Product Type: Tesco Snacks
Newest Review: ... at least once a fortnight, as I find it such a versatile product. As I tend to shop mainly at Tesco's, mainly because I live in a small tow... more
Middle Eastern Magic - a Healthier Option!
Tesco Reduced Fat Houmous
Member Name: Verbena
Tesco Reduced Fat Houmous
Advantages: Tastes OK, a healthier option, I like the recipe on the packaging
Disadvantages: Only tastes OK, where's the texture & garlic?
~~ Reminiscing ~~
I've only visited Greece once - it was Crete, to be exact, and sadly some years ago now. Amongst all the exciting foods we got to taste, it was houmous that probably stuck in my memory - along with tzatsiki, retsina, baklava, Greek yoghurt with honey ... O.K. so maybe it's stretching it a bit to say houmous was my absolute favourite, but I really liked its taste and texture. Over the years since I've tried lots of brands and quite often made my own, which wasn't bad, actually. I don't think any really had the same impact as eating it on fresh, crusty bread in the Cretan sunshine, but then that version was also swimming in olive oil & I didn't need a calorie count to tell me it would be high in calories, even if extra virgin olive oil is good for you.
~~ A Little Knowledge ... ~~
Before I get into trouble for suggesting houmous is a Greek dish, I'll qualify my opening comments to say that was how I personally first came across it. I believe the name actually comes from the Turkish, and houmous - also spelled hummus,hommos, humous, hoummos, etc in English, but not humus which is too closely linked to compost- is Middle Eastern in origin. Its full name is hummus bi tahina, which literally means chickpeas with tahini.
~~ Choosing a Product ~~
I don't make my own much these days, partly because there's sadly no-one else in my household who likes it. I think it can be frozen but to be honest I got a bit lazy and felt it was just simpler to buy it as and when I fancied some. I would say that's at least once a fortnight, as I find it such a versatile product. As I tend to shop mainly at Tesco's, mainly because I live in a small town and choice is limited, I guess I've tried out most of their variations and found them all quite tasty. However, I know that really I should be watching my weight so I opt for the reduced fat one to make me feel better about that; it's not like I'm doing it for real at the moment to be honest! The 200g pot's size is fine for me. At a current price of £0.95 I often buy it with another dip -salsa or tzatziki!- when there's a special offer.
~~This Product ~~
This product comes in a clear plastic tub with an orangey/creamy cardboard cover, which has all the nutritional and ingredient information on it. It slips off easily to reveal the pot, which sealed by a plastic strip and has the Use By Date on the lid. That's useful because obviously the cardboard gets discarded soon after it's opened. You can see a smooth-looking product, cream/beige in colour. I quite like the illustration of celery sticks on it - at least they're trying to encourage me to be good! I'm then told it 'contains 30% less fat' and as always I ask: 'Than what?' Eventually I found where it said 'than Tesco Hoummous' so that was fine. Actually I do think there's quite comprehensive information given, from keeping it refrigerated and using within 3 days of opening to both a longer and shorter guide to nutritional contents. The short one is good because I can see at a glance that, if I consume a quarter of this pack, 50g, I will have taken:
Calories 125 6% of my guideline daily amount
Sugar 0.2g < 1% " "
Fat 9.2g 13% " "
Saturates 1.1g 6% " "
Salt 0.5g 8% " "
I can find out more nutritional information on the Tesco website, as directed, if I choose.
The ingredients themselves are as I expected: cooked chickpeas constitute 49%, sesame seed paste is 22%, and the other contents are water, vegetable oil, concentrated lemon juice, salt and garlic, in that order. Allergy warnings draw my attention to sesame, and that Tesco cannot guarantee it's nut free. There are contact details in case of complaint, which is actually worded quite cordially in my opinion. What I really like about the label that came with this pack is the provision of a recipe overleaf. In this case it's for Roasted Vegetable & Houmous Wrap, for 4. It sounds healthy and tasty, so it's a shame they didn't give a calorie count etc for this.
When you remove the lid there's a slightly nutty aroma, from the chickpeas and tahini I guess. I expected to smell garlic but if it was there it wasn't obvious, but then it was the last ingredient listed.
I dipped a slice of radish in and scooped up a teaspoonful or so of hoummous. Putting it in my mouth, it's the texture I first notice; this is fairly smooth, almost like a paté. Some other makes of hoummous, and certainly homemade, are rougher and more rustic in feel, which I think I prefer. The taste again is rather nutty and maybe slightly smoky; it's not easy to describe. There's a tang which I think comes from the lemon. Garlic is definitely not evident to me, which disappoints me somewhat as I love garlic, but I realise not everyone is so keen: I guess it's a matter of taste.
I would say that it's a nice enough taste - pleasant without having a wow factor. That's fine for my purpose, mainly of convenience and weight control. I can't think of too many so-called diet products that I can say, hand on heart, have an outstanding taste. There's an element of compromise here.
~~ Uses ~~
I like to use it to dip carrot and celery sticks in, for the main part. That's fine, because I'm a bit of a salad lover. I also dip raw mushrooms and raw onions sometimes - not very sociable, that, but it's got garlic in anyway! It's also good on pitta bread or crusty bread, or even in a sandwich - great if I'm in a rush to make myself packed lunch at work. I've had it as a baked potato topper, too. And of course you can use it with tortilla chips or other crisps, but I'm really trying not to! I'm sure there are plenty of other ways to enjoy it and I look forward to discovering some of them!
~~ Overall ~~
I will keep on buying this hoummous for convenience and for the health benefits, although if I'm honest I prefer either my own made or the full fat version. It's 3 stars for that reason.
Apologies of the nutritional information isn't displayed well - I tried!
Thank you for reading my review, which may be posted on other sites.
Summary: Lower calories means average taste.