Thursday, March 21, 2013

Beet, Chickpea and Almond Dip

Over the weekend, we were all discussing our Friday meal options during this Lenten season.  My sister has been eating a lot of egg salad.  Tuna and cod and, of course, mac and cheese seem to be favorites.  And although I happened to have an enormous catfish sandwich this past Friday (it was basically the whole catfish, breaded in panko and deep fried… yum!), chick peas have been my go-to ingredient over the last five weeks.

If you are a fan of hummus, you should try this Beet, Chickpea and Almond Dip.  It’s perhaps more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern, and the beets add a mellowness and lovely color.  It makes a great party appetizer or quick dinner with leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
Beet, Chickpea, and Almond Dip with Pita Chips
Makes about 2 cups
Recipe by Susanna Hoffman from the June 2006 issue of Bon Appetit

1 large (8 ounce) beet, peeled, cut into ¾” cubes
1 cup drained, canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas) from 15½ ounce can
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for chips
¼ cup slivered almonds
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1½ tablespoons (or more) red wine vinegar
6 7”-diameter pitas

Cook beet in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 12 minutes.  Drain; place in processor.  Add garbanzo beans, ¾ cup oil, almonds, and garlic.  Blend until smooth.  Add 1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar and blend well.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional vinegar, if desired.  Transfer dip to medium bowl.  Can be made 1 day ahead.  Cover and chill.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Brush pita breads on both sides with oil; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Cut each pita into 8 wedges.  Arrange wedges on rimmed baking sheets.  Bake until lightly brown and crisp, about 12 minutes.  Cool chips on sheets.

Place dip in center of platter.  Surround with chips and serve.

I follow the recipe as written, but I have to admit that jarred beets work well when I’m in a hurry.  Double check that they are plain beets and not pickled ones!  Goodness.  Also, I’m interpreting this recipe as needing ½ pound of beets, which translates to about 1¼ cups.  I add a good amount of pepper and extra vinegar to taste.
The pita chips are absolutely delicious and you’ll run out of them way before you finish your dip.  You could substitute tortilla chips or flatbread.
Beet, Chickpea and Almond Dip is a handy recipe, even when Lent is over, for vegetarian friends, last-minute events and whenever I need a break from meat.  It includes all the tastes you’d expect: a bit tangy, a little nutty, a bit garlicky and sweet.  And I usually have these ingredients on hand.  Try it out for yourself soon!

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