If you need a little boost to combat the weather in Valencia and get you back in the pink of health, beetroot could be just the vegetable for you! Truly deserving of the title ‘super food’, it boasts potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, B6 and C, folic acid, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants and soluble fibre. It is said to relieve muscular aches and pains, lower blood pressure and may aid blood flow to the brain to keep you snappy to go back to work or properly relax during the summer months. Plus with that psychedelic pink, who could still have the blues?

It combines well with chalky cheeses, such as feta and goat, both oily and white fish, beef and lamb. Beetroot is a vegetable slow to lose its vitamins and nutrients with cooking, but it is also great raw… to use in juices and salads. You can also chop it into wedges to roast in the oven or boil it unpeeled until soft and slice thinly like carpaccio or use pickled with vinegar. Here, for this recipe of ‘Beetroot Hummus’, we use the beetroot lightly boiled and serve it on celiac-friendly pancakes made with chickpea flour (gram flour), topped and garnished with rocket leaves (N.B. – you will need to mix the ingredients for the pancakes together the night before you are going to cook them).

Chickpea Flour Pancakes (leave to ferment overnight)
• 25 gm rolled oats (not jumbo)
• 1 handful dried fruit of your choice (dates, apricots, raisons)
• 500 gm chickpea flour (gram flour / harina de garbanzos)
• 400 ml cold water
• Salt
• Cumin seeds
• Coconut oil / ghee or oil of your choice to fry pancakes

Mix all the ingredients together, stir well and leave overnight in the bowl to ferment.
The next day stir well. Heat a shallow frying pan with a little oil and fry the flatbreads to the size of our choice.
These will keep well in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer, so make a batch at the time.

Beetroot Hummus
• 2 medium sized beetroots (boiled unpeeled for about 30 minutes)
• 100 gm boiled chickpeas (or half jar drained and rinsed)
• 1 tablespoon tahini paste
• 1 clove garlic
• 100 ml olive oil
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• Sea salt to season
• Rocket salad leaves
• Cumin seeds and a little olive oil fried lightly for the salad

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth, adjusting seasonings to taste.
Top with rocket salad, lightly dressed with lightly fried cumin seeds.
Serve on the freshly cooked pancakes or pita bread.
Accompany with feta cheese or ricotta.

Article by Helen Westwater of ‘La Ola Fresca’

Article copyright Helen Westwater/ ’24/7 Valencia’


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