This is not technically hummus, since in Lebanon hummus is the word for chickpeas and this dish does not contain one gram/ounce of chickpeas; it is just the Americanized title, that I am adopting here, instead of the more authentic name mtabbal al shmandar.
Mr Kameel Abu Hatoom, a gentleman I met in Beirut gave me this recipe AND a facetious nickname for it, coining it mama dallou3a; the nickname means “cuddly mamma” and is meant as a counter for baba ghannouj meaning sugar daddy! So both dips should be served at the same time and named Mama dallou3a and baba ghannouj~
This is also a mezze dish; it is lighter than a classic hummus with chickpeas provided one goes easy on the tahini (which adds calories and heaviness). The other great advantage of this dish is the fact that one can savor the beet juice as well, which is simply the beet-infused water in which the beets have been boiled. It is sweet, and very nutritious, and super healthy as well.
One note, though. I need to mention that when roasting the beets the flavor is more intense, although one misses out on being able to use the juice!
One more thing! I have found that I like it better when I add a dollop or two of labneh to the mixture. The labneh (you can also use drained yogurt) makes it creamier and smoother and hides a bit the nutty tahini flavor. I have also tried it with goat cheese and liked that version as well.
Beet HummusJoumana Accad Mediterranean, Middle Eastern October 25, 2021 Mezze/Appetizers, Vegan, vegan, hummus, mezze, appetizer, tahini dressing, beets,
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
1 1/2 lb. beets, peeled and cut into chunks
2 lemons, medium size, juiced (approximately 1/3 cup)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped and mashed with a dash of salt till pasty
1/2 to 3/4 cup tahini (start with 1/2 cup)
2 Tbsps of labneh (optional), more or less
1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses (optional)
2 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional)
2 Tbsp pomegranate arils (optional)
- Place the peeled and cut-up beets in a saucepan and add enough water to submerge them. Cover the pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook for about 30-45 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Cool and drain in a colander, reserving the beet juice to drink later in the fridge. Alternatively, place the beets in a preheated 350F oven, wrap them in foil, and roast them for about 40 minutes or until they are tender when pierced with a knife.
- Prepare the tahini sauce aka tarator. Dilute the tahini with lemon juice, adding a bit of water, the garlic paste (if desired) until the tahini sauce is thick, smooth, but pourable. Taste to adjust the seasoning.
- Run the beets through the food processor shredder, reserving a bit of shredded beets for garnish, and then add the tahini sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding pomegranate molasses if desired, or some more tahini if the mixture is too runny or bland. Add the labneh if using, taste and transfer to a plate. Garnish with chopped parsley, the shredded beets and/or pomegranate arils.
- Serve at room temperature with bread or chips.
The beet juice is delicious and nutritious cold. Iraqi friends pointed out to me that in Iraq they drink it with a bit of Seville orange (sour orange) juice to temper the sweetness.
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