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12 Interesting Facts About Hummus

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Introduction

Hummus is a creamy, nutritious Middle Eastern dip or spread that has become popular worldwide. Made primarily from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic, hummus offers a uniquely delicious flavor and smooth, creamy texture.

Once an obscure dish outside of the Middle East, hummus has steadily grown in recognition and popularity across North America, Europe, and other regions over the past few decades. It’s now a refrigerator staple in many homes and a menu regular at restaurants and cafes.

But there’s more to hummus than its great taste. This versatile, protein-packed dip has an ancient history and nutritional profile that makes it much more than just another trendy food.

Here are 12 interesting facts about the origins, health benefits, and evolution of hummus that you may not know:

Facts About Hummus

Sweet Potato Hummus
Sweet Potato Hummus by Veganbaking.net is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 .
  1. Hummus dates back to 13th-century Egypt and ancient Persia.
    Hummus has origins dating back centuries, with some sources tracing versions of the dish to Egypt in the 13th century or ancient Persia. The earliest known written hummus recipe appears in a 13th-century cookbook from Cairo, Egypt, under the name “hummus kasa” (hot chickpea dip).
  2. The name “hummus” comes from the Arabic word for “chickpea”.
    “Hummus” comes from the Arabic word “ḥummuṣ” or “ḥimmas”, meaning chickpeas. This is a reference to the primary ingredient in hummus – chickpeas. The complete name of the dish translates to “chickpea dip/paste”.
  3. Hummus is high in plant-based protein.
    A one-cup serving of hummus provides about 15 grams of protein, comparable to the protein in many animal products. This makes it a nutritious choice for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone looking to add more plant-based protein to their diet.
  4. It’s an excellent source of fiber.
    In addition to protein, chickpeas are also an excellent source of fiber. One cup of hummus provides over 12% of your recommended daily fiber intake. The combination of fiber and protein also helps hummus promote improved blood sugar control.
  5. Hummus provides key vitamins and minerals.
    Hummus delivers a range of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium, iron, and zinc. These support immune function, metabolism, nerve signaling, wound healing, and other vital processes in the body.
  6. The main ingredients in hummus provide complementary nutrition.
    The core hummus ingredients – chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil – pack complementary nutrients. Chickpeas provide protein, fiber, and iron. Tahini delivers calcium, zinc, and healthy fats. Olive oil contains anti-inflammatory compounds and vitamin E.
  7. Most traditional hummus does NOT contain yogurt.
    Despite the creamy texture, most traditional Middle Eastern hummus recipes do not contain yogurt or other dairy products. The creaminess comes from the smooth blended chickpeas and olive oil. However, some mass-market commercial hummus brands do add yogurt or sour cream.
  8. Hummus is naturally vegan and gluten-free.
    Authentic hummus contains no animal products or gluten ingredients, meaning it’s perfectly suited for vegans and those with gluten intolerance. However, some non-traditional packaged variations add ingredients like yogurt or wheat.
  9. The global hummus market is worth over $1 billion.
    As hummus has spread across the globe over recent decades, it’s turned into big business. The worldwide hummus market was valued at $1.12 billion USD in 2019 and continues to grow by approximately 12% per year.
  10. Hummus’s popularity began surging in the 1990s.
    Though hummus has ancient origins, it remained relatively unknown in much of the Western world until recent decades. Its popularity in Europe and North America began surging through the 1990s and 2000s when it was introduced through more Middle Eastern immigration.
  11. The Guinness World Record for the largest serving of hummus is over 13,000 pounds.
    In May 2010, a group of 300 Lebanese chefs and cooks came together to set the Guinness World Record for the largest serving of hummus. The winning hummus dish weighed 13,253 pounds!
  12. There are many creative hummus flavor twists.
    While traditional hummus features chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and simple spices, the dip has become a canvas for endless flavor experiments. Some popular hummus variations feature ingredients like roasted red pepper, hot sauce, basil, edamame, and even chocolate!

FAQ

vita-mix hummus
vita-mix hummus by tofutti break is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 .

What is hummus made from?

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made primarily from cooked and mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. It offers a creamy texture and a nutritious profile.

Is hummus a healthy food choice?

Yes, hummus is considered healthy as it’s high in plant-based protein and fiber. It contains key vitamins and minerals that support various bodily functions.

Can people with dietary restrictions eat hummus?

Traditional hummus is both vegan and gluten-free, making it suitable for those following these dietary restrictions. However, always check labels for added ingredients that may not meet these criteria.

How has the popularity of hummus changed over time?

Hummus has grown from a regional Middle Eastern dish to a global phenomenon, especially surging in popularity in the West during the 1990s and 2000s.

Are there different varieties of hummus available?

Yes, while traditional hummus is simple, there are numerous variations available today, including flavors like roasted red pepper, basil, edamame, and even chocolate-infused hummus.

Conclusion

As these interesting facts show, hummus has come a long way from its ancient origins in the Middle East. What began as a regional dish is now a global phenomenon packed with nutrition and possibility.

In addition to its great taste and texture, the powerful combination of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals in hummus supports a healthy diet. No wonder it’s become popular far beyond Middle Eastern borders.

From its billion-dollar commercial rise to endless gourmet variations, hummus continues to evolve around the world while staying true to its core chickpea identity. This nutritious dip is poised to continue growing in popularity and nutrition impact for years to come.

So the next time you enjoy hummus, consider its rich history and all the goodness inside this uniquely creamy and versatile food. When paired with fresh vegetables, pita bread or crackers, hummus not only tastes great but provides your body with a wholesome, plant-powered nutrient boost in every bite.


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