My Trip to the Sabra Hummus Factory!

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It all starts with a pea.

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A chickpea!

Hummus is a dip made from cooked, mashed chickpeas that are blended with tahina (I always say tahini!,) oil, salt, garlic and various other spices, depending on the flavor. It can be found in 90% of the homes in Israel, but only 20% of the homes in the US. 51% of those people choose Sabra hummus above all other  brands. Probably because they do it really, really well!

10oz Classic Hummus High Res

This morning 5 other bloggers and myself set out for the newly built Sabra hummus factory in Richmond, VA, which was built with the environment in mind.

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It’s Silver LEED Certified, made with 20% recyclable materials, and contains energy saving features like rain water collectors and super thick installation.

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After we got situated, we suited up in standard factory-touring attire  – lab coats, hair nets and safety goggles (awww yeah) – then got down to it! Mike S, the head of Research & Development, acted as tour guide and led the way – straight through the swinging, factory doors and right into the middle of all the action!

The first thing that hit our senses was the pungent smell of raw garlic. The garlic! All of Sabra’s hummus flavors are made with garlic, and OH.EM.GEE. you can tell. The smell of this natural aphrodisiac (as one blogger informed us – oolala!) was almost overpowering, but also slightly awesome. (I just hope the person sitting next to me on my flights home thinks so too!)

As our noses adjusted to the smell, we started to notice other scents swirling around. Exotic, smoky spices like cardamom, cumin and parsley filled the air. Heavenly! As we sniffed, we continued on to see where the chickpeas, the base of hummus, are soaked, cooked, then smashed into paste.

Sabra’s signature, silky hummus texture comes from the way they cook their chickpeas – which is top secret – as well as the way it’s moved throughout the factory. Pumping hummus through tubes compromises the texture, so it’s always mixed and mashed in vats high in the air, then dropped down through funnels at a very precise angle into holding tanks by gravity.

I thought that was a neat tidbit. :)

After meeting the “Spice Girls” – Sabra’s team of master spice mixers – checking out packaging lines and the storage warehouse, it was time to TASTE THE HUMMUS! Huzzah!

We walked out of the factory, and straight into the test kitchen, where Sabra’s Head Chef was waiting with a warm plate of Hummus & Eggplant Dip with fresh pita bread for dipping. Come to Mama!

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Chef explained that making the dip was actually easy. All she did was fire roast an eggplant right on top of her gas range (us electric stove users could use our broiler) until the skin was black. Next she peeled it off then mashed and heated the flesh with original flavored hummus until it was warm and bubbly.

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This made ME warm and bubbly. I never thought I liked eggplant until I tried this, and I’m totally going to recreate at home!

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Next she brought out two of Sabra’s newest hummus flavors – which are being released in stores as we speak. Buffalo Style Hummus and Basil Pesto Hummus!

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Now, Sabra’s hummus is gluten free – and vegetarian (maybe vegan?) – so how they made this Buffalo Style Hummus taste like a big bowl of buffalo wings by only using natural flavors is beyond me.

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The flavor was created to try and get non-hummus eating folks over the “hummus hurdle” with a fun, familiar and unintimidating flavor to try.

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The Basil Pesto totally rocked my world though. Sooo summery and fresh tasting with a big, bold basil flavor.

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I want to melt it over a huge bowl of hot, whole wheat pasta with fresh tomatoes, grilled zucchini and chicken – ASAP!

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The tasting was not over yet though. Nooo, no, no, no. It had only just begun! Check out the spread they laid out in front of us next!

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And endless supply of Sabra’s new Guacamole,

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(chunky, fresh and tasting just like homemade)

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Salsas,

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(mmmm, I kinda like mine better, although it is worth noting that the tomatoes used in their salsas are hand selected every morning by a guy out in California!)

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and Greek Yogurt Dips.

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(omg – the dips!!!)

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Made to replace sour cream dips that are high in fat and low in protein, these dips are all-natural and incredibly satisfying.

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My favorite of the three (Spinach & Artichoke, Roasted Garlic and Onion & Fresh Herb) was the Onion and Herb.

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Thick and slightly tangy – it tasted just like Green Onion Chip Dip, except a lot healthier for you.

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At least that’s how I justified eating half the container. ;)

I figured that was lunch – as we’d been eating for at least an hour – but just as I thought I couldn’t pass one more chip through my lips, another Sabra chef walked through the door with even MORE food!

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Colombe is one of the gals behind Sabra’s blog and was once a contestant on The Next Food Network Star. You can tell she really loves what she does, as she walked us through the dishes she had freshly prepared.

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A Mediterranean Dip Plate made with basil pesto hummus on the bottom, and topped with cucumber, tomato, chopped lettuce, Onion & Herb Greek Yogurt Dip and kalamata olives, surrounded by a ring of crunchy pita chips.

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This was outstanding. Creamy AND crunchy, and bursting with flavor. I can’t wait to make this for a party…or myself…sometime. :)

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A crudite platter with hummus for dipping,

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and Chicken Salad Wraps made with hummus instead of mayo!

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Colombe told us that hummus is a great substitute for mayo on sandwiches, in wraps and salads, and in dishes like deviled eggs. Clearly it’s much more than just a dip, as you can use it in tons of ways. Maybe my favorite way of the day? Toasted Coconut Topped Chocolate Hummus Cups!

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Oh yeah! Hummus for dessert! :D At first I was a little petrified. First of all, would I be able to eat one more morsel of food? Second of all, did I want to try savory hummus mixed with my beloved sweet chocolate?! Before I could give it too much thought, I threw caution to the wind, my mouth wide open and  chomped down on the chocolate-flavored hummus piped into phyllo dough cups and topped with toasted coconut, caramel and sea salt!!!

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It was incredible. Sweet, but not too sweet, and the hint of sea salt really took it there. The textures were so smart too. Crunchy cup and coconut, creamy hummus and chewy caramel. I now know that chocolate hummus and salted caramel were made for each other. That’s all I’m sayin’. :D

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It was then that I slumped down in my chair and, in a mild semi-serious hummus coma, surveyed the scene. We had done some mayjuh damage. Look at this! I won’t eat for weeks!

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We wrapped up the afternoon by learning a bit more about the company’s history, goals and future product development ideas from Sabra’s Brand Manager, Mina (oh yeah – we were being filmed all day, so I think there’s a video coming?! Stay tuned. ;) ) and before we knew it, our delicious day at the Sabra hummus factory had come to an end!

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I’ve been eating Sabra hummus for several years and after meeting the people behind the product, and seeing how it’s made from start to finish, my desire to incorporate it into my cooking and snacking has only increased. They’ve got tons of recipes on their website that I intend to try out, so stay tuned!

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OH! Also stay tuned for a Sabra centered giveaway so you can get in on this deliciousness too! :D

With that, I am outta here! Thanks so much to Sabra for a fabulous, thoughtful and delicious afternoon in Virginia (which I totally want to return to – it’s so green, lush and beautiful!)

See ya’!

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Comments

  1. That’s such a neat experience! Sabra makes the best hummus. I’m seriously overwhelmed just by the PHOTO of all that food!

  2. Melissa 05.11.2011

    Glad you liked Richmond! That looks like an incredible day of eating! Hummus dessert cups? Are you kidding me? Maybe if I go to the factory and beg they will make some for me! ;)

  3. Oh my gosh. I am dying of jealousy. I’ve also become insatiably hungry for some hummus.

    That dessert looks AWESOME! Do you think it was just original hummus mixed with chocolate? I’m curious to try it!

  4. Sarah 05.11.2011

    All of that food looks so tasty! I’ve never had Sabre hummus. I will have to try it soon!

  5. Nicole 05.11.2011

    Food Science is fascinating and a little scary all at the same time.

  6. Stacy 05.11.2011

    oh. my. gosh. What a fun experience! I love Sabra hummus and now I want to try all of the other products and recipes! Thank you for sharing your experience!

  7. Kira 05.11.2011

    I love all the pics of the bloggers; and the fact that you’re the only one chowin’ down! :)

  8. Tracy 05.11.2011

    After seeing your posts and tweets about this I has to stop on the way home from work and pick up some Sabra hummus! The craving was so strong, why fight it?!?!? I am looking forward to some great recipes and finding the buffalo style in the stores around here!

  9. Cindy 05.11.2011

    I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE Sabra hummus, and freak out if I don’t have it in the fridge. I buy a big tub of it from my wholesale club and eat it with everything that I can! Chocolate hummus? Girl, get us a recipe, STAT!

  10. Mimi 05.11.2011

    I’m just a LOT jealous! The basil pesto kind sounds great!

    Is the chocolate hummus an actual variety?

  11. Alyssa 05.11.2011

    That food looked so amazing! I just started eating hummus only a year or two ago and I am sad that I missed out most of my life! It is so delicious! The last hummus I purchased was Sabra too and it has great texture and they have lots of different flavors!
    I’m so jealous, now I want to visit Sabra!

  12. Ah Sabra is my favorite- looks like an awesome visit. I really want to try their new products, too!

  13. dmcgirl 05.11.2011

    Wonderful!!! What a great, fun, filling trip!

  14. Stephanie 05.11.2011

    Honestly, a friend turned me onto to Sabra hummus about 2 years ago and it’s the only one I buy now! Looks like an awesome day…so jealous!

  15. I love Sabra hummus! Definitely my favorite brand. My only complaint is the use of canola oil; I would love for them to switch to evoo or palm oil. Then, it would be perfect, but I still enjoy it as is. :)

  16. I would have a hummus over dose! The roasted red pepper is my “go to” hummus. Yumm!!! I definitely want to try the Buffalo Style hummus though.

  17. eemusings 05.11.2011

    DROOOOL!

    I love eggplant. So, so much. It’s awesome as a dip – babaganoush FTW>

  18. Erin 05.11.2011

    Yay for Virginia! I miss it!

  19. Tina Boogren 05.11.2011

    What a great post–thank you, thank you! Gee, I’m craving hummus and guac all of a sudden… hmmmm…

  20. Karla 05.11.2011

    I want to try to buffalo wing one soooo bad. Can’t wait to see that one on the shelves. Great post-thanks!

  21. Lauren 05.12.2011

    This is such a fantastic experience!!! Buffalo hummus! Yes please!!!

  22. NICOLE 05.12.2011

    I LOVE sabra hummus! I have the best recipe with it….but I will wait for the giveaway!

  23. Hope 05.12.2011

    Wow! All of that food looks incredible! I am so excited for the new flavors of hummus, dips, and guacamole! I am definitely going to be on the lookout at the supermarket! All of these items are perfect for summer bbq’s! :)

  24. Wow, what an amazing experience! I cant wait to try that basil pesto hummus! YUM!

  25. erin 05.12.2011

    omg – the buffalo style. I so wanna try that. Even the sweet one too!

  26. that. sounds. AMAZING! seriously, i am so jealous of your trip!!! just one quick question – are you supposed to stir the toppings in to the container of hummus??? my sister and i always have this argument!

  27. I love hummus! That looked like a fun day! The dessert hummus sounds amazing

  28. BeccaV 05.12.2011

    So jealous! We always have hummus in our house. My 2 year old is a pickey eater, but LOVES hummus! The basil pesto flavor looks awesome, that is going on my shopping list for sure :)

  29. Todd 05.12.2011

    Oh yum! Hummus in wraps?! Who would have thunk that? Gotta try it soon. This def was a terrific trip for you! (of course, aside from the scary aborted landing over at Chicago)

  30. Emily 05.12.2011

    Lucky duck. :) I can’t wait to see the guac, Buffalo Wing Hummus and Basil Pesto hummus on the shelves. Yum.

  31. Manon 05.12.2011

    I’m in a food coma just from READING that!

  32. I love Sabra and seeing this inside scoop makes me love them more!

  33. This is amazing, Kristin! :) So happy for you!!!

    Love Sabra. Love that you can buy it in bulk at Costco! :)

    Have a super day!

  34. Green Dog Wine 05.12.2011

    VERY cool – and so glad that picked such a deserving blogger to go! :)

  35. That would be my heaven. I lived off of sabra hummus in college.

  36. What a fun trip, I’m totally jealous! Thanks for sharing the experience.

  37. jen 05.12.2011

    I already put their hummus on my wraps, but I never would have thought to make chicken salad with it! That’s a fabulous idea!

    I heart hummus, and cannot wait to try their other stuff now!

  38. Wow what a cool thing to do! I think your trip would make me love hummus on a whole new level. And chocolate hummus??!! OHHHH MY!

  39. kate 05.12.2011

    Buffalo hummus? Get me to Hyvee for some Sabra STAT!

  40. how fun! i’ve never seen those dips- i wanna try them! :)

  41. That looks so fun! I had no idea that had all those dips.

  42. Melissa 05.12.2011

    You get to do some of the coolest things! How fun – I spent about five years in the middle east and hummus is a staple there. I grew to love it. Even learned how to make it and its soooo simple.

  43. Dione Nahirnick 05.12.2011

    Hmmmm glad I am having some Sabra spinach and artichoke hummus and Pita Bites crackers and veggies for my nightshift lunch tonight:) It’s the best.

  44. Angela 05.12.2011

    I love the fact that out of all the “Tastemakers”, you’re the one one pictured with food in your mouth. Lol, that’s cute.

  45. Char 05.12.2011

    I will never, ever, EVER again walk by their products without thinking I’m going to buy that” because I did that a few days ago and big mistake! I’m slapping myself for that!

  46. [...] Comments « My Trip to the Sabra Hummus Factory! [...]

  47. Sabra 05.14.2011

    We loved hosting you! Glad you enjoyed and we look forward to sharing some goodies with your readers!

  48. Claire 05.15.2011

    I love Sabra hummus, but since they just list “natural flavors” on their label, there’s no way to tell whether it contains MSG. For that reason I had to give it up. )=

  49. [...] maybe even more that have yet to try it, so I’m sharing 10 VIP coupons that I received on my Sabra Hummus factory tour last week to spread the [...]

  50. [...] } }); });Remember how green and lush I told you Richmond, Virginia was when I was out there for the Sabra Hummus Factory tour a few weeks ago? Well drive north about 2 hours, then add a few weeks worth of rain, and you’ve [...]

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