Beetroot Hummus

This beetroot hummus is both beautiful and delicious. I’ve played a twist on a traditional hummus recipe simply by adding roasted, peeled beetroot to the food processor along with the other ingredients. This bold root vegetable adds colour and boosts the nutritional content of this yummy dip/spread. Normally I can’t really stand the taste of beetroot, however using it as part of a dish such as this is a great way to get all of the goodness from the vegetable, whilst keeping its taste to a minimum. If you LOVE the taste of beetroot, or would like a brighter pink colour, simply add 2 roasted beetroots to the mix :)I was lucky enough to have some help  making, photographing, and eating the end product.

I was lucky enough to have some help  making, photographing, and eating the end product. Thanks Sonja :). The recipe really is simple and easy to make, and the hummus can be eaten in a variety of different ways – on seed crackers, with courgetti, as part of a vibrant salad, and more. If you make this recipe please tag @tasteandseeblog on Instagram and Facebook and share how you used the hummus πŸ™‚ I didn’t have any tahini on hand at the time of making this recipe, so I toasted some sesame seeds over the stove before grinding them by hand using a mortar and pestle. This worked really well and gave the hummus a good flavour, so don’t be too concerned if you don’t have any tahini in the fridge. Toasted and ground sesame seeds work just fine.

Keep reading for some interesting info about two of the main ingredients, beetroot and chickpeas, before finding the recipe below.

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Beetroot

Beetroot is beautiful. There is no other vegetable that is able to impart such a vibrant pink/purple colour to pretty much everything it comes in contact with [1]. Beetroot can be eaten in many different ways – raw, roasted, boiled, pickled, and even juiced [1]. In fact, raw beetroot juice is an incredibly concentrated source of minerals and vitamins [1].

Some of its most notable health benefits include those associated with its folate, potassium, and polyphenol content [1]. Folate is essential for healthy cell development and prevention of anaemia, and potassium is important in regulating one’s heartbeat, blood pressure, and nerve function [1]. Beetroots contain a variety of bioactive polyphenols, antioxidants, and nitrates, which have been shown to contribute to lowering blood pressure and improving vascular health [2]. The betalain pigments found in beetroot display anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity, making this starchy vegetable a hot topic in the world of nutrition and health research with a growing interest in its potential as a functional food [3]. Studies have shown that beetroot may play a beneficial role in treating conditions characterised by chronic inflammation [3]. In addition to this, recent studies have shown the potential benefits of beetroot ingestion in reducing the risk and improving clinical outcomes for conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and dementia [3].

Beetroot has the highest sugar contents of any vegetable and is used commercially, although not as extensively as sugar cane, to produce table sugar [1]. Interestingly enough, freshly boiled beetroot is nutritionally equal, if not superior, to the raw vegetable due to the fact that it has greater quantities of most minerals available for the body to absorb [1]. Although some water-soluble vitamins are lost, most vitamins are retained in almost equal amounts after cooking beetroot [1].

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Chickpeas

Chickpeas form part of the pulse family, which also includes lentils and a variety of different beans [1]. Chickpeas are round, about the size of a marble, and have a nutty flavour [1]. They are used extensively in Middle Eastern and Asian cooking in a variety of different ways [1]. Chickpeas are a crucial ingredient in traditional hummus, which is also made with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and tahini [1]. Nutritionally, chickpeas are a good source of manganese, iron, folate, and vitamin E [1]. Chickpeas can be ground into a flour that can be used to make dishes such as socca, or can be added to smoothies and baked goods to boost the nutritional content whilst not altering the overall flavour too much [4].

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Pulses

I’m glad to be sharing a bit of information about a member of this family before 2016 comes to an end, as 2016 was the year of the pulse πŸ™‚ Pulses are a nutritious and affordable alternative to meat thanks to their relatively high protein content, and although they do not contain a complete amino acid profile they are able to contribute sufficient amounts of all the essential amino acids when paired with other plant-based foods such as whole grains, seeds, and nuts [1]. I will have to do an in-depth post on complementary proteins at some point, but for now, this link will have to do (thanks Wikipedia). 

Pulses are incredibly versatile ingredients that can be used in pretty much everything, from breakfast to dessert [4]. Lentils, beans, chickpeas and split peas can make meals go further, reducing the overall cost and fat content when used to substitute half of the meat in a dish, whilst boosting the nutritional content [4]. Pulses contain both insoluble fibre, which promotes regular bowel movements, and soluble fibre, which plays a role in reducing blood cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease [1]. The carbohydrate makeup of pulses is such that they have a relatively low GI, allowing them to be digested slowly and release steady levels of glucose into the blood following their consumption [1].

So what is the downside to including chickpeas and other pulses in one’s diet? Well, they can cause gassiness in some individuals due to their hard-to-digest resistant starch content. Most pulses, aside from split peas and lentils, require several hours of soaking in water before cooking in order both reduce their cooking time and reduce the indigestible starches that cause flatulence [1]. Interestingly enough, some sources suggest that adding herbs like fennel, sage, rosemary, lemon balm, and caraway can help prevent flatulence in some individuals, however, the evidence to support this is limited [1]. Another way to reduce the gassiness caused by legumes is to change the water a few times whilst dried pulses are left to soak, as well as draining and rinsing them thoroughly before cooking [5].

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Beetroot Hummus
A bright and colourful twist to a traditional hummus recipe. Boost your toast, seed crackers, and salads with this nutrient-boosting basic.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, cooked
  2. 1 medium beetroot, roasted
  3. 1/4 cup lemon juice
  4. 2 Tbsp tahini (see note)
  5. 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  6. 1 clove garlic, peeled
  7. 1-3 Tbsp water
  8. Salt & pepper, to taste
For the chickpeas
  1. Place 1 cup of dried chickpeas in a large bowl. Cover with water, cover, and allow to soak for Β±12 hours. Rinse and change the water every 3-4 hours.
  2. After soaking for Β±12 hours rinse the chickpeas thoroughly. Place into a pot, add sufficient water to cook, add a sprinkle of salt, and bring to the boil. Cook for Β±45 minutes, until the chickpeas are soft and cooked.
  3. Rinse well after cooking and allow to cool.
For the beetroot
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Chop the leaves off the beetroot before rinsing, drying it, and wrapping it in tinfoil.
  3. Place on a tray in the oven and allow to roast for Β±45 minutes. Allow to cool before peeling the skin off.
For the hummus
  1. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor. Blend for 3-5 minutes, scraping down the sides at regular intervals to make sure that everything is incorporated well. Season with salt and pepper (to taste).
  2. Store the hummus in a clean, sterilised jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Notes
  1. - If you don't have any tahini (sesame seed 'paste'), but have sesame seeds on hand, toast 1/2 cup of sesame seeds in a dry pan over a medium-high heat until toasted. Make sure to stir/mix them around whilst they're roasting, and keep an eye on them at all times, to prevent them from burning. Once they are toasted, allow to cool before placing the seeds in a mortar. Going by hand using a pestle until the seeds release their oils and become paste-like. Use 1 tsp olive oil to help you a bit if needed.
  2. - Canned chickpeas will also work perfectly, and will help to make this recipe even more simple and easy to prepare. Just make sure to rinse them out really well before using.
Taste & See http://tasteandseeblog.co.za/

References

[1] Clasen L, Kramer P, McWhirter A, editors. Food’s That Harm, Foods That Heal. 2nd ed. South Africa: Heritage Publishers (Pty) Limited, 2000. 400 p.

[2] Keogh J. Nutrition and vascular health. Nutr Diet. 2013;70:3-4.

[3] Clifford T, Howatson G, West DJ, Stevenson EJ. The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease. Nutrients. 2015;7:2801-22.

[4] The World’s Most Versatile Superfood [poster] 

[5] Legumes – Start a Healthy Habit [poster]

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