When I think Ottolenghi, I think delicious food and beautiful food like this roasted beet hummus. Ottolenghi has long been a source of inspiration for me in the kitchen. I have 5 of his cookbooks and I would have to say that my current favorites are “Simple” and “Jerusalem.” Quite honestly, I cannot keep up with the number of cookbooks that Yotam Ottolenghi has published in record breaking time in the last several years. “Jerusalem” is filled with childhood food memories, debates on hummus, and seems to be the book where he explores the origins of the food that shaped his cooking techniques and influenced his mastery of flavors.
This roasted beet hummus recipe or as Ottolenghi refers to it in his cookbook “Jerusalem”, as “pureed beets with yogurt and za’atar,” is just that. The recipe calls for only a few ingredients, fresh beets and Greek yogurt with the addition of an array of fragrant and tangy exotic spices.
Start with a couple of pounds of fresh beets. Oven roast the beets for at least an hour or until tender. After the beets cool, peel them and place them in a food processor or a blender with some greek yogurt.
You will need to make sure that you have at least these essential spices in your pantry. Za’atar, preferably red za’atar, is one of the herbs used to spice the beet mixture. Za’atar is an aromatic middle eastern blend of herbs, sesame seeds and sumac. Date syrup is recommended by Ottolenghi but I used pomegranate syrup. If you don’t have either of these you can substitute maple syrup. The recipe also recommends roasted hazelnuts as a topping for the beets. Sometimes it is difficult to find hazelnuts. If you cannot find them feel free to substitute pecans or walnuts. Always roast the nuts before using them as a garnish for the beet hummus.
After the beets are roasted, the final steps take only 5 minutes to complete the hummus. Garnish the hummus with roasted hazelnuts, crumbled goat cheese and sliced green onions for a dramatic visual presentation of color and flavors.