Saturday, February 21, 2015

Beetroot hummus with spicy, crunchy roasted chickpeas

When I get the flu, a cold and the like, I usually am a pretty calm and patient person. I sit on the couch with my hot cup of tea and a big packet of tissues and I’m as quiet as a mouse.

As the days pass and the damn cold, flu etc. refuses to go away no matter how many glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice I have drank or how many soups I’ve eaten, well, then things change just a tiny bit.

I gradually become more and more impatient, I get cranky and a real bitch sometimes, every little thing bothers me and S needs to have nerves of steel to be able to cope with me.

Until the moment when I get noticeably better, I’m not ashamed to admit, the nagging goes on and on. In the case, however, that S is the one with the flu, then the nagging begins on day one, but that’s how it goes, doesn’t it? You have to accept the person you are with along with all of their flaws, because if you can’t handle or stand their flaws, then you won’t and can’t stand them. Because those flaws, idiosyncrasies and quirks are more evident during moments of weakness and difficult situations and of course perceivable by the people who know us, people with whom we live and share our lives, those who have seen us sick and unkempt, sad and depressed, with eyes swollen from crying, heart crushed from loss, spirit broken from failure, those who have seen us in our worst and have stood there, beside us.

Those who instead of getting upset or disappointed in us and run away from us, they run towards us and love us with greater intensity, they encourage us, make us laugh, embrace us so tightly that the warmth and sense of security brings us back to life, they lift us up not with words but with their actions, loud and clear. They endure not only us, but all that we sometimes don’t want to or can’t bear. If it’s not like that, then you are not with the right person and if you’re not willing to be like that with your partner, then you still haven’t found the right person for you.

I don’t need to search for the right person for me, I have already found him, and one mistake I never want to make is take him and all that he does for me for granted. I always try to please him in every way I can, not only because he stands by me during difficult times, but because he does so effortlessly.

One of the ways I please him is with my cooking and it shouldn’t come as a surprise because S loves good food. So when I felt a little better and I could cook something more than plain spaghetti or soup, I made this beetroot hummus that S loves. Apart from its delicious flavor we both love its color. Isn’t it fantastic?

I have been making this hummus for years yet nowhere as often as I should, because as a food blogger I always search for the next thing to make, forgetting about the recipes I love. The last couple of times I made it, I served it with spicy roasted chickpeas and it was incredibly good.

If you haven’t made spicy roasted chickpeas before then you’re missing out. Apart from being utterly delicious they are healthy, easy and quick to make and totally addictive. And of course any leftovers, you can have as a snack in front of the tv.
So do try the hummus and chickpeas this weekend!

As for all you Greeks out there, this hummus is the best side dish to serve at your Kathari Deutera (Clean/Ash Monday) table along with these:
Lagana (Greek Lenten yeasted flatbread)
Melitzanosalata (Greek Smoky Eggplant Dip)
Greek braised octopus with short pasta (and how to clean and prep octopus)
Greek octopus with vinegar, olive oil and dried oregano
Midopilafo (Greek mussel pilaf) and How to clean and prep mussels
Sautéed shrimps with tahini and garlic sauce and a sumac, cumin seed and pistachio dukkah
Greek fried calamari
And more Lenten recipes

Have a great Kathari Deutera!

Beetroot hummus with spicy, crunchy roasted chickpeas

You can use either boiled or roasted beets to make this hummus. I used boiled beetroot here, but in this recipe I had used roasted beetroot and it was amazing.

In Greece we eat roasted, salted chickpeas called stragalia (στραγάλια) as a snack, but this spicy version is the best.
You can play around with the recipe to your liking. Adding turmeric, cardamom or other spices and various dried herbs will change the flavor profile of the chickpeas. You can serve them not only with this hummus or other dips, but also on top of soups or salads.

Yield: 6-8 as an appetizer


for the beetroot hummus
4 raw beetroots (about 600 g), tops and stalks cut off
250 g cooked (boiled) chickpeas (see here how to make them), or canned chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
1 garlic clove, finely grated
4 Tbsp lemon juice
2½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1½ Tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt

A handful fresh dill leaves, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

for the roasted chickpeas
260 g cooked (boiled) chickpeas (see here how to make them), or canned chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp sweet smoked paprika (Spanish pimentón de la Vera, dulce)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp chilli powder

Pita breads, toasted, to serve

Special equipment: large food processor, baking tray, baking paper


for the beetroot hummus
Scrub the beetroots under cold running water with your hands and place them in a medium-sized pan. Fill the pan with cold water to cover the beetroots completely and put on the lid. Place pan on high heat and bring to the boil. Boil the beetroots for about 40 minutes or until they become tender and you can easily insert a knife into them.

Drain them in a colander, leave them to cool and when they are cool enough to handle, peel them with a knife carefully. You don’t want to take too much of the beetroot away, only the skin which is pretty easy to peel off as it comes away very easily.
Cut the beetroots into pieces and leave them to cool completely.

Place them along with the rest of the ingredients for the hummus into the bowl of your food processor and process until smooth. Give it a taste and add more salt if needed. Also check if it needs more olive oil or lemon, adjusting to have the desired flavor and consistency. It shouldn’t be runny nor stodgy and it should have a tang, not be too sweet.

Empty it in a bowl.
You can keep it in the refrigerator, in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap for up to 5 days. Take it out of the fridge half an hour before serving and stir it very well with a spoon or spatula to make it creamy and to fluff it up.

for the roasted chickpeas
Preheat your oven to 200ºC.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Take your cooked chickpeas and rub them with paper towels to remove the skins. If you’re using canned chickpeas, dry them first. Discard the skins and transfer the chickpeas to a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss to mix well.
Transfer chickpeas to the baking paper-lined baking tray and spread so they are in one layer.

Place them in the middle rack of the preheated oven and roast them for 35-40 minutes, until they are golden brown and crunchy, checking them every 10 minutes to make sure they don’t burn and tossing them a bit.

If you try them straight out of the oven they may seem not crunchy enough, but once they cool they will crisp up a lot! Keep that in mind and don’t be tempted to roast them for longer or they will be rock hard when cool and you won’t be able to eat them.

You can keep them in an airtight container for weeks.

serve the hummus
Place the hummus in a large bowl and drizzle with some olive oil.
Mix some of the roasted chickpeas with some finely chopped dill leaves and scatter over the top.
Serve with pita bread cut into triangle shapes and enjoy!


  1. Aaah this looks too good not to make, especially since I LOVE chickpeas… I could eat them every day. :D

    1. Thank you Senja. It is delicious, you must try it :)

  2. Both you and S. are so lucky, knowing your love, and all one another's idiosyncrasies. And you both get to have this hummus, which I just saw for the first time on another blog. Yours is richer in flavors and I love the roasted chickpeas on top. Tomorrow. I will send a photo. xo, David

    1. Thank you Daivd :)
      Oh I hope you enjoy it! I'll be waiting for your photo!

  3. It will end up being later this week - I made too much food yesterday and need to use it up before adding anything new! Mark's sister and a friend are coming for the week, and his sister is a big hummus fan. I want to surprise her with this version! Photo will definitely come soon!

  4. How funny, this is the last thing I posted a little over a week ago (I think David was talking about my blog) ... I had never made it and really liked it! I used a very quick and basic recipe, so I am excited to try it with your ingredients... also, I love roasted chickpeas and think they would be a great addition, especially if serving to guests.

    1. I hope you like my version too! Roasted chickpeas are sooo delicious, you have to give them a try!

  5. This is beautiful! I just got a new food processor, and I love beets, so I'll have to try this out next time I go to the food processor.

    I read somewhere that the easiest way to peel beets is just to rub them down with a paper towel after you cook them. The texture on the paper towel removes the skin without taking away the rest of the root. Have you tried it?

    1. Hi there. Thanks!
      No, I've never tried that but it sounds clever!