeric powder pureed with tahini + sweet and mild chana dal.

Pulses, like chana dal, are nutrient-dense staples of the traditional Mediterranean diet — that famously healthy style of eating. Celebrated during the month of May, it’s definitely a delicious ‘diet’ to aspire to throughout the year.

A pretty golden hue bolstered by the yellows of turmeric and miso, chana dal is a terrific neutral flavor canvas for unique co-starring ingredients. Though, if you prefer, it’s easy enough to substitute any other pulse in this recipe, including the classic chickpea.

What’s in it for me?

Chana dal contains a high amount of insoluble and soluble fibers + resistant and slowly-digestible starches, making it a low-glycemic food that promotes satiety, a healthy GI system, and potentially improved cholesterol + triglyceride levels. Rich in protein, including 8 of the 9 essential amino acidschana dal also provides 35% of your daily folate and 15% of your iron. Additionally, chana dal is a good source of zinc, and is virtually free of cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium.

Seeds in general are sources of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as fiber, small amounts of lean protein and essential amino acids, and phytochemicals. Sesame seed-based tahini paste is rich in iron and calcium, and contains coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) — an antioxidant involved in energy production that may also play roles in treating high BP + cholesterol, eye diseases, asthma, and possibly Alzheimer’s.

Roasting garlic softens its pungency, offering a rich, almost sweet, low-calorie flavor, and is done at no detriment to its health benefits. For instance, sulfur compounds such as allicin, when broken down by chewing or smashing garlic, help synthesize the antioxidant glutathione that is critical to controlling inflammation, immune and heart health, and potentially helping prevent certain cancers.

Miso paste — a source of the fifth, savory taste called “umami” — is made from fermented soybeans.* Being fermented, it is considered probiotic that, when paired with prebiotics (like the chana dal and garlic here), helps promote immune and GI health. If you’re watching sodium, note that 1 Tbsp miso provides about 600 mg, or roughly 1/4 of the recommended daily amount.

The vibrant color of turmeric is indicative of the polyphenolic compound curcumin, and represents its impressive list of health benefits. Known for anti-inflammatory + antioxidant properties, turmeric may also have antibacterial + antiviral properties, and has been linked to prevention of cancer cell growth.

Hummus can add flavor + subtract calories when swapped for mayonnaise or melted cheese on sandwiches, or atop salads instead of a heavy creamy dressing. I also like it on toast or a roasted sweet potato (topped with sauerkraut, weirdly), and often spoon hummus into the two halves of a hollowed-out hard-boiled egg for a quick and balanced snack.

Here I served it with a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, cilantro leaves scattered over, and Indian whole grain flatbread. The remainder we dug into with crunchy carrot sticks, cucumber slices, bell pepper strips and snap peas.

There are so many possibilities for you to choose from — both in preparation and serving, so save your money and make a batch of my bright and bold turmeric, miso + roasted garlic chana dal hummus this weekend!

Cheers, Heather

Tell me… Do you make hummus at home? Have you tried making it with pulses other than chickpeas?

Chana dal Hummus with Turmeric, Miso + Roasted Garlic
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
Recipe Type: spread, dip, appetizer, dal, legumes, pulses, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan
Makes: about 2 cups
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chana dal (see HGN Notes)
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic (or 1 clove raw garlic; see HGN Notes)
  • 1 Tbsp yellow or white miso paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp warm water
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to garish (optional)
  • Cilantro leaves, to garnish (optional)
  1. Add the chana dal, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, miso and turmeric to the bowl of a food processor, and run until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Drizzle in the water 1 Tbsp at a time as you continue to puree, until the texture is to your liking. Allow the food processor to run for 1 minute more to incorporate air for that traditional hummus fluffiness. Taste, adjust the seasoning with salt (or more miso) and/or additional lemon juice, if needed.
  2. Scoop the hummus into a shallow bowl or dish, and serve at room temperature or chilled. If you like, drizzle the top with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and some cilantro leaves.
HGN Notes
Chana dal recipe on HGN:

Roasting peeled garlic recipe from kitchn:

If you're watching sodium intake, consider decreasing the miso from 1 Tbsp to 1 tsp. You can also look for a reduced sodium miso at the market.

+ Replace chana dal with an equal amount of cooked chickpeas or other beans, lentils, or another type of dal. (Note that you may require more or less water to achieve desired consistency with other pulses.)
+ Use a different seed (or nut) butter in place of the tahini.
+ Try fresh-squeezed orange or lime juice as opposed to lemon, or eliminate the citrus altogether and use vinegar (e.g., apple cider or white wine) in its place.
+ Swap the 2 roasted garlic cloves for 1 raw garlic clove.
+ Go Italian and replace the miso paste for pesto or pureed sun-dried tomato + the turmeric for a favorite dried herb.
Nutrition Info
Serving Size: about 2 Tbsp Calories: 72 Fat: 4 Saturated fat: 0.5 Unsaturated fat: 3.5 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 6 Sugar: 0 Sodium: 49 Fiber: 3 Protein: 3 Cholesterol: 0

An HGN original recipe.

*If you have an allergy or intolerance to soy, be advised that while the fermentation process breaks the nutrients down, some proteins in miso paste may still cause an allergic reaction.

Check out my downloadable nutrition guides.

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