Beetroot Sunflower Sesame Hummus
Richard E. Collins, MD, The Cooking Cardiologist®
As we age, our blood vessels and Nitric Oxide system become less
efficient due to free radical damage, inactivity, and poor diet, causing
our veins and arteries to deteriorate. Your body naturally generates N-O (Nitric Oxide) in the endothelium that line the blood vessel walls. But, in the early stages of arterial disease, this lining is damaged—which chokes off the production of N-O, making the vessels vulnerable to inflammation and other negative factors.
Diet has a large impact on Nitric Oxide (N-O) production. That’s because in addition to being produced in the endothelium (lining of the arteries), it is also made in the
mouth and the digestive tract … as long as the conditions are right. Beets, spinach, and leafy greens are especially nitrate rich. The key is to consume N-O boosting foods regularly, in order to increase production of Nitric Oxide in your body, naturally.
Beets rank on top as one of the most nitrate rich foods in nature, as it contains up to twenty times more nitrate than most other nitrate containing foods.
Here is a twist on hummus which is usually made with garbanzo beans. This hummus is a fabulous heart healthy dip with color, hardiness and rich flavors. It is full of anti-oxidants from the beets. The earthiness of the beetroot is lightened with the addition of lemon juice. To lessen the garlic intensity, the cloves are parboiled. Unfortunately, cooking the garlic destroys the benefit of the allicin in the garlic. If you are a true garlic lover, omit the parboiling and add the raw garlic instead. To create some zip, splash in some hot sauce of choice.
½ cup toasted unsalted sunflower kernels
2 roasted beets, peeled and quarter
2 T Tahini
2 boiled garlic cloves
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Hot sauce of choice, flavor to heat intensity
In a dry sauté pan, toast the sunflower seeds to slightly golden brown. Set aside to cool. Prepare 2 beets, washed and stemmed with root portion removed. Do not peel. In a small roasting pan, drizzle olive oil over the beets. Roast at 4000 F for 45 minutes until tender. Remove from oven, cool and peel. Set aside.
In a small sauce pan, add 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Add unpeeled garlic cloves. Parboil for 1-2 minutes. Remove immediately and cool. Peel the cloves.
In a small food processor, add the sunflower seeds. Chop until coarse. Add the beets, Tahini, garlic cloves, and lemon juice. Process until smooth. Taste and add seasonings. Pulse again. Add water to thin the hummus, if desired. Serve slightly chilled with crackers or raw vegetables.
Makes 2 cups.
Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Nutrition Info: Calories: 39, Total Fat: 3 grams, Saturated Fat: 0 grams, Trans Fat: 0 grams, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 19 mg, Carbohydrate: 3 grams, Fiber: 1 gram, Protein: 1 gram
Diabetic Exchanges: ½ Fat