I wanted to come back with a bang, so I decided to post about hummus. With red beets. It’s hot pink. Do I have your attention yet? Yes, I am craving just a little bit of attention with this recipe, because it came to me in my sleep and it actually worked out (as opposed to other recipes I’ve dreamt about which flopped when attempted in reality). The great thing about this recipe — and I realize that it sounds like a bold claim — is that it tastes better than the classic dish of just plain ‘ole hummus. And it looks the part too. Just imagine walking into a potluck with a hot pink dip; it’s guaranteed to be a conversation piece.
Hummus is actually a very easy dish to make. It’s essentially just ground-up cooked chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans — they’re apparently the same thing), a little bit of tahini paste, a clove of garlic, lime or lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. The part that takes time is soaking and cooking the chickpeas (if you’re doing it from scratch like grandma). But even if that’s the case, it’s passive time so it doesn’t really count. You could be catching up on email, cooking up a storm, or reading a nutrition book while the pot of beans is bubbling on the stove. If you’re not me, you can probably use the time to do something else not food-related. But don’t skip the soaking — your digestive system will appreciate the soak. That’s because legumes and grains have a substance called phytic acid, which if not reduced through soaking, can wreak havoc on your digestive tract. All traditional cultures who consume legumes soak their beans! MidEats contributor Jessica of Bint Rhoda’s Kitchen wrote an article about soaking grains and beans that does a great job explaining all the reasons to do it.
Or, if you’re in a pinch, like I was recently, you could also use canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans. If you didn’t know already, I’m very picky when it comes to packaged food. So, if you can get your hands on organic canned beans, without preservatives and in a BPA-free container, that would be ideal. Here’s a brand I’ve used and like quite a bit. The “kombu seaweed” listed as an ingredient must help with the digestive, ahem, effects of consuming beans too, because my canned-bean version actually worked better in that regard. Or maybe I just need to soak the beans for longer if I’m making it from scratch. Soaking for 36 hours would be ideal…
Here’s the thing with this recipe. Even if you’re in a pinch, you have to think a day or two ahead. That’s because the beets take about 40 minutes to an hour to properly roast in the oven. And hot out of the oven they will be hard to peel and will make your dip warm, which isn’t very “dippable” in my opinion. So, the best thing to do is to roast a bunch of whole beets in one batch one evening when you’re in the kitchen anyway. I used to think I had to peel and slice raw beets (what a pain) before roasting, but I have news for you: they taste better when roasted whole with the skin on. The inside of the beets stay super juicy and it caramelizes to perfection. I leave them out to cool after checking with a knife that they’ve cooked all the way through. Then, I stick them in the fridge for using in salads, adding them to stir-fries, and in this case, peeling them and adding to the blender to make some hummus.
The flavors of this hummus are very synergistic. The roasted caramelized beetroot and the creamy pine nuts (oh yes, it’s only three tablespoons but it gives just the right hint of something interesting) go well with a lime-juice-bathed garbanzo bean mash like you wouldn’t believe. I realize there’s no tahini in this recipe, which is weird for hummus. But the pine nuts are a delicious replacement for the tahini! Try it out and maybe you’ll end up liking it enough to make a ginormous plate of it to beat the current Guinness world record for the largest plate of hummus ever made in Beirut in 2010. It weighed 23,520 pounds. I wonder how long it took the whole community to eat it. And how many cans of hummus it took to make this plate (I think it’s probably safe to assume they didn’t soak all these chickpeas and boil them from scratch). I wonder how they blended it. Take a look at this monster:
So given that all you need for this dip is a handful of beans and two red beets, it’s a much more manageable situation. You also need a food processor (or blender) so you can blend everything together. The resulting dip is an ideal appetizer or side dish, but it can also work as a spread with cold cuts or leftover roast chicken. It can enhance any lunch by adding all-in-one veggies and protein to keep you feeling satiated longer. In other words, I highly recommend it!
Roasted Red Beet Hummus Dip
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours + soaking overnight fo
Keywords: blender appetizer side snack vegan gluten-free soy-free vegetarian sugar-free chickpeas beet pine nuts winter fall spring
Ingredients (about 3.5 cups)
- 1½ cups raw chickpeas, soaked and cooked OR 2 15oz cans (about 1¾ cups) cooked chickpeas
- 2 medium red beets, roasted then peeled
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts, preferably soaked and dehydrated or lightly toasted
- Juice and zest of 1 medium lime
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup filtered water
- 1 teaspoon unrefined salt
- ¾ teaspoon black or white pepper, ground
(1) Prepare the chickpeas: If cooking raw chickpeas, you will need to soak them first in warm filtered water for at least 24 hours. Add a splash of something acidic in there, like apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice to help neutralize the phytic acid. Rinse the chickpeas and place in a medium pot with filtered water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on medium-low for 2 hours or so until thoroughly cooked. If the water runs low throughout cooking, add boiling water so it doesn’t interfere with the cooking process.
(2) Prepare the beets: Wash the beetroot under running water to remove any dirt. Put the whole beets on a baking sheet and roast on 400F for 40 minutes to an hour till cooked through. Leave the beets out to cool. You can place in the fridge for a couple of days. It’s best for this recipe if the beets are cool before blending with the chickpeas. Peel the beets before chopping roughly and adding to the food processor.
(3) Make the hummus: Add the cooked chickpeas, beets, lime juice and zest, water, garlic clove, pine nuts, olive oil, salt and pepper to a food processor and pulse until everything is blended and integrated smoothly. Taste-test it for tartness and salt, and adjust accordingly.
(4) Serve the hummus: Once blended, the hummus is ready to be served. It tastes best at room temperature when made fresh, but if there’s any left over you can refrigerate it for a couple of days to a week. Use it as a spread or as an appetizer.