History of Hummus
Everything about Hummus
When it comes to healthy snacks, most of us would think of hummus straight away. Not only is it the perfect dip, but it’s delicious with sandwiches and wraps, and a variety of other recipes. Hummus is super creamy and has different flavor variations, including roasted red pepper hummus, roasted beet hummus, sun-dried tomato hummus and more.
Originating in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, this chickpea based delicacy has been enjoyed by people around the world for hundreds of years. The term ‘hummus’ directly translates to ‘chickpea’ in Arabic, and is where the dip got its name, as chickpeas are the main ingredient.
The hummus dip is normally sold in supermarkets, groceries and the deli. However, these ready-made dips are usually packed with artificial chemicals, flavourings, and preservatives that are known to be bad for your health. Real hummus, homemade hummus, is nothing like the store-bought ones as they are healthier and more flavorful.
The History of Hummus
Hummus, with its various other spellings such as ‘houmous’, ‘humus’, ‘hommus’ or ‘hommos’, is an Arabic word that means ‘chickpea’. Hummus has been around since the 13th century, but the exact origin is not confirmed. Many folklore tales told of hummus as one of the oldest known prepared foods.
Chickpeas have been cultivated and grown throughout the Middle East and in the Mediterranean for thousands of years. Chickpeas have been around for centuries, being one of the earliest crops grown in Mesopotamia, and was commonly eaten on the streets of Ancient Rome. Greek philosophers Plato and Socrates made reference to hummus and how nutritious it is in their writings.
While it is still popular in the Middle East to this day, it’s become a worldwide sensation too. There are many recipe variations for hummus, with added ingredients to the classic dip. It is a central component of many Middle Eastern cooking techniques, especially in Turkish, Syrian, Lebanese, and Egyptian cuisines.
The Modern Hummus
These days, hummus is used in a variety of different dishes in numerous ways. These are some of the few:
- Dips – This is the classic way to prepare the hummus. As a dip and an appetizer as well, people love scooping hummus with pita or other flatbread variations. It also accompanies well with falafel, grilled chicken, fish or eggplant. It’s garnished with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, coriander, parsley and many others – even whole chickpeas themselves. Outside the Middle East, it’s served with tortilla chips or crackers.
- Pizza Topping – Hummus is used as a substitute to tomato sauce in some pizzas. Those who practice healthy eating prefer having pizza with wholemeal dough, topped with a generous spread of hummus with added sprinkles of feta cheese and vegetables.
- Sandwich Fillings – Instead of using mayonnaise, salad cream, or other calorific sauces, many people choose to use hummus, and the result is fantastic. Using hummus on sandwiches is a great way to cut the calories that usually accompany sandwich condiments.
- Vegetable Topping – Many people take a selection of vegetables for roasting, and drizzle them with a little hummus that has been thinned out with oil and water. The vegetables are roasted in this hummus coating, and they taste incredible. You can also put the vegetables in the hummus, such as roasted carrot.
The Health Benefits of Hummus
As well as tasting great, being consumed in a number of different countries, and being used in a number of different ways, hummus is also extremely healthy. Some health and weight loss benefits of hummus include:
- It’s low in fat and high in protein – Chickpeas have huge amounts of dietary fibre, protein, manganese and other nutrients.
- It’s a great source of slow-release energy – The chickpeas provide constant energy for the body. It also helps in the risk of a blood sugar spike.
- It’s rich in healthy fats from the olive oil – Extra virgin olive oil may help in preventing cardiovascular disease. Regular consumption of olive oil also helps in blood pressure levels.
- It’s great for the immune and digestive systems – Fibre plays a big role in making sure your intestines are working well.
- It’s also rich in minerals, vitamins, B vitamins especially, and amino acids.
Spicing up the classic hummus is easier than you think. Lots of different ingredients can go with hummus and they’d still taste delicious nonetheless. Begin with the basic hummus recipe and add interesting variations to it depending on your tastes.
400 grams of canned chickpeas (~14 oz, ~0.9 lb)
Tahini – a buttered paste made from ground sesame seeds
Juice of 1-2 Lemons
2 Garlic cloves
2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Half a teaspoon of salt
For garnish (optional):
2-3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Drain out your chickpeas from the can. You can choose to keep some of the liquid to add it later to the hummus mixture.
- Take out the skins of the chickpeas by soaking them in water and rubbing them. You should be able to see the skins float as you rub. Drain the chickpeas and throw away the skins in your compost bin – they’re organic and they’re still usable.
- In a blender or food processor, put all your chickpeas in with 2 cloves of garlic. If your cloves are smaller, go for 3 or 4.
- Add in half a teaspoon of salt. You can add more or less to taste.
- Pour 5 tablespoons of Tahini and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Squeeze the lemons in.
- Work the processor for at least 7-8 minutes for silky smoothness. Adjust to your taste by adding more salt, tahini or olive oil.
- Serve on a plate and add garnish to taste.
Modern uses of Hummus
Hummus needn’t be plain and boring. There are a number of ways you can mix up your hummus recipe to change the flavor slightly to suit your guests or other dietary requirements. Here are some ideas to give some variety to your hummus dishes:
- Beetroot Hummus: Add beetroot to give your hummus a vibrant colour and a burst of sweet beetroot flavor.
- Chilli Hummus: Add some red hot chillies to the food processor when you are blending the chickpeas to give your hummus a burst of heat.
- Pumpkin Hummus: Add a cup of cooked pumpkin to your chickpeas while they are blending.
- Pine Nuts and Fresh Parsley: Add some browned pine nuts and fresh parsley to your hummus for some extra tang.
- Sweet Hummus: Add some figs or honey to the hummus recipe.
- Spinach and Feta Hummus: Add some colour and texture to your standard hummus recipe with these two healthy ingredients.
There are plenty more varieties you can experiment with. The possibilities are endless with hummus!
Other Middle Eastern Dips You Might Want to Try
From the name of this site itself, you know we are head over heels with hummus. It’s a Levantine dip that we can’t get enough of, and it has grown in popularity everywhere. A meal with hummus is a meal served with love and taste indeed.
Be that as it may, it may be time to expand our horizons further as there are more Middle Eastern Dips worth mentioning. We aren’t suggesting you give up your passions for hummus, but let’s try something different every once in a while.
Here’s something to spice up your meal. Muhammara originated from Aleppo, Syria and has been a mainstay in most Levantine and Turkish cuisines. You can use it as a spread for toast, a dip for bread, or even as sauce for some grilled meat and fish.
- Baba Ghanoush
This dish is interpreted in Arabic as “pampered daddy,” so you might want to serve this up to your dad on fathers day. It’s cooked with primarily eggplant, tahini, olive oil, and various seasonings of your choice. If you want a new starter, here’s one.
Labneh is its Arabic name, but if you are trying to look for it elsewhere, it is known as either strained yogurt or Greek yogurt. Basically, it still has that sour taste as any yogurt minus the whey content, making it thicker.
- Ful Medames
Ful medames is considered a staple food of Egypt, and is most common in Cairo and Gizah. It’s a delicious combination of fava beans, vegetable oil, and cumin. You can add optional ingredients such as parsley and garlic depending on your preference.
Served as a traditional starter in some Arab homes, the Tabbouleh, also spelled as Tabouli, is a vegetarian dish best for those who are diet-conscious. Similar to the famous hummus, it has also gained popularity in other territories because of its distinctive taste.
If Tabbouleh requires ingredients to be finely chopped, the Fattoush does it otherwise. The vegetables are cut into larger pieces and are combined with toasted or fried pieces of Arabic flatbread.
Of course, who could forget hummus and its delicious variations? I don’t think we need to describe it any further.
Why Hummus is the World’s Best Spread
Hummus is awesome because it’s for everyone. Kids and adults of all ages can enjoy it, and it’s easy to make in 5-10 minutes. It’s gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free, so even people with allergies can indulge in this dip without worries. You can dip almost anything in hummus – apples, pretzels, celery, pita bread, chicken, eggplants and more. While it tastes great on its own, it’s delicious with toppings like chopped tomatoes, parsley, cucumbers, caramelized online, olives, pine nuts, and the list goes on.
What are chickpeas?
Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are actually seeds of legume plants and are packed with health benefits. Legumes are a family of lentils, soybeans, green peas, and pretty much anything we eat that grows in a pod. They’re packed with protein and starch. They’re also a great source of fiber, and have a lower glycemic index which helps control blood sugar and lower the body’s cholesterol. They have also been known to lower the risk of cancer and boost mental health. The health benefits of using chickpeas in your meals have been known for centuries and are no secret.
Some varieties of chickpeas are the kabuli, desi, chana dal, and the younger green chickpeas. Kabuli chickpeas are the ones most commonly found in supermarkets. They have a mild and nutty flavour to them.
Chickpeas are the main ingredient in preparing hummus, a dip spread mixed with tahini, garlic and lemon juice. They’re popular in Middle East, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine.
Where do chickpeas come from?
Chickpea plants are one of the oldest cultivated plants on the earth. Domesticated chickpeas were first found in Turkey between 8500-7500 BC, then it spread to the Mediterranean regions, and then to India. To date, India grows more chickpeas than the rest of the world combined, with a whopping 11.4 millions of tonnes during 2018. Australia comes next in chickpea production numbers, producing more or less 1 million tonnes a year.
Chickpeas grow in little pods of legume plants. Throughout the summer, the legume plants will flower and grow pods, until it gets very warm and dry that the plants start to wilt. A few months after, the chickpeas mature inside their pods and are drying out in the field. Farmers want the chickpeas to be dry – too much moisture will easily make them rotten. Garbanzo plants do not typically exceed 20” in height and will produce larger yields in subtropical regions.
Incorporate Chickpeas to your Diet
Chickpeas contain great amounts of nutrients that may help prevent some health conditions. It’s a great replacement for meat; a dish of chickpeas with rice already has enough protein for the body’s consumption. A cup of chickpeas is almost one-third of an adult’s daily protein needs.
Besides the delicious hummus, chickpeas can surprisingly be eaten cold in salads, cooked into stews, ground into flour and shaped into balls and fried as falafel. A variation of a pancake called farinata also uses chickpea as a key ingredient, and chickpeas are also fried to create panelle, a Sicilian fritter.
Create and feast in your very own hummus now! Our website fortheloveofhummus.com is dedicated to all things hummus, so you’ll never run out of inspiration.