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Beetroot and Chickpea Dip

by . Featured in COOK EAT REPEAT
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Introduction

While I don’t go in for starters, even if I have friends to dinner, I am - as I mention often - a dips-with-drinks devotee. This is a new addition to my stable of regulars: the beetroot not only turns the chickpeas a quite ridiculously uplifting pink, but its earthy sweetness is smokily tempered by the tahini and, furthermore, it helps create a smooth and soft texture, all the better for dipping a baby carrot, a radish or, indeed, a tortilla chip in. And I generally bring it out as a pair with the Coriander and Jalapeño Salsa: I can never resist the combination of pink and green, but more, the sharpness of the green sauce is perfect with the luscious creaminess and depth of the pink one.

I tend to use the Spanish chickpeas (along with the gloop they sit in) that come in jars, though they are admittedly a lot more expensive than canned, but have such a soft and velvety texture. All too often canned chick peas have a resistant pebbliness which can never quite be blitzed smooth. Still, by far the most economical option if you want soft and creamy chick peas is to soak and cook 300g/ 1⅔ cups dried ones, though remember to keep some of their cooking liquid to add while blending. (If you have a slow cooker or an Instant Pot, you wouldn’t even need to soak them.)

I do have to insist you use a beetroot you’ve roasted yourself which, while easy enough, does take more time than one ever imagines; I cannot, I’m afraid, recommend ready-cooked beetroot here. I must also recommend you get the more fluid and less claggy proper Middle Eastern tahini.

But this is not just a dip: when I first started making it, I did think of it as Beetroot Hummus, but then I decided that perhaps it was too mutant a version to be worthy of the name. But still, I eat it, too, just as I would a traditional hummus; it is very fine spread thickly on bread or toast, topped with long skinny wedges of avocado, spritzed with lime and sprinkled with sea salt and those fairy fronds of dill. And, splodged vibrantly on a plate of dry-fried halloumi slices sitting saltily on peppery rocket/arugula, sharply dressed and dotted with capers, chopped fresh mint scattered over the lot, it makes for a fabulous light lunch or supper. However you eat it, I can promise it will brighten up any day!

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

While I don’t go in for starters, even if I have friends to dinner, I am - as I mention often - a dips-with-drinks devotee. This is a new addition to my stable of regulars: the beetroot not only turns the chickpeas a quite ridiculously uplifting pink, but its earthy sweetness is smokily tempered by the tahini and, furthermore, it helps create a smooth and soft texture, all the better for dipping a baby carrot, a radish or, indeed, a tortilla chip in. And I generally bring it out as a pair with the Coriander and Jalapeño Salsa: I can never resist the combination of pink and green, but more, the sharpness of the green sauce is perfect with the luscious creaminess and depth of the pink one.

I tend to use the Spanish chickpeas (along with the gloop they sit in) that come in jars, though they are admittedly a lot more expensive than canned, but have such a soft and velvety texture. All too often canned chick peas have a resistant pebbliness which can never quite be blitzed smooth. Still, by far the most economical option if you want soft and creamy chick peas is to soak and cook 300g/ 1⅔ cups dried ones, though remember to keep some of their cooking liquid to add while blending. (If you have a slow cooker or an Instant Pot, you wouldn’t even need to soak them.)

I do have to insist you use a beetroot you’ve roasted yourself which, while easy enough, does take more time than one ever imagines; I cannot, I’m afraid, recommend ready-cooked beetroot here. I must also recommend you get the more fluid and less claggy proper Middle Eastern tahini.

But this is not just a dip: when I first started making it, I did think of it as Beetroot Hummus, but then I decided that perhaps it was too mutant a version to be worthy of the name. But still, I eat it, too, just as I would a traditional hummus; it is very fine spread thickly on bread or toast, topped with long skinny wedges of avocado, spritzed with lime and sprinkled with sea salt and those fairy fronds of dill. And, splodged vibrantly on a plate of dry-fried halloumi slices sitting saltily on peppery rocket/arugula, sharply dressed and dotted with capers, chopped fresh mint scattered over the lot, it makes for a fabulous light lunch or supper. However you eat it, I can promise it will brighten up any day!

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Beetroot and Chickpea Dip
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Makes: approx. 900ml / 3¾ cups

Metric Cups
  • 225 - 250 grams raw beetroot
  • 1 x 700 grams jar of chickpeas (or 300g / 1⅔ cups dried chickpeas, soaked, cooked and cooled)
  • 2 - 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes (or 1 teaspoon fine sea salt)
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons tahini
  • 2 - 3 lemons
  • a few ice cubes (for blending)
  • approx. 8 ounces raw beets
  • 1 x 25 ounces jar of garbanzo beans (or 300g / 1⅔ cups dried chickpeas, soaked, cooked and cooled)
  • 2 - 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon fine sea salt)
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 - 3 lemons
  • a few ice cubes (for blending)

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/425°F. Cut the stems and tails off the beetroot, and wrap each beetroot loosely in foil, seal the parcels tightly, and roast for about 2 hours, though be prepared to go up to 3. Open up and pierce each beetroot with a normal eating knife to make sure it's tender. When you're satisfied your beetroot is cooked, unwrap the parcels and leave to cool.
  2. Peel and break apart the beetroot, and drop the pieces into the bowl of a food processor. Tip the chickpeas out of the jar, helping them loose with a bendy spatula or spoon, making sure you get all the gloop, too; it's this that will help make it all so gorgeously creamy. If using chickpeas you've cooked yourself, add a couple of tablespoons of the liquid they cooked in, or more as needed.
  3. Press on 2 of the garlic cloves with the flat of a knife to bruise them and release the skin. Peel it away and add the cloves to the processor. Add the salt, tahini and 4 tablespoons (60ml) of lemon juice. Process patiently - it will take a while to combine - and once it's well mixed, scrape down the bowl, add a couple of ice cubes, and blitz again until gorgeously smooth and radiantly, improbably pink. You can add another ice cube or two and go on for longer if you feel it needs it, until you have a light, super-smooth texture.
  4. Taste to see if you would like any more lemon juice, garlic or salt, adding as necessary and blitzing again, then scrape into a serving bowl.
  1. Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/425°F. Cut the stems and tails off the beetroot, and wrap each beetroot loosely in foil, seal the parcels tightly, and roast for about 2 hours, though be prepared to go up to 3. Open up and pierce each beetroot with a normal eating knife to make sure it's tender. When you're satisfied your beetroot is cooked, unwrap the parcels and leave to cool.
  2. Peel and break apart the beetroot, and drop the pieces into the bowl of a food processor. Tip the garbanzo beans out of the jar, helping them loose with a bendy spatula or spoon, making sure you get all the gloop, too; it's this that will help make it all so gorgeously creamy. If using garbanzo beans you've cooked yourself, add a couple of tablespoons of the liquid they cooked in, or more as needed.
  3. Press on 2 of the garlic cloves with the flat of a knife to bruise them and release the skin. Peel it away and add the cloves to the processor. Add the salt, tahini and 4 tablespoons (60ml) of lemon juice. Process patiently - it will take a while to combine - and once it's well mixed, scrape down the bowl, add a couple of ice cubes, and blitz again until gorgeously smooth and radiantly, improbably pink. You can add another ice cube or two and go on for longer if you feel it needs it, until you have a light, super-smooth texture.
  4. Taste to see if you would like any more lemon juice, garlic or salt, adding as necessary and blitzing again, then scrape into a serving bowl.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD:
Roast the beetroots up to 2 days ahead, and refrigerate until needed.

STORE:
Refrigerate leftovers, covered, for up to 3 days.

FREEZE:
Freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Defrost overnight in the fridge and use within 24 hours. If dip separates on defrosting, blitz again in the food processor.

MAKE AHEAD:
Roast the beetroots up to 2 days ahead, and refrigerate until needed.

STORE:
Refrigerate leftovers, covered, for up to 3 days.

FREEZE:
Freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Defrost overnight in the fridge and use within 24 hours. If dip separates on defrosting, blitz again in the food processor.

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