Befriend the Beet Hummus

I've been traveling this month (a three week road trip!), so I'm all about the hummus life right now. Hummus is one of the best travel foods I know of - it's readily available in most stores, it's filling, it's tasty, and it's nutritious. WIN!! 

When I get home, I'll be making up a big batch of this beet hummus with some locally grown organic beets. (Don't you just LOVE farmer's markets in the fall???) I like that this recipe celebrates the beauty and vibrant goodness of beets, while still maintaining a balanced flavor. 

And that's what "befriend the beet" is all about! All too often, earthy beets aren't properly balanced in dishes, and thus people say "I don't like beets." I don't like them either, when they're not done right (which is most of the time, in my opinion). Beets need to be prepared so that they're not only healthy, but also pleasing to our palate. For example, the lemon in this hummus tempers the earthy sweetness of the beet. Plus, there's not so much beet that it overtakes the flavor. So, what you're left with is a beautiful looking hummus that also tastes great and is bursting with nutrients like iron and beta carotene. 

Give this a try and let me know what you think! : )

Bursting with nutrients, this pretty dip is perfect for the holidays. For added prettiness, sprinkle a little cilantro, basil, or parsley over the top. Sesame seeds can also be added as a garnish.

One small beet, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks (one scant cup of beet cubes)
15 oz. can garbanzo beans (drain and reserve ½ cup of the liquid)
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
¼ cup raw tahini
1 tablespoon oil (sunflower, olive, or safflower)
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
½ teaspoon sea salt

1. Preheat your oven to 400 F. Spray a small pan with oil, and place the beet cubes on the pan. Spray lightly with oil and bake until very tender (this will take at least 20 - 30 minutes).

2. Place the roasted beet cubes in a blender or food processor and add the remaining ingredients (including the ½ cup of reserved bean liquid). Blend until the mixture is totally smooth and looks like pink perfection. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week. Serve with crackers or tortilla crisps.

Serves about 6; GF/SF/Blue (according to the health guidelines in my cookbooks)