Escalate hummus to a vibrant, earthy treat with the addition of beautiful beetroot.
Hummus is one of my all-time favourite foods. It is a simple Middle Eastern staple that is both delicious and super-nutritious at the same time. A winning combination!
Made from chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice and tahini (sesame seed paste), hummus (or houmous), has become increasingly popular in the last decade with tubs available at most supermarkets, corner shops and delis.
The good stuff
Besides being absolutely delicious, hummus is a popular ‘go-to’ food for nutritionists.
Here are five reasons why hummus should be a fridge staple.
- Hummus is high in fibre. Chickpeas are an excellent source of dietary fibre. Most western diets do not include good levels of fibre which is necessary to keep your cholesterol in check, balance your blood sugar levels and keep your hormones in harmony.
- Hummus is high in protein. Chickpeas are rich in the amino acids lycine, isoleucine and tryptophan. This makes hummus an excellent source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Amino acids are the building blocks of our cells, so it is important to include a variety of sources in our diets.
- Hummus keeps your blood sugar balanced. In order to avoid peaks and troughs in your blood sugar levels, I always recommend that snacks should contain an element of fibre, protein or fat (as these slow down the release of sugar into your blood stream). Swapping sugary snacks for wholesome alternatives like hummus will help you maintain your energy levels and help you manage sugar cravings.
- Hummus is rich in phytonutrients. Garlic, chickpeas and the sesames in tahini are a holy trinity of superfoods. Your heart and liver will be jumping for joy. Garlic’s medicinal benefits have been recognised for decades. Its compounds have been shown to decrease the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver, help with inflammation and enhance the immune system. Sesame seeds and chickpeas are rich in a group of phytonutrients called lignans. Lignans have mild oestrogenic properties, which is why lignan-containing foods are recommended for women moving into menopause or for those with hormonal imbalances. Lignans have also been associated with reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Hummus is convenient. Hummus is portable, so makes a great snack on the go. A tub in the workplace fridge will last a few days and, paired with an oatcake, carrot sticks or some rye bread will provide a quick, easy, filling snack.
This version of hummus incorporates the marvellous superfood beetroot. Its vivid colour is a tell-tale sign that this vegetable is packed full of health-promoting nutrients.
Besides gifting this hummus dip with its awesome colour, beetroot also lends a slightly earthy taste to the recipe, as well as additional fibre and antioxidants.
Studies have shown that beetroot may be helpful in lowering blood pressure. Furthermore, the prominent phytonutrient in beetroot, betaine, protects cells and enzymes from environmental stress and fights inflammation. Beetroot also supports Phase 2 liver detoxification.
So, while hummus is excellent in its traditional form, adding beetroot takes it to another level.
Enjoy this delicious dip with a virtuous smile on your face. It is also a great way to get children’s lunchboxes healthy and bright.
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 250g cooked beetroot (about 2 medium beetroot), peeled and cubed
- 2 tbs tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 250ml water (approx.)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Put the chickpeas, beetroot, tahini, lemon juice, cumin and half the water into a food processor and blend, scraping down the sides with a spatula a few times.
- Continue blending and slowly add the rest of the water until you have the consistency you desire – you may need to add a bit more.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and give it a final whizz.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Serve as a snack with oatcakes or vegetable batons, on rye toast for breakfast or lunch with avocado and pumpkin seeds or inside a pita with salads. This beetroot hummus pairs well with horseradish, mint and halloumi (not necessarily all together!).