Featured in: The Beet Goes On
This creamy hummus was birthed in a serendipitous moment during collegiate hunger. I was swamped with finals, and all I had were disparate ingredients for three incomplete dishes: hummus, borscht, and a mascarpone cake. So I went ahead and developed, from the humble confines of a college kitchen, a culinary fusion. Besides being a testament to resourceful inventiveness, this Beet and Mascarpone Hummus is a delicious dish that marries quintessential elements from Jewish, Arabic, and Italian cuisine. Encompassing a delightful medley of ingredients such as red beet, chickpeas, mascarpone cheese, and tahini, this recipe carries the undertones of earthy cumin, zesty lemon, fragrant za’atar, and smoky Spanish paprika. The vibrant crimson of the beets, the creamy lusciousness of the mascarpone, and the earthy undercurrents of the hummus ingredients, when orchestrated together, formed a symphony of flavors that is as memorable as the story of its felicitous creation.
- 3small red beets (about 14 ounces), scrubbed
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas drained; leave a tablespoon for dressing
- ½cup and 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
- ½cup tahini
- ½teaspoon cumin
- ½teaspoon za’atar
- ½teaspoon Spanish sweet smoked paprika
- 3tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2teaspoons salt; add more if needed
- ⅓cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2garlic cloves, finely grated or smashed
- freshly ground black pepper
- Crushed cayenne pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper and za’atar; grilled flatbreads or pita bread (for serving)
Yield: Serves 4-6
- Step 1
Preheat oven to 425. Wrap beets in foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for an hour until they easily pierce through to the center. Leave the beets to rest until they are cool enough for handling.
- Step 2
Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, mascarpone cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, za’atar, smoked paprika, and cumin. Continue blending until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
- Step 3
Once the beets have cooled down, gently use a paper towel or press with your fingertips to remove the beet skin. Cut the root and chop into small chunks. Incorporate these pieces into the food processor and continue the processing until the entire mixture attains a uniformly smooth consistency, typically about 2 minutes. If desired, add more salt and ground pepper for further seasoning.
- Step 4
Transfer hummus to a shallow bowl. Place the remaining chickpeas, then sprinkle cayenne pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper and za’atar on top, and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.