Hey guys! I’m back to share my recap from Richmond on Wednesday! I had the pleasure of spending the day at Sabra’s hummus headquarters. :)
Before I get into the content, a big thank you to Sabra for having me, covering my expenses, and sponsoring this post. Also – have you guys ever tried hummus pizza?! This was so good – just replace the sauce and cheese with hummus! Fun way to mix things up. :)
We arrived first thing on Wednesday morning and jumped right into some interesting presentations and activities to facilitate learning more about Sabra. I didn’t realize that Sabra’s CEO is a woman – cool! It was fun to hear from her at the start of the day before some of the ingredient/product experts took over.
- Sabra is one of the largest domestic buyers of chickpeas in North America.
- They use single variety of chickpeas grown in Idaho and Oregon.
- Chickpeas are harvested in August/September.
- Not all chickpeas are created equal, as you see below! They have to make sure they keep their chickpeas consistent so the flavor/texture of the hummus is consistent.
We also learned a lot about tahini, which is made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds. Sabra treats tahini tasting like a wine tasting – all tahini does not taste the same! It was interesting to try some more bitter variations vs. the smooth and creamy one that they use. Apparently some of the variance is due to not roasting the seeds properly – or not cleaning the seeds well enough, because any stems/debris can add to the bitterness.
We also spent the morning learning more about Sabra’s Plants with Purpose program, which is a long term campaign they launched last summer to help alleviate the impact of food deserts in their community and around the country.
Richmond is apparently per capita one of the largest food deserts (meaning people do not have easy access to fresh food) in the country, so they are starting the work in their own backyard. Sabra has partnered with Renew Richmond, a local non-profit dedicated to urban agriculture in underserved Richmond, VA, communities, and together they have established an organic employee work-share garden on Sabra’s campus, as well as an additional garden at a local high school, with plans to continue to expand in the future.
We got to check out the on-site Sabra garden and help plant some tomatoes – fun! The garden is mostly for employees, but they give away excess produce to those in need in the community as well. The high school garden sends the veggies home with the kids!
There is a core group of volunteers who run the gardens and initiative, and today in honor of Earth Day (which is tomorrow), Sabra is having a “day of service” across the company. Those who want to are going to help build a greenhouse on site at the garden, so they will be able to grow year round! Employees are also always allowed to go out during work hours and participate in garden activities that need volunteers, which I thought was cool.
Another thing I thought was cool: they are currently working on putting together a cookbook featuring their hourly employees’ favorite family recipes featuring veggies! Love that.
After getting our hands dirty, we refueled with some fresh juice that Sabra had brought in from an organic local juicery called The Pit and the Peel. Delicious – I went for the green one!
Here I am enjoying the juice with some of the other bloggers on the trip. From left: me, Alyssa, Liz, Brittany, and Lauren. I loved seeing friends Liz and Brittany again and meeting Alyssa and Lauren!
After the juice break, we headed inside with a mission: to try to make our own commercially viable hummus! They split us up into groups of 3 and set us up with commercial hummus-making ingredients: pureed chickpeas, garlic, lemon, oil, tahini, salt, and citric acid.
We weren’t given any measuring cups or spoons, so we winged it, which worked well for me – that’s my favorite way to cook anyway! :)
With only a few seconds to spare we plated our final masterpiece, adding some minced garlic on top for style points. ;)
Our hummus was delicious, you guys, and we were SO SURE we were going to win the competition – but every group failed! Lol.
Sabra’s chef gave our hummus two thumbs up for taste and as a homemade/restaurant hummus, but for hummus to be commercially viable (aka for it not to go bad in like an hour), the pH by law must be below 4.6. The chef could literally taste the hummus and estimate the pH, and she said ours was probably about 5.2. Whoops! Should’ve added more of that acid! Guess we won’t be stealing her job anytime soon. ;) Also, fun fact – apparently the more you mix/blend hummus, the lighter it appears in color! Ours was a little darker since we didn’t go crazy on the processing!
After our chef adventures, we got to do some product sampling – I’ve tried almost all the Sabra products by this point but I didn’t hate trying them again. ;) Hummus = my favorite unofficial meal! Their guac is also really yummy.
Insider tip: apparently their lemon flavor is going to make a comeback by popular demand at some point – I’m glad, because that was one of my favorites! I’m also still crossing fingers that their organic hummus will be available near us soon – I believe it’s in Costco on the east coast, but we aren’t a member. Hoping it spreads to more stores soon!
p.s. These hummus + pretzel cups are still my true love – I got super obsessed with them when I was doing my hospital dietetic internship, and have loved them ever since! So convenient. :)
After our tasting, it was time for lunch! I’ve been to Sabra HQ once before and was really impressed with the food – and this time did not disappoint. Check out all this colorful veggie goodness!
Beautiful presentation with the hummus, too – to make store-bought hummus look fancy and homemade when serving it to guests, just put it in a bowl, place some cooked whole chickpeas on top (preferably warm – it will gently heat the hummus), drizzle on some olive oil, and throw on a dash of paprika or red pepper. Et voila!
Here’s my plate – a little of everything!
We finished off the day with a presentation about the nutritional benefits of hummus. Hot tip: if you add 2 tablespoons of hummus to your life per day, it will equal 25g of fiber per week, thanks to 1 and 3/4 cups beans. Sweet! Hummus also boasts plant protein and iron. :)
And now, here’s a chance to get some Sabra goodness for yourself – a giveaway! One lucky fANNEtastic food reader will win a case of Sabra hummus AND a $50 gift card to use for dippers and toppings. :) Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!
I will leave you with my favorite hummus-packed recipes and ideas from over the years. I’ll be sharing a new hummus recipe in a few weeks for National Hummus Day, too, so stay tuned!
- Creamy Mexican Chicken Chili Soup recipe (hummus adds the creaminess to this soup!)
- Spicy Hummus Queso Dip (<—great party appetizer)
- Creamy Hummus Mexican Brown Rice Casserole (sounds weird but it’s great)
- Smoked Salmon and Hummus Sandwich
- 4 Ingredient Quinoa Salad (easiest dinner or lunch ever)
- Hummus makes a great creamy salad dressing – just mix it with a little lemon juice and a splash of oil.
- Use hummus in place of mayo in tuna/chicken/egg salad or as a spread on sandwiches.
- Coat fish or chicken in hummus, then roll in breadcrumbs and bake. It will come out really juicy!