food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

beetroot & cashew hummusI probably really shouldn’t call this a hummus, but dip just sounded so tentative, so boring. And this faux hummus is anything but boring. How can anything this colour be boring? I ask you. It would be boring if I blathered on about how ridiculously healthy it is (although it is). Or how well it goes with any dipper, from lowly tortilla chips to freshly cut market veggies (it does). But it is not at all boring to hide in the kitchen and surreptitiously eat a saved back bit with a teaspoon, while simultaneously plating up a meal for 6 people (I have). Never-mind the telltale purple moustache. Hides the real one.

For this hummus-alike the legume element is replaced – and the tahini too – with mild but creamy soaked cashews. And its Middle Eastern credentials are amped up with a little pomegranate molasses, cumin and cinnamon. I have served this at numerous gatherings and at my cancer nutrition workshops, and it tends to steal the show from even  homemade chickpea hummus. I guess this is because hummus is a bit ubiquitous, although we all love it. And, perhaps folk are also intrigued as to what the heck it is, not really knowing whether it will be spicy or not (not). In fact, the beetroot and the pomegranate molasses make it surprisingly sweet and tangy for a supposed savoury offering. I usually offer both dips (argh, that word!) for choice and contrast.

This bright purple mess, creamed to smithereens in a hefty blender or food processor, won’t necessarily replace hummus but I think it offers something a little different to many of the perfectly good and healthy bean-based dips out there. You be the judge. And by all means make it more of a hummus by using cooked chickpeas instead of the cashews, but the spices really do pop out nicely in this version, and the cashews are just so lush. Try and toast raw ones in the oven to elevate this further, but even using salted roasted ones are fine, especially as the soaking removes most of the ‘offending’ salt. I tend to buy massive bags of raw ones (as well as almonds) from either a Middle Eastern or Indian supermarket, but I have procured them from Tesco.

As for the beetroot, I box and cox between roasting foil-wrapped raw beetroot in their skins and using good old vacuum-packed cooked ones. I must admit the roasted or self-boiled ones give the best flavour and most intense colour, but the vacuum stuff is absolutely fine – still nutritious and makes this super quick to prepare. I actually used vacuum beetroot for these photos (I was in a hurry), but if you use ‘homemade’ the colour will possibly justify the time spent peeling the little blighters. Rubber gloves advised! Just don’t answer the door while making this as your caller may feel compelled to phone the police. Now that’s not boring.

beetroot & cashew hummusBeetroot and Cashew ‘Hummus’

This Week in 2011: Elderflower and Goji Berry Cordial

This Week in 2012: Spa Salad with Avocado-Chipotle Dressing

Track of the Week: Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa – “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” from Seesaw. Fab.u.lous

This rather different take on hummus is a pretty alternative, or accompaniment, to ‘normal’ hummus. Equally at home with raw vegetables, flatbreads and crackers, or even as a sandwich filling with added salady bits, this striking spread/dip is easy to make and deeply nutritious. Make it super-quick by using vacuum-packed beetroot, or add an extra 45 minutes for roasting time to get a deeper flavour and colour.

If you don’t have pomegranate molasses, use a tablespoon of pure pomegranate juice with a little lemon added, and chuck in a couple of tablespoons more cashews to account for the extra liquid. But, larger supermarkets and Middle Eastern shops will probably stock pomegranate molasses, and it is certainly not going to be a waste if you seek it out.

350g (6 small/3medium) beetroot – roasted or boiled in their skins OR vacuum-sealed

100g (3/4 c) raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes or so then drained

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

2 tsp pomegranate molasses

1 tsp cumin seeds, dry toasted and ground in pestle and mortar

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Salt, to tase

Water or olive oil as needed to blend

Lemon juice, to taste – if liked (in case you find the beets too sweet)

Peel the cooked beetroot and roughly chop. Add everything to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, adding a little water or olive oil as required. Taste and adjust flavour – maybe a little lemon or more salt.

Serve as a dip with crunchy fresh vegetables, flatbreads, crackers, pitta chips; in wraps and sandwiches with goats’ cheese or feta plus salad leaves; as part of a breakfast mezze with labneh, vegetables, bread and hard-boiled eggs. Or just dig in with a spoon!

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer with accompaniments.

Cashew Nutrition Notes and Uses: I love a quick-out-the-door breakfast of cashew butter and banana on wholegrain toast (super-filling and tasty), but I also make cream out of it by whizzing some up with a little water, a tiny pinch of salt and a tiny dribble of lemon. Just blend, blend, blend and you will get an incredible cream doppelganger that is tremendously good for you too –unlike real dairy cream. It is also wonderful ground up into meal and used in baking as a kind of flour substitute, just like almonds. Nutritionally the fat content is something to consider but it is lower fat than most nuts (12 grams per 1 oz serving), with three-quarters of it as unsaturated fatty acids, and three-quarters of the fatty acids being extremely beneficial, triglyceride-zapping oleic acid, the same monounsaturated fat as in olive oil. In fact, not only is it good for hearts but it may lower risk of diabetes, and the heart risk associated with being diabetic. Cashews are also surprisingly high in antioxidants, compounds more associated with fruits and vegetables. Just don’t buy them roasted and salted if you want to keep them as a super-healthy snack or meal ingredient.

For beetroot, please see this earlier post (Beetroot Zinger Juice).soaking cashewsbeetroot and cashew hummusbeetroot and cashew hummus

57 thoughts on “Beetroot and Cashew ‘Hummus’

  1. lauren bernick says:

    Gorgeous photos!

  2. chowido says:

    Cannot wait to try this!

  3. Yummy Kellie, another fabulous recipe!

  4. emuseats says:

    Looks beautiful! Beets make everything better~!

    1. Well said. Beets are fabulous and don’t get the attention they deserve.

      1. emuseats says:

        I agree! I especially enjoy beet in cake…

      2. Do you have a special recipe that you use? I have a choc beetroot cake here (quite healthy, considering) but always on look for new ways with this vegetable

      3. emuseats says:

        I actually don’t! I’ve fiddled with many recipes, but haven’t gotten one to exactly how I like it yet. A friend’s mom made one once though, and it was the best I’ve ever had, but I have not acquired the recipe yet! I shall have to try yours out.

  5. Beautiful colours in the photos. Anything with beetroot is a winner for me. The homegrown ones are still very small, just sproutlings really, but this is a great idea for when we have loads to use🙂

    1. If it appeals before then there are some nice Italian ones coming into the shops. But I like the idea of you making this creamy dip with home grown. I wouldn’t be that patient though!

  6. Nick says:

    I keep getting mixed messages re cashews/nuts. After surgery, should I indulge in them or not? I’m worried about cholesterol/fat.

    1. Hi Nick. You don’t mention what kind of surgery you have had but if it is a surgery outwith the bowel/stomach, nuts are a fantastic part of the diet. Even if the bowel is involved most people are eventually able to consume them: the bowel is tricky post-surgery and fibre has to be gradually introduced. If this was your type of surgery you should have been given advice from the hospital. Otherwise, nuts have (good) fat but no cholesterol. Nuts actively help to lower bad cholesterol so are useful for anyone with this worry.

  7. So beautiful! What else could I use the pomegranate molasses for? Is it a sweetener?

    1. You may know it as pomegranate syrup rather than as molasses. It isn’t used as a sweetener as such – the flavour is far too assertive – but it is has a unique sweet-sour taste. I actually recommend it for on chemo as a syrup to dilute with lots of sparkling or plain water: it is often something that people can taste when tastebuds are ‘altered’.

      Off treatment it is used widely in north African and middle eastern cooking. I will post another great dip soon using pomegranate molasses. Meantime try it with canola oil, cinnamon, cumin and lemon juice for a great salad dressing. I also use this dressing in grain salads too. I have used it in a few food to glow recipes. After work I will try and remember to update this comment (it is before 6 am now and I’m getting ready for work!).

      1. Update: if you type in ‘pomegranate molasses’ to the search bar on the homepage four recipes pop up, including this one. I thought I had more, but I guess I just haven’t blogged them all yet😉

  8. babiberger says:

    Love this! Definitely will try it soon!😉

  9. alisitaliankitchen says:

    This looks absolutely delicious! I will have to use my beets from my new organic garden I have been working on(For three years!) and enjoy! Great flavors!

    1. I am honoured that you may use your own carefully nurtured beets for this recipe

  10. Marie says:

    Looks fantastic guess what I will be eating for lunch.

    1. Thanks for that. I hope you enjoy it! It is SO pretty in a bowl surrounded by colourful vegetables

  11. Toludc says:

    I love the look of this! yum

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I love the look and sound of this and I can’t wait to try it! Yum!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth, and also thank you for the kind Twitter big up (again!) of the lentils, eggs and paprika yogurt breakfast😀 I know people make some of these recipes and it is always super when they let me (and others) know.

  13. This looks really good, nice styling on the food – photos are great.

    1. Thank you. Styling is not my thing as I am usually hurrying up to take photos and then get to work with the food!

  14. Maria Tadic says:

    How could you not like this?! It’s such a beautiful color. I bet the pomegranate molasses makes the flavor really pop in this dish – it’s so tangy and delicious!

    1. I think if you find anything more naturally pink then I will eat my hat. Metaphorically speaking. So glad it appeals to you

  15. narf77 says:

    This recipe is wonderful BUT the true gem in this post is that link to “Track of the Week: Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa – “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” from Seesaw. Fab.u.lous”…Holy CRAP! I hadn’t ever heard of either of them and now I NEED this C.D. today. I need it like crack cocaine. Cheers for this link, maybe I can make and eat the hummus while I am listening to this amazing duo that have to be one of the best sounds to have come out of the last 10 years.

    1. Wow! I think I might have to send your comment to their FB page so they can use it in their advertising! Seriously, it is an amazing track, and I don’t use this word lightly. It sounds like it has really struck a chord with you. But don’t sell everything to buy their back catalogue! Just make a big batch of lurid pink hummus and crank up the volume to this one! I love your two comments – made my day! Which is saying something cos it’s already been a crackin’ day😀

      1. narf77 says:

        You made MY day. They absolutely rock and Steve is a guitarist and hadn’t even heard of Jon Bonamassa and really loved that track when he woke up and heard it this morning. Your hummus is amazing as well by the way🙂. I was looking for something to do with this springs beetroot crop and now I know exactly what to do (aside from pickling)🙂. Beth Hart is an amazing singer…sort of Fiona Apple on steroids and I can’t remember when I last heard any female singer that made me want to hock the dogs (and the kids if I can round them up…) and go out and buy every single C.D. in her back catalogue. I think it might be quite an extensive catalogue by the look of what I was able to find on YouTube. I really can’t believe that I have never heard of her…We Aussies have been severely deprived I tell you!

  16. MUST MAKE THIS!!! Seriously, I am in love w/ the ingredients…the color…everything! One of my favorite recipes of my own, us my pistachio pesto harissa, which is a “dip” of sorts made with nuts, so I imagine this is fabulous with the cashews and other yummy stuff. LOVE the photo w/ the wooden board, the big bowl of dip, and all the things to dip in~Brilliant!

    1. Your harissa sounds gorgeous. I will definitely look it up. You know I love spicy recipes too! PS the ‘board’ is a cracked old table rescued some years ago from a skip

  17. I love beetroot and this looks like another fabulous recipe, Kellie. I’ve never see vacuum-packed beetroot in stores here in Australia.

    1. Gosh, I find that odd, Australia being known for its national love of beetroot! Must be that you have it fresh year-round. It is worth seeking out though as it makes dips like this such a breeze. But avoid the vinegar stuff like the plague! That’s probably what gave beets a bad rep here in the UK

  18. oh my word this looks so divine. I love beetroot, so much so that half the time it’s eaten straight from the packet before I get around to doing anything with it. As you said you’re always looking for new recipes you might like this post http://nipitinthebud.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/5-ways-with-a-ton-of-beetroot/

    1. Thanks. I like the specialty marinated packs of beets straight from the pack on a salad, but otherwise I do think it benefits from additional flavours and ingredients if form a packet. But the raw stuff, just grated is lovely and sweet! Cheers for the link too. The title sounds like you must grow it yourself😉

  19. This looks seriously good – and such a great idea. Thanks so much for sharing it🙂

  20. Sally says:

    I’ve made a version of this (with walnuts or almonds) and it truly is divine. You are drawn to colourful foods aren’t you!

    1. Yes I am. In my cancer nutrition classes we emphasise the importance of colourful, seasonal plant foods as they contain potentially useful ‘anti-cancer’ compounds. I consider it my job to try and present a plant-based diet as best I can, and persuade participants to have a go themselves. This is a bit harder come winter time!

  21. gardenjon says:

    I’m so glad I just found this! I’ve been obsessed with beets for the last half-year but it never crossed my mind to make a beetroot hummus. Thank you, I’m adding this to my list of things to do with beets and will make this tonight I think🙂

    1. Fantastic, and welcome to food to glow! Please let me know if you make it and how you liked it, including any gardenjon tweaks. I wish I was growing beetroot but I *am* enjoying my rainbow chard😀

  22. johncpicardi says:

    I am making this at the crack of dawn, it looks AMAZING! Thanks for sharing! –You have a new fan…photos are fantastic!

    1. Wow! Thanks so much! You can have it for breakfast then😉 Please let me know how it is for you

  23. johncpicardi says:

    I didn’t make it yet! People had other plans for me as usual (been living with my parents since I got back from my six month adventure in Italy and rented out my home. They keep me jumping) Anyway, going to making this dip this weekend for sure, I will post photos of it, I can’t wait!

    1. Awesome. Can’t wait to see the pix. I made a huge batch for two groups at the place where I work yesterday and used roasted beets. If you have time, do that. The natural sweetness is amazing, as is the colour. I popped it on Instagram (food_to_glow) if you want to compare the colour.

      1. johncpicardi says:

        Okay will do, I am excited to do it! John

  24. johncpicardi says:

    Well, I made it and it was a major success! I blogged and gave you credit for it, I did however, changed it around a bit… Thank you so much, it was WAY better than I expected it to be… My sister flipped over it! Stay in touch, John

  25. petra08 says:

    I love the color! And has I am having a glut of beets in my veg patch I must try this! Thanks for sharing🙂

    1. Thanks Petra. I make it quite a lot these days for the same reason! It’s really nice as a contrast with hummus or a sharp tasting main dish, like a shawarma.

  26. We have been addicted to beetroot hummus for a while and looks twist looks amazing! Will try soon!

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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