If you enjoy Mediterranean food, you’ve likely experienced the joy that comes from eating hummus. This crowd favorite is featured on nearly 75% of Mediterranean menus but only makes its way onto 14% of menus across America. Whether you’re a fan of hummus already or you’re just about to dip into Mediterranean cuisine for the first time, here are five fun facts you should know about this nutritious dish.

1. It’s made from chickpeas

We’ll start with a well-known fact: hummus primarily consists of chickpeas. Along with these nutrient-packed veggies, hummus is made with sesame paste, lemon juice, and garlic. However, other seasonings and toppings can be added for flavor. Hummus will also vary slightly depending on where you eat it. After all, hummus is eaten throughout the globe and prepared in a myriad of different ways. Chickpeas contain both plant based protein and fiber, along with other nutrients and minerals that make them not only delicious, but good for you too. Eating chickpeas is linked to better blood sugar regulation and digestion, as well!

2. It originated in the Middle East

Though it’s a staple throughout countries along the Mediterranean coastline, this chickpea-based dish was actually invented in the Middle East, hundreds of years ago. In fact, the earliest mention of hummus was found in 13th century Egypt. However, a number of Mediterranean nations have fought over who can claim the title of hummus’s land of origin. Whoever first invented the dish, it’s served with little variation across the Middle East. And, other countries have picked up the delicious texture of hummus and come up with their own dips, such as green lentil hummus or avocado hummus. As you travel across the globe, you’ll find many examples of hummus’s influence.

3. Wars have been fought over the best hummus

That’s right: the hummus wars are a real thing. Though claims to fame have always been disputed among Mediterranean countries, Lebanon and Israel finally duked it out in the kitchen in 2010 when they fought over who could make the largest hummus dish. The verdict? Lebanon created a 22,000-pound dish, more than double the 9,000-pound dish that Israel succeeded in creating. It took over 300 cooks to create the mammoth dish! It became a world record that hasn’t been beaten to this day. This isn’t the only culinary record Lebanon has set – they also hold the title for largest falafel ball!

4. Hummus is an aphrodisiac

The next time you visit your favorite falafel restaurant, you might want to bring a date along with you. Hummus is a natural aphrodisiac thanks to all of its nutrients, which include iron, magnesium, and potassium. Olive oil is also known to get the motor revving, and we include a little olive oil with each serving. This addition is great for Mediterranean salads in-house, but you might want to opt for Mediterranean take out dishes instead 😉

5. You can put hummus on nearly everything

Hummus is a staple in any falafel restaurant thanks to its versatility. It can spice up any pita, but can also be incorporated into salads, chips, vegetables, and more. Try including hummus on a crudite board or with charcuterie. It’s delicious mixed with chicken or even eaten on its own! When you’re looking for healthy Mediterranean food, think about getting hummus on the side. You never know what you might have lying around your house to dip in! Are you looking for the best Mediterranean food Houston has to offer? Try Aladdin’s the next time you crave the best food money can buy. We have locations in both Montrose and Oak Forest!