Beets are not an Abomination

Oh CSA, you give me beets.  I struggle with the beets.  I don’t love them roasted–too sweet.  I’ve julienned them and put them (raw) in cole slaw–not bad.  I’ve sliced them wafer thin and put them in smoothies– not bad, especially with pineapple and orange juice.  I’ve made ice cream–too “earthy”, as my adventurous and healthy-eating niece and not-so-healthy-eating brother put it.

The 1st year, I just pickled them.  I love everything about quick pickling:  the vinegar, the mustard seeds, the peppercorns, the salt…mostly the salt.  But salt is the enemy, delicious as it is, so I have lots of recipes set aside to handle beets.  Red velvet cake stands out as the favorite, but, again, not the healthiest option (I’m not saying I won’t, but I’m not making cake without an occasion, because if it’s here, I’ll eat it). I’ve seen several recipes lately for beet hummus, and this one made it to my Cuisinart this week.

Beet Hummus


1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 pound beets, cooked and peeled*
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1/4 cup olive oil

Kimchi and chopped Italian parsley (optional)


  1. In a food processor combine cannellini beans, beets, tahini, lemon juice, horseradish, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Cover; process until nearly smooth. With the motor running, add oil in a thin, steady stream through the feed tube, processing until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover; chill until serving time. Drizzle with additional olive oil. Top with kimchi and parsley, if desired.

*To cook beets: Trim and scrub beets; cut each in half. In a medium saucepan bring water to boiling; add beets. Reduce heat; cook, covered, 40 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain and cool. Scrape peel from beets.

I boiled the beets as directed here, cutting the largest ones in quarters so they were all approximately the same size.  After draining them and giving them a little time to cool, I was amazed at how the skins practically fell off!  I’ve previously roasted beets by wrapping them in foil (as most recipes direct). The skins are supposed to rub right off, but I’ve never had that kind of luck.  I usually handle my beets with a peeler before any kind of cooking (wear gloves or wash your hands IMMEDIATELY to avoid staying pink for days).  I am now a beet-boiling convert.

I love to make hummus from scratch–my favorite recipe is in a bread machine cookbook AKA my bread bible.  That sucker is stained and falling apart from 20 years of use.  The author suggests running your garlic cloves through the processor first so it doesn’t avoid the blades when you add the chunkier ingredients, so that’s how I started here.  Horseradish– one of those things we always have in multiple jars in the fridge and pantry– nowhere to be found. Horseradish mustard it is!  I didn’t measure my olive oil– I just poured until the hummus was the consistency I wanted.


I didn’t bother with the kimchi or the parsley garnish.  I’m sure it’s great– I love both– but I don’t need the frills.  Verdict: This hummus is delicious!  I don’t think it’s beet-forward.  It is lemony and sweet, but not in an off-putting, weird dessert-y way.  I loved the tang from the horseradish mustard; the garlic was subtle and the dish was very creamy.  If you eat this hummus with veggies instead of pita chips (my vehicle of choice) or crackers, the health benefits are high.  I will definitely make this again– that red velvet beet cake may never have a chance.




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