"Hommus be kidding". That was my reaction when I first heard about using the traditional chickpea dip on a pizza.
Not just because I love a good pun. But because I love a good hummus - as a dip. And the thought of spreading it on a pizza base was, well, just plain odd. Give me a cracker or a celery stick any day.
The pizza idea came from Aussie brand SSS Foods, which has been making hommus in Victoria for two decades. The company wants to challenge fans to think of different ways of serving up the traditional picnic dip and put a twist on classic dishes.
"Hommus is a surprisingly versatile food," said SSS Foods general manager, Jalni Shah.
"Over the years we've seen our customers use it in a number of ways, such as pasta dishes, or as an alternative pizza sauce.
"It's one of those kitchen staples that can be used to give an unexpected twist to a dish to impress at a dinner party, or used to create a healthy meal the whole family will enjoy."
Never one to turn down a challenge, I decided to give the hommus pizza a try - and have to admit it was remarkably easy and super yummy.
After spreading my Lebanese bread liberally with a mix of hommus, dried oregano and a healthy pinch of dried chilli flakes I chucked on some feta, sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Then into the oven for a few minutes and it was ready. And all in a lunchtime. I eat my words!
If you want to give it a try too, scroll down to see this recipe, and one for hommus pasta too.
Hommus is of Middle Eastern origin. While the earliest mention of hommus in print is from 13th Century Egypt, many parts of the Mediterranean and middle east claim hommus as their own invention.
The word 'hommus' in Arabic literally translates to chickpeas. What we know as hommus dip here in Australia is called ummu bi ana or 'chickpeas with tahini'. It can be made chunky or smooth, and with varying levels of tahini and lemon juice or acid added to people's tastes.
Different countries have slight variations from adding more oil in the Mediterranean, adding cumin and other spices in the Middle East, varying the quantity of tahini (sesame paste) added, and even adding yoghurt.
Arabic cookbooks from the middle ages contain recipes for chickpea purees, with the addition of tahini appearing later in Syria.
It's good for your love life: Hommus is touted as an aphrodisiac. Next time you are planning a fancy meal for your lover with oysters, dark chocolate and strawberries, try serving hommus with your meal as well. Touted across the Mediterranean as an aphrodisiac hommus is packed with iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium boosting physical energy and getting the blood pumping.
There are hommus bars! In Australia where we are very picky about which cafe we will frequent based on who makes the best coffee, in Israel there are hummusia who each specialise in serving their take on hommus, and people are very particular about which one they eat at.
Record-breakers. The largest serving of hommus, according to the Guinness World Records, weighed 10,452kg and was made by 300 student chefs in Lebanon in 2010. That's the equivalent of 46,453 tubs of SSS Foods Hommus.
There's a hommus holiday. In 2012 tech entrepreneur Ben Lang was attending an IT event in Israel when he decided he needed to create a theme for the day -and so 13th May became International Hommus Day. His aim was to create a holiday based on a food that could bring people all over the world together. He started it as a joke, but it has since turned into a very celebrated festival in many parts of the world.
That's a lot of chickpeas! Australia is only second to India in world chickpea production. We grow just under a million tonnes of chickpeas a year - about 35kg per person. However, 700,000 tonnes of our chickpeas are exported around the world. SSS Foods Hommus uses all-Australian chickpeas from Victoria.
Speedy hommus pizza
Makes six slices
- 1 pre-baked 12-inch pizza crust
- 1 container of SSS Foods Natural Hommus
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup crumbled Greek style vegan feta cheese
- 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup pitted Greek olives, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat oven to 230°C. Place crust on an ungreased baking sheet or 12-in. pizza pan.
- In a small bowl, mix hommus, oregano and pepper flakes; spread over crust.
- Sprinkle with cheese, tomatoes and olives.
- Bake 8-10 minutes or until heated through.
- Drizzle with oil.
Serves 2 - 3
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 2 zucchinis, diced
- 1 leek, sliced and chopped
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 225g pot of SSS Foods Natural Hommus
- 250g cooked pasta
- 1 cup almond milk
- Pine nuts to garnish
- Sauté the garlic, zucchini, leek and peas in olive oil in a frying pan until golden
- Add the almond milk, stir through the hummus and add salt and pepper to taste
- Once combined, add in 250g of cooked pasta of choice and mix through
- Top with fresh parsley and toasted pine nuts before serving.
- Try SSS Foods Natural or Coriander, Cumin and Mild Chilli Hommus, available from Woolworths. For more recipes visit sssfoods.com.au