What Is Hummus?

Hummus has gained considerable popularity over the last few decades, mainly due to the fact that it’s delicious, easy to make, and vegan. It’s a fantastic addition to different foods, but it can also be the main hero of your meal, depending on what kind of mood you’re in.

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There are many reasons to love hummus, and if you’re on a plant-based diet, it may become your new favorite thing in the kitchen. It’s healthy, versatile, and flavorful, so if you still have some doubts about it, this article will help you dispel them.

Learn about the origins of hummus, why it might be beneficial for you to include it in your diet, and how to prepare delicious hummus in your own home.

What Is Hummus?

First things first, we should talk about what exactly hummus is. Many will probably already know the answer to this question, but for those who might not be avid culinary enthusiasts, we’re happy to provide the answer.

Hummus is a creamy chickpea spread meant for eating with various foods like pastries, snacks, and veggies.

It’s this versatility of hummus that makes it such an amazing dip. It goes well with so many different types of ingredients and meals that you can keep it in your fridge at all times and always find a good opportunity to eat it.

This explains the popularity of hummus. The spread is so good and allows you to build easy and quick meals (for example, healthy snacks between your main meals of the day) that it’s a great proposition for those who like to eat tastily, effortlessly, healthy, and vegan.

But where does the hummus come from?

The Origins of Hummus

Hummus comes from the Middle East, and although the exact location and time of its invention are hard to determine, some point us in the direction of Egypt, where chickpeas with different ingredients have been eaten for centuries.

The first written recipe for hummus comes from cookbooks written in Cairo in the 13th century. It was and still is often eaten with the traditional flatbread of the Middle East – the Pita.

The history of hummus is long, but its global reach occurred relatively recently, mostly due to the rise of interest in vegan alternatives on the market.

Hummus has a strong presence in the cultures of Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, and other Arabic nations, which is noticeable in the flavor profile of traditionally prepared hummus.

So if you’re interested in making a short trip to the Middle Eastern regions of the world, this is your ticket.

What Is Hummus Made Of?

What are the main ingredients of hummus? Let’s take a closer look.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, as they are sometimes called) are the base ingredient of the spread. They are usually mixed into the smooth paste, for example, in the food processor, which gives us that desired consistency we want in hummus. You can make hummus from the homecooked or canned chickpeas – this doesn’t make much of a difference in the final product.

Tahini

Tahini, another crucial ingredient, is a ground sesame seeds paste. On its own, it has a very distinctive, strong, and often bitter taste, but it only adds flavor value to the hummus. Just like with chickpeas, you can use store-bought tahini to make hummus, or you can make it yourself.

And, if you have an aversion to tahini, you can leave it out of the recipe. The ‘chickpea puree’ is still great without it.

Lemon juice

Fresh lemon juice is something that brings out interesting flavors from the hummus. This time we do not recommend bottled lemon juice, as the fresh one tastes so much better. It’s also very easy to acquire. All you need is a lemon and citrus juicer.

Olive oil

Good quality extra virgin olive oil also can be found in any good hummus recipe. Olive oil provides a smooth texture, which in any spread is important. You can use the oil you like when making homemade hummus, and if you want to learn more about quality oils, check out Substitutes For Sesame Oil: 13 of Our Best Picks.

Garlic

Garlic goes great with many things and is also present in hummus. If you want to add some character to your hummus, one or two garlic cloves should do the trick.

Ground cumin

Ground cumin is often a go-to spice when it comes to hummus recipes. It brings a lot of earthy and warm notes.

Other hummus ingredients

Some ingredients found  in different hummus recipes are salt and pepper, fresh spices, roasted red peppers, vegetable broth, or fresh parsley.

You can add pretty much anything you like to your homemade hummus, as the base ingredients go well with many different add-ons. Hummus offers a great field for experiments, but we would definitely recommend trying the more traditional route first to see how much you like the taste of hummus and what kind of ingredients go well with it in your opinion.

Is Hummus Healthy?

Yes, and some would even call it a superfood. It has lots of nutrients and minerals, like magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, vitamin B6, and potassium. It is low in calories and rich in protein and fiber.

Hummus is effective in addressing inflammation, is good for digestive issues, has a low glycemic index, and is completely gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free, which makes it a perfect option for those with dietary issues (source.)

It’s safe to say that homemade hummus, filled with good quality products, is one of the best dips or spreads you could include in your diet.

How to make hummus

How to Make Hummus at Home

Making hummus at home is very easy and doesn’t take long, so if you’re looking for a recipe that will be straightforward and won’t take a whole lot of time from your day, we’ve got you covered.
5 from 6 votes
Total Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 221 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • Chickpeas 3 cups
  • Tahini ⅓ cup
  • Fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • Garlic 1 or 2 cloves
  • Olive oil 1 tablespoon
  • Ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions
 

To make the whole process easier on yourself, you will need a food processor or another appliance to mix the ingredients into a smooth mass. The secret to good hummus is the order in which you’re adding the ingredients into a food processor.

  • Rinse and drain the canned chickpeas. If you’re using regular chickpeas, you will need to soak them in the water overnight and boil them first.
  • Add tahini and lemon juice to the food processor. Turn on the processor and let it run for about 1 minute.
  • Add olive oil, ground cumin, garlic, and salt to the tahini mixture. Let the food processor run for another couple of minutes.
  • Add half of the chickpeas to the mass and run the processor for 1 minute. Next, add the rest of the chickpeas and repeat the process.
  • Slowly add 2 to 4 tablespoons of cold water, letting a processor mix the hummus for up to 2 minutes.
  • Season it with salt and pepper, and add more spices if you want to.
  • Garnish your hummus with olive oil and a handful of chickpeas.

To make smooth, fluffy hummus, you can use our tips as well.

  • Cook the canned chickpeas as well. Although chickpeas from the can are usually good to go, you can benefit from boiling them for about 20 minutes. Dried chickpeas should be cooked for about 2 hours to get to the right softness. You can even overcook them, as this will only make them more tender and your hummus smoother.
  • Peel the chickpeas’ skin. It’s not absolutely necessary step to take in order to make smooth hummus, but it does make a little difference. You can remove the beans’ skin by soaking them first in hot water with baking soda. It helps take the skin right off.
  • Add cold water or ice cubes to the hummus. If you want to get a creamier texture, adding cold water or ice to the mass while it’s in the food processor is the way to go.

Nutrition

Calories: 221kcal
Keyword how to make hummus, how to make hummus at home
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

There you go. You can serve hummus with your snacks right away, or you can put it in a fridge for later.

What to Eat With Hummus?

When it comes to eating hummus with various foods, the sky is the limit. This dip complements many different snacks and foods, such as:

  • vegetables like carrots, cucumber, paprika, celery
  • pita chips, bread, crackers
  • sandwiches and toasts
  • chips
  • pretzels
  • tortilla chips
  • baked sweet potatoes
  • fruit, like apple, pear, or melon

Combinations are endless, and the best way to determine which foods are the most delicious with hummus is to try them out! It’s a very tasty experiment and one you won’t regret making.

Can You Freeze Hummus?

Yes, hummus can be frozen. You can safely freeze your hummus for up to 10 days, assuming you keep it in an airtight container. It’s worth noting that some hummuses don’t freeze as easily as others. Spread with the high content of garlic, for example, may not be as freezer-friendly as hummus that doesn’t contain it.

Is Store-Bought Hummus the Healthy Option?

As we talked about earlier, hummus can be considered a superfood due to its high concentration of dietary fiber, plant-based protein, vitamins, and minerals. It’s important to remember, though, that you can receive many benefits from eating hummus that is made from healthy ingredients.

In grocery stores, you can encounter hummuses of various quality, which is why it’s always advisable to check the ingredient list and see if there are artificial add-ons in the product you’re about to buy.

It might be beneficial to see the oil content in such a product as well. Generally, olive oil is good for us and is included in many hummus recipes. We have olive oil in our recipe too. Of course, too much of a good thing can also hurt you, so keep that in mind when checking the oil contents. 

But many hummus brands sell hummus with sunflower oil. In smaller amounts, it’s not a big issue, but if the oil is high on the ingredient list, you may want to look for another brand with a more balanced composition.

Overall, nothing can beat homemade hummus, so if you’re determined to eat the healthiest, we would recommend trying out some fantastic, easy hummus recipes.

Is Hummus Good for Weight Loss?

Hummus is a great source of fiber and protein, which means it might be an adequate food to include in your diet if you’re thinking about losing weight.

Hummus adds great nutritional value to your diet plan, keeping you satisfied and offering a healthy way to snack between meals. This means you’re less likely to reach for more calorie-dense snacks.

Not only that, but hummus is a source of healthy fats and complex carbohydrates, providing you with everything you need to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.

Don’t worry about fat concentration in the dip. 100 grams of hummus contain around 160 calories, which means it’s perfectly healthy to eat hummus while on a weight loss journey.

Especially those who don’t eat meat should look into the benefits of hummus in the plant-based diet. As it is full of protein, hummus can be a great alternative to meat (of course, in combination with other high-protein foods.)

Final Thoughts

Easy to make, delicious and nutritious, hummus is worth incorporating into your day-to-day life. You can grab it to work or school and eat it on the go as a healthier alternative to processed snacks and meals.

This tasty dip goes well with many snacks. Pastries, veggies, and chips are among the most popular choices.

You can add your favorite spices to it and garnish it the way you like, and if you don’t have much time for cooking, you can make a bigger batch of hummus and enjoy it throughout the week.

It is safe to say that there are only pros and no cons when it comes to hummus.Learn more easy recipes to include in your diet. Enjoy new and colorful dishes every day and surprise your friends and family with your cooking skills – get inspired with The Kitchen Community.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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