Chickpeas and beetroot are two of my favourite ingredients. Whether eaten together or separately, I can’t imagine a week without them appearing in at least a couple of my meals.
The heartiness of chickpeas and the earthiness of beetroot lifted with a splash of vinegar make a most satisfying meal, but when shaped into cakes and topped with dill- packed, garlicky yogurt, they’re taken to a whole new level. These are great warm or at room temperature and also yummy tucked into warm pitta bread with chopped tomatoes, crunchy lettuce and a generous spoonful of tzatziki.
Note: If you don’t have a pressure cooker to cook your chickpeas, I suggest using canned chickpeas here, as they need to be completely soft to hold the cakes together.
Amy Chaplin’s Beetroot Chickpea Cakes With Tzatziki
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing cakes and tray
520 g (1 lb 3 oz/31⁄4 cups) cooked chickpeas (see page 68), or 2 425-g (15-oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
2 red onions, finely diced
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
2 red beetroot (340 g/12 oz), grated on largest hole of a box grater 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
30 g (1 oz/3⁄4 cup) chopped dill
Freshly ground black pepper
Tzatziki to serve (recipe follows)
MAKES 480 ML (16 FL OZ/2 CUPS)
Tzatziki is a fantastic Greek yogurt dip or side dish made with cucumbers, dill, garlic and olive oil. The first time I ate it was on a trip to Greece with my best friend, Guinevere, many years ago. The tzatziki we had was served with cooked beetroot and beetroot greens, and the simple and extremely tasty combination has stuck with me ever since. Don’t save it just for these cakes; tzatziki is delicious served with roasted vegetables, simple grains and crunchy summer salads.
1 large (225-g/8-oz) Middle Eastern cucumber (or a regular cucumber, peeled and deseeded)
360 ml (12 fl oz/11⁄2 cups) whole-milk Greek yogurt or Labneh (page 215)
10 g (1⁄4 oz/1⁄4 cup) chopped dill
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3⁄4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Preheat oven to 190oC/375oF/Gas Mark 5. Line a baking tray with baking parchment, lightly brush with olive oil and set aside.
2 Place chickpeas in a bowl and crush with a potato masher; set aside. (Don’t mash the chickpeas completely. The mixture should be somewhat chunky.)
3 Warm olive oil in a wide frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until browning. Add garlic and salt and cook for another 3 minutes. Stir in grated beetroot and continue cooking for another 6 to 8 minutes or until beetroot are cooked. Add balsamic vinegar and remove from heat. Add to mashed chickpeas along with chopped dill and mix well to combine.
4 Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5 Divide mixture into 12 and shape into 12 cakes. Place on prepared tray and brush top and sides of each cake with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate tray and continue baking for another 15 minutes or until brown on the bottom. Remove from oven; allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
6 To serve, slide a thin spatula under each cake and flip onto plate so bottom side is up. Top with tzatziki or serve it on the side.
1 Grate cucumber on the largest hole of a box grater, place in a sieve and squeeze out juice with your hands.
2 Drink or discard juice and add cucumber to a medium bowl along with yogurt, dill, garlic, salt, olive oil and a pinch of black pepper.
3 Stir to combine, season to taste and serve drizzled with olive oil.
4 Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
Recipe and image from At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin (Quarto) $39.99.