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The Arabic name for Chickpea spread is ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna. The word Hummus entered the English language around the mid-20th century from the Arabic ḥummuṣ or the Turkish spelling humus. There is a claim that it was mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, in the book of Ruth as hometz, which can be derived from the word himtza for chickpeas.

Origin and history

As with most recipes developed before transportation and refrigeration, the basic ingredients chickpeas, sesame, lemon, and garlic were items readily available in Egypt and the Levent for centuries (historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia). The regional populations ate chickpeas, and often cooked them in stews and other hot dishes.

The earliest known written recipes for a dish resembling hummus bi tahina are recorded in cookbooks written in Cairo in the 13th century. A cold purée of chickpeas with vinegar and pickled lemons with herbs, spices, and oil, but no tahini or garlic.

Chickpeas were and are abundant in the Middle East and are still commonly eaten today.


PREPARATION:10 minutes – makes 4 cups 8 servings

EQUIPMENT: French chef knife, cutting board, blender or hand operated food processor


  • 2 cups chickpeas cooked or canned.
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup (60 ml) water from chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons pure olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, roasted, minced, or pureed.
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 cup Tahini*


In a blender or hand operated food processor, puree chick peas with lemon juice; add chickpea water as needed to keep blending. Add remaining ingredients, puree to a creamy paste.

To Serve: Hummus may be served in many ways and with a variety of garnishes. For a luncheon salad plate, arrange humus on lettuce leaves, sprinkle with paprika, and garnish with sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, carrot slices, and serve with whole wheat bread or wheat crackers.

For a Sandwich Spread: Cut pieces of Middle Eastern Flatbread** (pita) in half and half pockets with humus. Add garnishes such as shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, etc. Or spread on crackers or toast.

For a Dip: Serve with fresh cut vegetables. 


Tahini is available in Middle Eastern and some Health Food stores. You can make your own by grinding sesame seeds and adding enough sesame oil to give the mixture the consistency of peanut butter. It can be made in a blender by grinding sesame seeds to a powder, place in a glass jar and combine with sesame oil.