No one would argue with you for thinking that hummus is a damn good dip. But that’s not the only (or best) way to enjoy the spread. In fact, chefs incorporate hummus into quesadillas, sandwiches, and even shrimp cocktails. Since chickpeas — hummus’ main ingredient — are packed with fiber and protein, it can be used as a healthy ingredient swap in many of your favorite foods (even desserts).
Step up your game with these nine recipes that add a little bit of healthy and a hell of a lot of creativity into your diet.
1. Mediterranean Salmon Packets
A salmon dinner in under 30 minutes: MaryDawn Wright, corporate executive chef for Sabra, says it’s possible. This recipe (which is exclusive to MensHealth.com) calls for an olive tapenade hummus, red peppers, and cherry tomatoes that compliment the heart-healthy fish—and make for a damn good presentation, if we may say so ourselves.
Makes: 1 serving
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time 15 to 20 minutes
Ingredients: 1 salmon fillet
2 tbsp (of each): drained canned chickpeas, chopped red onion, Sabra Olive Tapenade Hummus
2 tsp water
¼ cup thinly sliced red pepper
8 cherry tomatoes (halves)
Salt, pepper, fresh parsley optional
Directions: Preheat oven 425°F. Place 14” piece of foil shiny side up. In a bowl mix together chickpeas, onion, hummus, water. Spoon ½ of hummus mixture on foil. Top with salmon filet. Lightly sprinkle salmon filet with salt and pepper. Add remaining hummus mixture. Top with red pepper and cherry tomatoes. Fold each side of foil over fish pressing down lightly to seal. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Let stand for 5 minutes. Carefully open pouch. Place on serving dish. Serve with rice, pasta, or quinoa.
2. Hummus Quesadillas
This Meditteranean take on a Mexican classic is from Kevin Curry, founder of the popular blog Fit Men Cook. It eschews high-fat add-ons (think: sour cream) in favor of healthier hummus without sacrificing flavor. You’ll load up on veggies, and the grilled chicken provides an added punch of protein.
3. Hummus Pita Pizza
Skip store-bought tomato sauce (which can be sky-high in sodium and sugar) or slimy street corner pizza for this recipe from Michelle Dudash, R.D., founder of 4Real Food Reboot. You can make it in 10 minutes (all you have to do is preheat your oven, really), and it looks and tastes gourmet enough to be served at a restaurant.
Makes: 1 serving
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: 1 whole-wheat pita bread or Flatout 5-Grain Flax Artisan Flatbread
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ to ½ cup hummus, like original, lemon, garlic, or roasted red pepper flavor
4 quartered artichoke hearts, broken into pieces
3 olives, sliced
Small handful torn baby spinach, other baby greens, or fresh basil
Directions: Preheat a toaster oven or regular oven on 400°F. Brush bottom of pita with oil. Spread top of the pita with hummus and sprinkle with artichokes and olives. Bake until bottom is golden and toppings are hot, about 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the greens.
4. Spicy Hummus Queso Dip
Queso dip is delicious. But it’s also cheesy, high-calorie, and can make your stomach churn after a few too many bites. This take on the classic tailgate food from Anne Mauney, R.D., made with spicy hummus, has a kick to it, but it's also a little bit more guilt-free.
5. Chocolate Hummus Truffles
Consider this your next date night activity. You’ll impress her with the idea, you won’t completely overindulge on calories, and you’ll be done in just over an hour (yes, you really can make truffles in under 90 minutes).
6. Smoked Tofu And Edamame Bites
You don’t need meat to make a good sandwich. And Candice Kumai, chef and author of Kintsugi Wellness, makes a serious case for tofu as a filling with these bites topped with edamame hummus.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health US.