Hope your summer is in full-swing, now that we've celebrated July 4th!
I'm currently on vacation in Santa Fe, NM, a city that I've never visited before. Whenever I mentioned to anyone that I was headed to Santa Fe, I would be told "oh - it's such an amazing place, you're going to love it there!". And yes, my friends, those words were full of truth. I'm having a wonderful relaxing time here with my husband, soaking up the sunshine, enjoying the dry air, beautiful views, and delicious food! Perhaps, in the near future, I'll start a travel section on my website, a place to write about all of the places that I've visited, with my personal recommendations and a collection of photos. But until then, you'll have to wait to read more about my Santa Fe adventures.
This week's recipe is one that I promised to share awhile ago. Roasted Beet Hummus. I know, another beet recipe, another hummus recipe. But, as you must know, I eat hummus nearly everyday and beets are one of my favorite vegetables. So, putting them together is completely natural and to be expected from me! Plus, beets are abundant in the farmers markets right now, so making this recipe is a no-brainer.
Why do I love beets so much? I didn't grow-up eating them, other than their juice coloring the horseradish on my family's Passover table. In fact, it wasn't until meeting my husband, nearly 17 years ago, that I even ate a beet. I remember that bite as if it were just yesterday; my husband had bought a container at Whole Foods of their beet & red onion salad, a staple of all Whole Foods' prepared food cases. We were eating a weekend lunch in his apartment, when he pulled that container of beet salad from the fridge. "I've never eaten a beet or that kind of salad", I must've admitted. I don't think he said anything, but probably looked at me quite strangely! How could I have never eaten a beet? In one bite, my taste buds were woken-up and forever changed. From that moment forward, I've been an avid beet eater.
Beets are grounding, they're earthy. Heck, they grow in the earth. Since ancient Roman times, beet juice was considered an aphrodisiac. Beets are a natural source of tryptophan, an amino acid which promotes feelings of well-being. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter which is responsible for mood balance; tryptophan is the precursor of serotonin. So, consuming more tryptophan-containing foods, like beets, leads to increased levels of serotonin and thus better mood. Sounds good to me!
The red color of beets comes from a pigment called Betalain. This natural pigment is a good source of boron, which is a mineral critical for the production of human sex hormones. Furthermore, beets support the health of the blood and the heart. They are anti-carcinogenic, used to treat anemia, they purify the blood and have anti-inflammatory properties. Beets are naturally sweet and also full of fiber - allowing their sugars to be released much more slowly and therefore are less likely to cause a spike in blood sugar levels. What's not to love about beets, other than how they stain my hands?
This recipe for my Roasted Beet Hummus is simple and delicious, it will make a beet lover out of any skeptic. The flavors are complex, even with a short ingredient list. I like to make several kinds of hummus to serve as part of an appetizer spread when I entertain; this is the perfect centerpiece with its vibrant eye-catching color! Give the recipe a try and let me know what you think, I hope that you will add this simple recipe to your regular routine of homemade dips & spreads.
Wishing you a relaxing weekend, full of delicious food, health & wellness.
Ingredients: (note - use organic whenever possible)
1 medium beet
1 can (14oz) chickpeas, rinsed & drained, liquid reserved
2 T tahini
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 t freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 t ground sumac
3/4 t sea salt
1 T black sesame seeds (optional)
Roast the beet. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash the beet and remove any leaves or long stems. Wrap the beet in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while still wrapped in foil. (beet can be roasted 1 day in advance, keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to proceed with the recipe)
Make the hummus. Rinse and drain a can of chickpeas, reserving the liquid. Place chickpeas, tahini, 2T chickpea liquid (also known as aquafaba), olive oil, and lemon juice into a food processor and pulse until the chickpeas start to break-down. Remove the skin from the cooled beet, chop the beet into 1-inch chunks and add to the food processor. Add the salt and sumac and continue to blend until the mixture is completely smooth. Stop and scrape-down the sides of the bowl, as necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
Remove mixture to a bowl, cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
To serve, bring hummus to room temperature and sprinkle with black sesame seeds, if desired.
Recipe yields 6 generous servings
Hummus can be made 2 days in advance of serving. Keep covered and chilled.
Serve hummus as a dip with your favorite veggies, as a sandwich spread, or with falafel.