The holy-grail of spreads, hummus is a quick-fix for your dip cravings. With a signature taste that will make your mouth water, this staple spread can be found in stores across the world. In this ode to hummus, you’ll discover the debate surrounding its origins and how eating its four ingredients fuel your body and soul. So, whether you’re new to hummus or already a fan, stay tuned for all things legume.
While the earliest mention of hummus dates to Egypt in the thirteenth century, the origins of hummus are still debated. Chickpeas were — and still are — very abundant in the Middle East and are an important part of the local diet.
In Arab, the word “hummus” literally means chickpea. But because long-lasting trade between Greeks and Arabs allowed for the exchange of foods, Greece also claims hummus as their creation. While the origin of hummus is unclear, its popularity around the world is not.
The first recipe for hummus was published in the cookbook “Kitab Wasf al-Atima al-Mutada.” The recipe incorporated vinegar, but no lemon or garlic. The hummus that we eat today has four staple ingredients: chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon.
Modern-day hummus isn’t the same hummus made centuries ago. The recipes were more reliant on what ingredients were available at the time, but things have changed. Agriculture and technology have
evolved to provide access to more diverse ingredients.
There are many different ways to enjoy hummus, but most common way to eat it is as a dip. Hummus is served at restaurants as an appetizer, usually with pita bread or vegetables.
When at home or with friends, it can also be a delicious dip for any kind of snack. From pretzels to apple slices, the list of food to dip in hummus is seemingly endless. “Hummus is one of my go-to snacks,” said Junior Bella Clark. “My favorite way to eat it is by dipping pita chips and pretzels.”
Hummus as a dip is so popular that large companies like Trader Joe’s have developed a wide variety of different flavored options. These bold hummus flavors found in stores include combinations such as roasted red pepper, black bean, roasted garlic and spinach and artichoke. There are even sweet evolutions, such as chocolate. Pair that with your favorite dessert for a twist on pudding
Hummus is a common garnish on meals as well, pairing well with falafel, chicken, eggplant and fish. These dishes also usually include tomatoes, parsley, coriander and other seasonings and textures. The delicious chickpea concoction also serves as a healthy alternative for certain sauces and condiments. Or it can just be a fun way to switch it up. Common examples can include replacing marinara sauce on pizza and having hummus on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.
In addition to dipping vegetables, people often drizzle hummus over roasted vegetables. This is done by thinning out the hummus with oil and water. You can even blend hummus with lemon juice, olive oil and paprika, giving it the perfect consistency for a salad dressing.
Aside from being delicious, hummus has plenty of nutrients and various health benefits. “Whenever I want to snack on veggies I eat them with hummus,” said Sophomore, Nicole Maddox. “Hummus enhances the flavor of vegetables and it is actually good for you.”
Packed with protein, fiber and vitamins, it’s no wonder that hummus is well-loved and consumed in many different ways. For example, two tablespoons of Sabra Classic Hummus deliver two grams of plant protein and one gram of dietary fiber per 70-calorie serving. This means that when you’re snacking at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday after a long night of studying, you can munch with peace of mind.
Miami has a number of Mediterranean restaurants to choose from that serve dishes featuring hummus. Dimitrios Mediterranean Cuisine, located in the Brickell area, offers two hummus dip appetizers. The first flavor is roasted chickpea and the second is “hummus with meat,” which is pretty self-explanatory.
In Miami Beach, the Greek restaurant Santorini by Georgios offers many different dipping platters including hummus. These dishes feature vegetables, beans, pita bread, falafel and even stuffed grape leaves.
At another Mediterranean spot called Motek Café, you can order items such as the “Hummus Mushroom,” which is served with caramelized onions and s’chug, a Yemeni hot sauce. If you’re not into mushrooms, don’t worry. Try the sabich eggplant and egg if the combination of pickles, eggs and hummus piques your interest.
Hummus is a versatile spread — enjoy it plain or packed with seasoning and flavor, drizzled over vegetables or in between the layers of a sandwich. It has traveled through centuries and to all parts of the world.
As such a prominent Mediterranean dish, hummus can be purchased and consumed at a variety of nearby restaurants and markets, so next time you’re grabbing a snack dip, skip the guac and give hummus a try!
words_molly mackenzie. design_valeria barbaglio. photo_daniella pinzon.
This article was published in Distraction’s Fall 2022 print issue.