Roasted beets are a year-round staple in our home; they’re fantastic for tossing in salads, alongside tangy feta cheese and lightly pickled red onions; as a sumptuous filling for fresh ravioli with goats cheese; incorporated into spicy veggie burgers; or, I have done here, combined with chickpeas and a few other ingredients to create a luscious take on traditional hummus. The addition of lots and lots of lemon and fresh mint here provides a zingy contrast to the sweet earthiness of the root. I always have a large bowl of hummus in the fridge and this is one of my favourites to eat with freshly baked village bread still warm from the oven.
250g good quality dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in plenty of water
1 tsp biocarbonate of soda
3 medium beetroots, washed, unpeeled and cut in half
Raphael’s Cretan extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tbsp of tahini
50g fresh mint, leaves picked
3 lemons, zested and juiced (depending how big they are)
Pinch of ground cumin
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground mixed peppercorns
Fresh mint, finely chopped, to garnish
How I make it
Place a large pan over a medium heat. Drain the soaked chickpeas, tip them into the pan and add the bicarbonate of soda (this raises the PH value of the water making the chickpeas more soluble and quicker to cook resulting in an ultra-smooth hummus). Stir around for a few minutes before covering them with plenty of water. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 20-40 minutes (depending upon their freshness) until the chickpeas are soft and pliant. Throughout this process it’s important to keep skimming off the foam that forms on top of the pan. When cooked, drain the chickpeas – being sure to retain the cooking liquor – and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, heat an oven to 200C. Place the prepared beets onto a baking tray, drizzle with a generous glug of olive oil and plenty of sea salt. Roast them for around 30 minutes until they are soft. When cooked, remove the beets from the oven and set aside to cool. Then gently slide off the skins and place into a food processor.
When they’re ready, add the cooked chickpeas, 100ml of the cooking liquor and the garlic and blitz until you achieve your preferred consistency adding more liquid you need to.
Add the remaining ingredients – just the juice of two lemons to start with – and blitz again. Taste, season to your taste, a splash of olive oil and add more lemon juice if you need to. Blitz until smooth.
When you’re ready to serve, garnish with the lemon zest and finely chopped mint leaves.
This will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to three days.
For more information about Raphael’s Mediterranean Deli products, please click this link.