Cooking for Healing: Beet Hummus
Eating healthily when one has cancer is vital as the body needs all the help it can to fight the cancer, and vegetables, especially dark coloured veggies are excellent sources of nutrition.
There’s a major misconception though that eating healthy is boring – and that couldn’t be further from the truth!
A nutritious diet does not need to be repetitive or bland. In fact, when you put the right ingredients to use, a nutritious diet can be flavourful and enjoyable, and this beet hummus is a delicious example.
While this recipe calls for the beet root (that’s the red-purple taproot portion, originally it was the beet greens that were consumed. The sweet red root that most of us visualise as a beet wasn’t cultivated until ancient Rome. By the 19th century, the natural sweetness of beets came to be appreciated.
Beets are nutritional powerhouses; like other dark coloured vegetables, beets deliver phytonutrients which are essential for a strong, healthy body. While beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, and we recommend minimising sugar in your diet, most people can safely enjoy beets a few times a week.
Beets are exceptional in fighting inflammation because they are rich in betaine, a nutrient that protects cells, proteins and enzymes from environmental stress and prevents a variety of chronic diseases. The very nutrients that give beets their remarkable colour may also aid in cancer prevention.
Also high in immune system-boosting vitamin C and fibre, beets deliver essential minerals like potassium and manganese. Furthermore, beets are great for detoxification support, helping your body excrete toxins and purify both the blood and the liver.
This recipe pairs beets with protein-rich and fibre-rich chickpeas for a superfood dish. Just one bite and you won’t consider healthy eating to be boring eating ever again. Serve this hummus alongside fresh raw vegetable crudite. Broccoli and cauliflower, sliced peppers or chopped carrots are excellent choices. Expand your food horisons with this beet hummus!
Serves 4-6 as a snack
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 4 tbsp tahini
- 1 medium beet
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1⁄2 tsp salt
- 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup water (or less, adapt to desired consistency)
- Place rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 375° F.
- Rinse beets and trim off the leafy tops — but don’t discard! Beet greens make a great addition to a salad. Wrap each beet loosely in aluminum foil and place in the oven.
- Roast until tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.
- Remove from the oven and take off foil; set aside to cool.
- When cool enough to handle, slice off leaf end. Using your thumbs, push the beet skin off. If it doesn’t easily strip away, return the beet to the oven for further roasting.
- Roughly chop beet.
- Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor; add water (or the juice from the chickpeas) to thin the hummus to your desired consistency.
- Chill for 30 minutes, then enjoy.
If you do not have an oven, you can also cook the beet by steaming in a vegetable steamer or boiling until tender but not mushy, (about 15 minutes) – let cool, skin, chop and blend with other ingredients until smooth, chill and enjoy!