The History of Hummus (or houmous, if you prefer that)

The history of hummus

Yes, we have a big thing for houmous. We even did a full short story about the stuff! See: Posthoumous—A Dystopian Houmous Affair.

But today we’re here to wax lyrical about hummus and houmous. And we’re going to address the naming conventions later.

For now, we’ll stick with a variation on hummus and houmous. Just for the hell of it on the whole SEO front, yeah? Let’s explore this dippy history, man.

What’s Hummus?

It’s a Middle Eastern dip, spread, and savoury dish that consists largely of mushed chickpeas.

However, also added into the mix are tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. But other stuff can be added in, too.

There are many variations you can have on this dish, but the most traditional is the basic merger of chickpeas with the condiment tahini and olive oil.

It’s delicious. No other way of putting it! And it makes a nice snack with a toasted pitta bread or two.

What’s the History of Hummus?

Hummus is an ancient Arabic word. Here it is:


Yes, that squiggly thing right there. It all ties in with the glorious history of pots with squishy dip in it.

To continue on now, in fact, we’re going to take an excerpt from our superb short story Posthoumous here. Enjoy!

“It was likely invented during antiquity. An Arabic word, ‘houmous’ means ‘chickpeas’ which, of course, is the central ingredient of the dip. Do not let yourself be swayed by this effortless summary, as reality is a conniving and clever fiend …

What is known is the first recipe for houmous reared itself in an Egyptian cookbook in the 13th century. It appeared in the Kitāb al-Wusla ilā l-habīb fī wasf al-tayyibāt wa-l-tīb – this means ‘Medieval times food’ for those of you lacking the intellectual capacity to grasp such a simple word combination.”

Despite that basic knowledge, recorded history doesn’t locate precisely where the stuff hails from.

All we know is the basic ingredients (chickpeas, lemon, garlic) have been mushed together since the ancient times of Egypt and Levant (the Eastern Mediterranean).

The first written records appear in the Abbasid Caliphate, the third caliphate to succeed the Islamic prophet Muhammad. That’s circa 850… or, basically, a very long time ago.

We must say, most people probably think hummus comes from Greece. But most available evidence points to it emerging from Egypt.

But, again, no one knows for sure. For all we know it hailed from Barbados and randomly made its way over to Egypt one day. But that’s just conjecture we don’t believe. Of course. *ahem*

How Do You Spell Houmous?

We’ve covered this in a post before: How do you spell hummus? And that was back in 2013. Almost a decade on… have we learned anything?

NO! Why would we have!? However, we do have to now accept the most accepted spelling of the foodstuff is… 🥁


In the UK, though, all the major supermarket chains spell it as houmous. That’s why we’re in the habit of putting it like that.

But the varying naming conventions don’t half create conflict! As other variants include:

  • Homous
  • Houmos
  • Houmus
  • Humus

Will the madness never end?! Well, kind of. As, again, we must acknowledge the dictionaries in American and British English list the spelling as: hummus.

Well, you know what? The dictionaries can get stuffed.

The Different Types of Hummus

Oh my salad days, there are many variations of houmous! It’s enough to make one dizzy from the capitalistic excess. Take a look at this lot:

  • Plain
  • Roasted pepper
  • Chipotle
  • Sun dried tomato and basil
  • Jalapeño
  • Beetroot, cannellini bean, and mint houmous
  • Spinach
  • Dark chocolate (yes, this is a thing)
  • Carrot
  • Avocado
  • Mushroom
  • Sriracha lime white bean
  • Kalamata olive
  • Lebanese moutabel

You get the idea. Basically, there are a lot off hummus variations you can go for. All you need to do is think of a flavour and you’re halfway there.

How Do You Make Houmous?

Hummus! It’s Jamie Oliver and even he’s spelling it that way. And when you’re as smokin’ hot as Mr. Oliver, you bet your bottom dollar he’ll know how to spell stuff.

Behold, then, the various ingredients you’ll need to cobble this dip together.

400 grams of chickpeas
The juice of ½ a lemon
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of tahini paste

From there, it’s really a case of whizzing that lot together in a blender.

If you don’t have a blender, then we guess you’ll have to use a swivel chair and some string to develop a, sort of, makeshift vortex. That’ll work (maybe).

Alternatively, just find your nearest shop. As we bet you anything there’ll be at least one pot of houmous there.


  1. Nice, this is one of my favorites. I grew up eating this — it had already gotten pretty well-known among vegetarians and vegans over here when I was a kid, but I ate a lot of this and other Mediterranean food thanks to my Palestinian family roots, a mix of that and southern US cuisine from the other side of my family. Quite a combination.

    I’ve never gotten into all the various flavors, though. I’m sure there are some nice ones — had a roasted red pepper one I liked. But to me, when you say hummus, I think hummus-flavored hummus and that’s about it. As for the naming conventions, I’ve always seen hummus, yeah. You can transliterate that word in all sorts of ways but I think that one is pretty standard now in English.

    Now I just wish its cousin baba ghanoush would get as much recognition over here. Maybe Americans just don’t like eggplant enough. It’s a shame.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As a houmous connoisseur, I can confirm the overriding taste with houmous… is houmous. The additional flavours don’t really add too much to proceedings. The chickpeas are where it’s it.

      Hummus… houmous? It probably should be hummus, that makes sense. But for whatever reason, ALL our major supermarkets here use “houmous”. So, I’ve been brainwashed into accepting that as the norm. I make no apologies.

      Aubergine it be here. Eggplant it be there. Shame to hear that! I think Eggnog will be popular as well… oh dang, I may need to do a history of eggnog now.

      Liked by 1 person

Dispense with some gibberish!

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