Inspired by the root to fruit concept, this elegant starter combines a beetroot walnut hummus using the earthy sweet roots and a tangy relish of pickled stems.
I’ve been making this simple beetroot walnut hummus for years, but recently decided to fancy it up a bit as the base of this starter dish. Since hummus actually means chickpea and there are no chickpeas in this dish, perhaps I’m not even allowed to call this a hummus? Oops!
The recipe for the hummus (sorry, dip, just doesn’t sound as good), is in my handy Iphone app and works just as well with shop bought pre-cooked beetroot as it does with freshly cooked. It’s more flavourful with freshly cooked beetroot, but I do realise sometimes cooking beetroot from fresh takes rather a long time (though you can also use the slow cooker for a fuss free approach). However in order to make this whole dish you will need to buy beetroot with the stems attached, so do seek them out.
This starter dish was invented in the stretching the City yoga retreat kitchen back in November, when I realised it seemed such a waste to throw the beetroot stems away. I headed to google for some inspiration (of course) and pickling them seemed like the most innovative idea. A very simple way of pickling something is to add vinegar and some sweetener, though I love the idea of trying to do a lacto-fermentation with these in future. It was actually a rather brilliant idea not just to cut food waste. but also because the sharpness of the pickling vinegar really cuts through the sweet beetroot of the hummus. It’s like it was meant to be.
I didn’t make use of the beetroot leaves as well, since they weren’t very sizeable on this ocassion. If you happen to get wafting long leaves still attached, then they are fantastic sautéed with some butter / oil and garlic. I’ve even used them in a frittata before.
Use the chicory leaf to scoop up your hummus, or be a little more refined and use a knife and fork. It’s not all about appearance, but I think this dish is a real looker.
I’ve served it up 3 times now on retreat and am not sure I will ever tire of it. So I’m thrilled I get to share it with you today. Even more thrilled that I found time to shoot this dish whilst on retreat last weekend, making the most of the beautiful stone floor in the barn, and saving me the time of recreating it for a photo shoot in my home studio (actually my living room).
You will need to head to my app for the beetroot & walnut hummus!
- Stems from a 500g beetroot (around 50g of stems)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup
- pinch salt
- 1 x quantity of beetroot & walnut hummus from the Natural Kitchen Adventures App (uses 500g beetroot)
- 18 chicory leaves (from approx 2-3 heads of pink chicory/endive)
- A handful of pea shoots (or watercress, rocket etc)
- Wash and trim the beetroot stems, and cut into ½ cm pieces. Place in a bowl and pour over the vinegars, syrup and salt. Stir, cover and leave to 'pickle' for at least 1hr.
- Meanwhile make up the hummus as per the recipe.
- When ready to plate up spoon a dollop of the hummus across a plate, and stick in 3 chicory leaves, sprinkle over a couple of teaspoons of the pickled stems with a little of the pickling liquid, then top with a handful of greens such as peashoots, watercress or rocket.
Inspired by using the whole beetroot in a recipe? Head to Mamta’s Kitchen for a curry which uses the leaves and stalks. To Veggie Deserts for a callaloo using it all, or to Little Sunny Kitchen and Supergolden Bakes for a Borscht you can garnish with beet greens. Alternatively try this beetroot and white bean dip by Celery and Cupcakes and add the pickled stalks as I have. 6