Hummus dips and spreads are the latest health food craze sweeping the nation. This food, made from ground chickpeas, is popular as a dip and a spread and comes in a variety of flavors. But do you know where hummus came from or how it became so popular? If not, then check out these five fun facts about hummus dips below:
1. Hummus is made from chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Chickpeas were brought to the Middle East by the ancient Phoenicians. That means they began cultivating this legume, or bean, about 7,000 years ago! Hummus and chickpeas have a long history in the Middle East, and chickpeas are commonly used in dishes all across the Near East and the Mediterranean.
2. Hummus literally means “chickpeas”–that’s the Arabic word for them. In America and many other Western countries, we simply know the dish as “hummus.” However, in Arabic, the dish is known as “hummus bi tahini,” or “chickpeas with tahini.” (Tahini is a sesame paste that is used to give the dish its flavor and consistency.)
3. Traditional preparation of hummus plates uses a drizzle of olive oil, some sprinkled paprika, and sometimes a bit of chopped up parsley to garnish its top. However, today there are many different ways to prepare and present hummus. For instance, some store bought brands don’t use olive oil, and some hummus will use a different garnish in the center, such as roasted red peppers in a roasted red pepper hummus dip.
4. Hummus didn’t appear in America until about the 1960s and 1970s, but it wasn’t as popular as it is today. Back then it was only found in health food stores or in specialized international grocers’ markets. Several decades later, however, and with the addition of plenty of appealing flavors, hummus has become popular with mainstream consumers for its nutritional benefits and its delicious taste. Those who are concerned with their health along with people who like the foods of other cultures both use recipes with hummus today for a variety of dishes.
5. Hummus is a great source of nutrition. Even prepared, store bought hummus is a low-calorie way to add protein to your diet. One tablespoon of hummus contains about 25 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrates, and this dip can be eaten with pitas or crackers, or, for a more healthful snack, with sliced vegetables, such as carrot sticks or bell peppers.
Whether you’re looking for a healthy snack on the go or a healthy amount of protein for a vegetarian diet, look for hummus dips in your supermarket today. There are plenty of varieties and flavors available, and they’re sure to be a hit with the whole family.