Ah… hummus, a popular dip that you can feel good about! Addictive and so healthy. Many people mistakenly think it is also Greek, unfortunately it is not, it is a Middle Eastern recipe that exemplifies the qualities of mediterranean cuisine wonderfully and fits right in with the mediterranean diet.
While the original hummus is made with chickpeas, making it a great way to get beans in the diet, there has been a movement towards other types of hummus, although technically they are not hummus if they do not contain chickpeas, since the word hummus means chickpea in arabic. These other hummus-like dips are also tasty and interesting, made with other beans or even carrots, cucumber and edamame.
For this one hummus-like recipe, I used beets as well as tahini and walnuts, there are no chickpeas. The beets provide a sweetness to the dip, but also several antioxidants such as betaine and betalain that can protect from heart disease and have anti-inflammatory properties. Tahini and walnuts are great sources of the hard-to-get omega-3 fatty acids and of course you have the addition of olive oil with its polyphenols as well as lemon juice, garlic and cumin also rich in antioxidants. I also want to add that this particular recipe uses less olive oil than your typical hummus recipes, so that saves a few calories, if you are worried about that. The result is delicious without being heavy and tastes best after being in the refrigerator for a few hours. We literally wiped the bowl clean.
Now this is what I call a nutritional powerhouse! To make it even better, serve it with carrot sticks, cucumber rounds and some whole wheat breadsticks or crackers or my favorite mini Cretan barley rusks.
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Beet and Walnut Hummus
- 10 walnuts about 1 ½ ounces plus more for sprinkling on top
- ½ pound boiled or roasted beets
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 ½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ garlic clove minced
- 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add all the ingredients except the olive oil and parsley in a food processor. Blend well until smooth.
- Slowly add the olive oil and blend. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle with chopped walnuts and parsley. You can also drizzle some additional olive oil.
Photo by Elena Paravantes