Hummus Among Us

How Dallas does hummus: 8 alternative ways to scoop up this popular dip

Diners don’t have to look hard for hummus in Dallas-Fort Worth. Our fondness for this chickpea dip and our wealth of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants make it easy to find.

Paired with raw vegetables or pita, hummus is perceived as a healthy snack. The classic puree of chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon has richness, tang, brightness and a creamy texture.

Some places do hummus with a twist: It could be a different bean, such as white or pea, or an unusual ingredient to take the flavor in another direction. We surveyed local restaurants to test how they did with non-traditional hummuses. (Is that even a word?)


Green edamame hummus at LYFE Kitchen
No surprise that the twist from this Chicago-based fast-casual "healthy" chain features edamame. Soybeans are hot in health circles because of their status as a "complete" protein; at Asian restaurants edamame is an easy appetizer to share.

The color was pale green; whole edamame beans were sprinkled on top as a visual guide. The flavor was like green beans; the texture, firm and creamy, with pleasing little bumps.

Accompaniments were too plentiful: flax seed crisps, cucumber and radish slices, cherry tomatoes, even broccoli. With that much stuff, you need more dip, or not as much dipping stuff. A crop-dusting of paprika seemed unnecessary.

Beet hummus at CBD Provisions
Hotel restaurant at The Joule is a hummus innovator; previous chickpea alternatives have included black-eyed peas. The current version is beet, a gorgeous deep mauve color, with a fluffy texture that was almost like a mousse.

The flavor was a pristine distillation of the good parts of beet: like fresh earth with a subtle metallic tang. It might've been one note if not for the inspired, unusual toppers: creamy smoked blue cheese and frothy celery leaves in a vinaigrette. The wood serving dish proved irksome when we tried to scrape up the hummus with the accompanying crunchy toasts.

White bean hummus at Mash'd
Lively restaurant-bar in Frisco (and younger sibling of TruFire Kitchen) specializes in house-made flavored moonshine whiskeys, and on all counts was better than expected. That included the hummus, made from pureed white beans and served with pita crisps, celery and carrot sticks.

The hummus was garlicky, but not too, with a thick, chunky texture that was very appealing. A topping of crumbled feta cheese was too generous, though most would probably like it.

Where Mash'd did very well was in presentation. It came in a wire basket lined with paper, and the pita crackers were shaped like paddles that expedited our scooping up last bits of the hummus from the paper. Very efficient.

Green pea guacamole at Meddlesome Moth
Including craft-beer temple Meddlesome Moth is a cheat, since the dish they're serving is actually called green pea guacamole. But the fact that the recipe includes green peas puts it somewhere between guacamole and hummus. Besides, we really liked it.

The dip had avocado and green peas mashed together, then mixed with lime and diced raw red onion; whole peas were sprinkled on top. It was fresh and chunky, with a bracing edge from the onion. It came with tortilla chips — what you might expect with a guacamole. But seriously, it's like a hummus!

Green chile hummus at VH
Hospitable Oak Cliff restaurant calls its hummus "green chile," and chef Eric Brandt says it's made with roasted poblano. When we got it on a Sunday, the excellent server Jose Luis said they'd just finished making it.

Maybe that's why we didn't taste roasted poblano. It seemed like a traditional hummus, but with a chokingly harsh dose of raw garlic. The texture was homogenized, as if it had been whipped. It came topped with a bunch of ingredients, including grape tomatoes, scallions and cojita cheese, that didn't add to the experience.

They did succeed at correct ratio of dip to dippers, which consisted of cucumber slices and buttered baguette crisps.

Red pepper hummus at Dallas Beer Kitchen
Greenville Avenue beer-centric restaurant's recipe is simple and good: They start traditionally with chickpea, then add roasted red peppers and lime juice. The texture was smooth but with a bit of nub for personality. The pepper added freshness and smoke. It came with pita bread, cut into wedges and toasted on a grill.

Red pepper hummus is a common twist, but what set DBK's offering apart was the topping: whole chickpeas, fried until crunchy on the outside, then seasoned with red chile and lime. Their only shortcoming is that they're hard to scoop up with the pita; they could almost be a bar snack unto their own.

Spinach hummus and red pepper hummus, served on the buffet at Fadi’s
Houston-based Mediterranean chain Fadi's sneaks onto our alternative list because it offers three flavors: regular hummus, plus spinach and with red pepper. Like much of what is served at Fadi's, the flavors were excellent. The texture was loose and insanely smooth, which most hummus fans prefer.

The spinach had an earthy personality that reinforced its vegetably-ness, but without all the muss and fuss that comes with eating actual vegetables. The red pepper was bright and sweet but also contained spicy heat.

Hummus trio at Zoes Kitchen
Fast-casual Mediterranean chain just introduced a new hummus trio of which it is very proud. If you visit a branch, you will see cards at each table advertising the trio, as well as signs by the cash register and on the wall. The trio includes classic, basil pesto and red pepper; it comes with cucumber slices, strips of green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, pita bread and pita crisps. That is a lot of food for $7.

Great food, not so much. The classic hummus was mild, with notes of garlic, refrigerator staleness and bitterness. The basil pesto hummus was very basil, to the point of soapy, with an aftertaste of garlic.

The red pepper hummus was possibly the best of the three, although it had a bottled-dressing undertone with a spicy-hot finish that left the stomach feeling a bit jittery. Each came with a signature topper: pureed red pepper, pesto and, for the classic hummus, two kalamata olives. The olives were good.