A hero food for Valentines


beetroot hummusBeetroot is truly a food of the heart! Eating this colourful vegetable leads to an increase in nitric oxide in the blood – a gas which helps to widen blood vessels. This helps to lower blood pressure, which assists in heart health. But there is more! Beetroot also contains certain anti-oxidants and soluble fibre, enemies of harmful cholesterol. Not only that, it looks great on a plate or in a salad bow!

Willie Cloete, founder of the Taste Cafe in Pretoria, dramatically shows this veggie off (see photo) in the Beetroot Hummus recipe below, which he makes for the Pretoria Boeremark each year at Valentines. In Willie’s words,  “The beetroot brings a lovely earthy taste to the hummus and the cumin compliments both the beetroot and chick peas very well”.

Beetroot Hummus


  • 2-3 large oven roasted beets
  • 2 Tins Chick Peas, drained
  • 45ml Lemon Juice
  • 45ml Tahini Paste (see recipe below how to make your own)
  • 4-6 Cloves of Garlic
  • 3ml Fine Cumin
  • 1ml Fine Cardemom
  • 5ml Black Pepper
  • 5ml Salt
  • 150ml Olive Oil

 To make:

1. Tahini: Put 125ml toasted sesame seeds and 125ml Peanut Oil in the coffee mill attachment of your food processor or liquidiser and process until the seeds and oil have completely merged into a paste. You can store the rest of the paste in a bottle in your fridge and use when needed.

2. Beets: Do not boil the beets as this will make your hummus too runny. Bake them in an oven at 180°C until they are soft and a little dried out.

3.Hummus: Put all your ingredients except the olive oil in a blender or food processor and start blending. At the same time slowly add the olive oil until the hummus is fine and creamy in texture.

4. For a low fat option, pleace half the olive oil with the drained water from the chick peas.

5. Serve on toast, crostini or with warm pita bread with fresh basil.

Thank-you, Willie!

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