Cultured Roasted Beetroot Hummus

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Above: the gorgeous hot pink hummus topped with organic hempseed for a kick of protein and contrast.

Cultured Roasted Beetroot Hummus

Okay, so a quick word about fermenting beans and legumes.  Generally beans are not beloved by paleo or keto folks because they contain a high level of phytates and lectins, which are believed to slow the absorption of dietary minerals including iron, zinc, manganese and calcium.  So in essence they can be an “anti-nutrient”.  Cooking and then fermenting legumes can reduce these phytates and lectins by up to 85%, essentially making the issue a non-issue.  It is similar to why people who are lactose intolerant can often drink milk kefir… because the kefir granules “eat” the lactose and produce the super-probiotic yogurt that is so good for our guts.  This is a process we are much more familiar with in the production of wine, beer and spirits but in these forms produces a significant amount of probiotics, which benefits our gut and therefore all those beautiful neuro-transmitters that effect our brains and body as a whole.  Also, as a lovely side note, the beans become a little less the “musical fruit” we all so lovingly sang about as children.  Or was that just my family??

Moving swiftly on!  This lovely pink stuff is a remake of the famed hummus, which my neighbor savored for months… yes, months.  I love beetroot, which is something I only discovered upon visiting Australia for first time.  B.A. (Before Australia) I had always despised it.  There are certain things that seem to be a part of a country’s identity… sometimes that covers the preparation of certain foods.  Well this is one area where they beat the U.S. all to heck.  In addition to the gorgeous sweet pickled beetroot I found on many a table when visiting… my now Australian family introduced me to beetroot hummus.  One day my bro and sis in law came in after church with some amazing smelling Turkish food… Ekmek (BIG pita style bread) alongside a spread of tzaziki, olives, shawarma, standard hummus and this pot of hot pink beetroot hummus.  I fell.  The following recipe is one I developed when my little family and I were living in Northern Ireland.  It’s fun, budget friendly and sooooo yum.

I have done this with roasted beetroot or cultured beetroot… both are good options and have slightly different flavors.  Keep your roasted root to a cup for this one as too much caramel is not a good taste in savory hummus.  Believe me, I’ve tried.

Above Left: Day 1 with olive oil sitting on top and protecting from outside bacteria.

Above Right: Day 2 of ferment; hummus has expanded with gas and is ready to eat or store in fridge to slow ferment.

Ingredients

200g dried chick peas, soaked overnight and cooked, drained and rinsed (makes about 3 cups)

1 cup roasted beetroot

4-6 garlic cloves

½ cup whey from a batch of live yogurt or milk kefir, cultured vegetable juice from a previous ferment (I used the juices from my fermented red onions)

1/4 cup tahini or 3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds or toasted sunflower seeds

juice of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon sea salt, celtic sea salt or pink salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ – ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (poured over top to seal out bacteria)

Method

I like to use dried chickpeas, so I measure out 250 grams (a little over a 1/2 pound/8oz) and soak them overnight in.  Pour into a bowl or container, fill with water and cover.  In the morning, strain and rinse the chickpeas.  Bring a pot of water to boil, pour in the chickpeas and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  I’m totally lazy and ADD so I prefer to stick them in the crockpot and forget about them until I have time to get to them.  Once cooked, strain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse.

While your chickpeas are cooking, wash, trim and dice 2 – 3 red beetroot (one bunch usually suffices if they come in a group of 3)

Lay parchment paper or foil on a cookie sheet and spray with a little coconut oil to prevent the extreme sticking that happens when beetroot caramelizes.

Toss the beetroot on and roast on medium to low heat for 30-60 minutes.  (I did 275 degrees F for 1 hour.

When you can stab your beetroot easily with a fork and they are soft, move them to your food processor.

Add the chickpeas and all other ingredients (hold out the olive oil) and process until smooth.

If serving immediately, leave out the whey.  Spoon into a bowl and stir in 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, then drizzle a bit more on the top. Serve with crudite platter or chips.

If fermenting, hold out the olive oil until the very end. Transfer hummus to a 2 litre clip top jar, cover with the olive oil and clamp closed.  Slowly rotate the jar until the olive oil seals the entire empty surface.  Leave to ferment for 2 days.  Once finished, stir the olive oil in and store in a 1 liter glass jar or BPA free container in the fridge.

Pro Tip: Make sure your jar is double the capacity of your hummus or you’ll find a really gross ooze all over your counter in a couple days… or sooner.

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Super Gut Healthy Fermented Red Onions!

How I missed Red Onion Chutney when I first made the move away from sugars in my diet. It was sooo good for sprucing up sandwiches, salads and as a garnish to entrees.

Once I discovered fermenting though… a whole new world of peppery flavors opened up to me. I love when food bites back. This is simple, yet one of my staple favorites. I also used a different method to ferment this batch and was pleased with its simplicity. Point to the old school of food preservation here!

Onions are rich in prebiotic (gut healthy) fibers and fermenting them adds to that a product rich in probiotics.  Prebiotics sort of run through your system and don’t account for much in the way of calories but they feed your microbiome (the good bacteria in your gut) to keep you strong and healthy.  If you didn’t love onions before now at least you have a basic understanding of their benefits.  After fermenting you get the “full package” with these super gut health stars.  And they taste pretty amazing as well!

Ingredients: 

Method: 

  1. Lay all your tools on a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat
  2. in the oven and heat to 170 degrees Fahrenheit to sanitize everything.
  3. Peel, wash and slice your red onions into thin strips, or use a mandolin.  For speed (which is completely necessary when you have 3 or more children running around) I used the latter method.
  4. Pile the onions into the sanitized 2 Liter jar.
  5. Smash down with a washed French rolling pin or wooden spoon to release juices and be sure you have a couple inches space at the top.
  6. Cover with non-chlorinated water and your salt of choice.
  7. Weigh down with a sanitized fermentation weight or small jar.
  8. Wait 2-3 Days for the healthy bacteria to grow then serve and enjoy!  The juices will take on the color of the onion, which is a good indication of readiness.

A half batch of this is perfectly reasonable and will come out just the same. I just really like these.

They are a double whammy of good gut health and flipping tasty.


Cultured Beetroot

Fermented Beetroot (Beets) for salads, mezza style platters and… fermented beetroot hummus!

Okay, so I try not to talk to much about non-food stuff but I promise this is related.  One of the first Aussie food things I learned to do was to make homemade canned beetroot.  I grew up hating the stuff… when I moved to Scotland it was likewise awful.  But then I went to Australia to meet Steve’s family and I’m fairly certain there was a big tub of it sitting on nearly every table at friends and family’s houses.  It was a side to nearly every meal… and the reason was because it tasted awesome with all the Aussie platters and pretty much all summer food.  So… I found an Australian recipe and learned to can it myself.  We enjoyed it for years on grilled cheese sandwiches and in salads but when life got a bit more stressful my already high sugar sensitivity went through the roof and I needed to find a new way to prepare my favorite things.  In came Nourishing Traditions and a whole wide world of cultured foods was opened to me.  Once I got through the extreme language I saw the value in the foods and way of preparation used.  I’m sure it helped that from the very first experiment I fell in love with the flavors of ferment.  I started on milk kefir, and found a budget friendly friend in fermenting hummus.  Began making my own Ginger Beer (Ginger Whiskey as my husband calls it) and found for myself that the probiotics themselves also helped with my genetic predisposition for anxiety.  (Thank you, Scottish roots).  So I’ll shut up now, but all that to say I was pleasantly surprised to find a way of preparing one of my favorite vegetables that brought it to life rather than just baked the life out of it, though I still like that as well.

I did this recipe in a 2 Liter Kilner swing top canning jar but you can adjust proportions to your liking.

Fermenting lids and weights are helpful but you can do this with stainless steel or plastic lids… or swing top like this one. In place of a weight you will need a sanitized jar small enough to insert on top of the veg. Another trick is to fill a clean ziplock back with water and stuff it in. I have done this when using a bigger jar like with Kimchi.

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Make sure all your tools are clean and washed with hot soapy water and rinsed.
  2. You can sanitize your jars in the dishwasher but I tend to put mine in the oven.  I set it to 170 degrees Fahrenheit (the lowest temp) and place my jars and weights on a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat to prevent slipping.  I leave them in at that temperature for 2-5 minutes while I’m prepping the veg.
  3. Remove beetroot leaves and “tail” with a clean knife.
  4. You can use a mandolin or a sharp chef’s knife and slice the beetroot thinly and evenly. About 1/4″ or slimmer if you can as it makes for awesome texture and layering.
  5. Fill your sanitized jar with washed, unpeeled and sliced beetroot.
  6. Leave 2-3″ room at the top for placing the fermenting weight… and you’ll still want 1-2″ room to prevent explosions.
  7. Dissolve 1 tablespoon pink salt or sea salt per 2 cups warm non-chlorinated water and pour over the top, repeating until all your veg is covered. Insert sanitized jar or weight to keep vegetables submerged. Close lid.
  8. If you do not have fermenting or swing lids, set the lid loosely and cover with a towel to keep bacteria out. Wait 3-7 days, depending on your taste.

I love this in salads and paleo wraps and mezze platters. I’ve done this with Golden and Chiogga Beetroot as well but the red is still my favorite for fermenting.

The colors are gorgeous and the healthy bacteria are a boon! 🙌🏼


Cultured Chickpea Hummus (vegan, paleo hacked)

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Fermented Hummus

My girls and I are hummus fanatics.  My son even likes it from time to time.  But fermented hummus has the added bonus of healthy bacteria and comes with a peppery kick that I love.  It is favorite around our home and I love that it will keep in the fridge for months.  Not that it ever lasts that long around our house…  I made a batch of this hummus and my fermented beetroot hummus for a neighbor when we were living in Northern Ireland and the last jar came back four months later.  I thought she had forgotten but she said she had been savoring it and had only finished it the day before.  True Story.

I leave out the chili flakes when making this for kids, but it is awesome with.  I prefer to use whey for fermenting hummus.  It is mild in flavor and my kids like the result, but a clear liquid from a previous culture (like carrots) or water kefir works if you are dairy intolerant or vegan.  I have made it with water kefir for my cousin and her daughter and they love it.  Sometimes I will roast sesame seeds in a cast iron pan until slightly blackened to replace the tahini because it gives a nice, smoky flavor.  I like my hummus with a bit more texture but if you prefer it smooth, give it a bit longer in the food processor.  Enjoy!

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Photo above: day two of ferment.  It’s alive!

Ingredients

250g dried chick peas, soaked overnight and cooked, or 2 (16-oz.) cans, drained and rinsed (makes about 4 cups)

4-6 garlic cloves

½ cup cultured onion brine or other cultured vegetable liquid from a previous ferment, whey from a batch of live yogurt or milk kefir, or water kefir (in theory you could try kombucha, but I’ve never done)

3-4 tablespoons tahini, toasted sesame seeds or toasted sunflower seeds

juice of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tsp ancho chili flakes

1 tsp turmeric

1 tablespoon sea salt, celtic sea salt or pink salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ – ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (poured over top to seal out bacteria)

1-3 teaspoons chia seeds (optional, but blend in if it is too wet)

Method

I like to use dried chickpeas, so I measure out 250 grams (a little over a 1/2 pound/8oz) and soak them overnight in.  Pour into a bowl or container, fill with water and cover.  In the morning, strain and rinse the chickpeas.  Bring a pot of water to boil, pour in the chickpeas and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  I’m totally lazy and ADD so I prefer to stick them in the crockpot and forget about them until I have time to get to them.  Once cooked, strain the chickpeas in a colander and put all ingredients in a food processor (hold out the olive oil) and process until smooth.

If serving immediately, leave out the whey.  Spoon into a bowl and stir in 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, then drizzle a bit more on the top. Serve with crudite platter or chips.

If fermenting, hold out the olive oil until the very end. Transfer hummus to a 2 litre clip top jar, cover with the olive oil and clamp closed.  Slowly rotate the jar until the olive oil seals the entire empty surface.  Leave to ferment for 2 days.  Once finished, stir the olive oil in and store in a 1 liter glass jar or BPA free container in the fridge.

Pro Tip: Don’t cheat on the size of the jar.  If your jar is too small it will swell to nearly double it’s size and you will find that the Blob has escaped in a sloop of hummus and olive oil all over your kitchen counter.


Chocolate Brownie Batter Hummus

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Brownie Batter Hummus

It seems my son only likes beans in two forms.  One is infused with ham like in grandma’s Bacon Baked Beans and the other is when it is hidden in the form of chocolate.  My girls love it too.  This recipe came about after my wonderful cousin brought me a sweet little container of Brownie Batter Hummus… and I was hooked.  I worked and worked until I found two ways of making it without sugar.  Sugar is my arch nemesis.  It really doesn’t like me and I don’t particularly like it… I prefer things bittersweet and generally not followed by aches and pains, so I’m always looking for ways of excluding it from my diet.  This one… is a win.

Ingredients:

OR in place of dates & honey:

Method:

  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  2. Spoon into a bowl and top with Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips, Enjoy Life or Pascha’s 85% Dark Chocolate Chips.
  3. Serve with Apple slices, celery sticks, Coconut Chips, or Tortilla Chips.

Paleo Coconut Flour Pumpkin Muffins

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Paleo Coconut Flour Pumpkin Muffins

(Nut-Free) 

These muffins are perfect for autumn.  They are healthy, fragrant with fall flavors and a new family favorite.  I have been working on it for a bit but we have come to a crossroads on the coconut flour choice.  I would say the texture is better with Anthony’s coconut flour but the flavor is richer with Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour.  I’m not sure why but they are good either way!  You can replace the spices with a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice for simplicity but I prefer it as stated.

Yields 12 Muffins.

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Ingredients:

*You won’t taste the stevia in this amount, but if you don’t want to use it, increase your maple syrup or sukrin to 1/3-1/2 cup and take out one egg.

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 C)

In a medium sized bowl combine dry ingredients and mix.

Whisk together wet ingredients in another bowl and then pour the wet into the dry and fold until combined.

I like to spray the muffin cups with a bit of coconut oil before I pour the batter in.  Leave about a 1/4” or half a centimeter at the top to allow them to puff up. I find there is not really spillage when using coconut flour.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven. They are done when you can just tap one with a finger without making a depression.

Take out immediately and let cool before enjoying.


Paleo Tahini Freezer Bites

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Nut-Free, dairy-free, sugar-free, paleo, keto

Recipe by Brenna May @culturedbite

These are a work in progress but are my favorite little treat.  They got me through eight months of the brutal anti-mycotoxin Kauffman diet, which I might add, one is only meant to do for 2 months but as I have friends and children incidents happened and I had to re-start it about 20 times! Let’s just say I’m glad to be done and am happy to eat things like bananas and pears again. These bites are the only survivor. Lol. They are super addictive little fat bomb and contain no sugar.  Yay! 

If sugar doesn’t bother you, you can sub the stevia and Sukrin Fiber Gold Syrup for raw honey or maple syrup.  I make these with only the stevia because I’m a weirdo and am not a fan of overly sweet things.  I use a medium melon baller out of the Jenaluca set.  I have done this with a bit of tapioca flour as well for a chewier cookie texture.  Take your coconut flour down to 2/3 cup and add a 1/4 cup tapioca/cassava.  If you want it to actually look like a cookie, take your coconut flour down to 1/2 cup but make sure you add the psyllium husk.  I love how they have hints of the middle east in their flavor, which can be enhanced by adding cardamom, or by taking out the espresso and chocolate chips and adding dried cranberries or chopped dates in their place.

They are best frozen, and take on a gorgeous chewy texture, which you absolutely want if you are only using stevia drops to sweeten them.  If you leave them out they will be like a fluffy little subtly sweet ball, which personally I don’t find as satisfying.  You can make these vegan by making a flax egg (1 Tbsp flax meal + 2.5-3 Tbsp water) or a psyllium husk egg (1 teaspoon husk powder + 3 teaspoons of water) to replace each egg. Makes 40-60 bites.

Ingredients:

*I use Lily’s stevia sweetened chocolate chips, Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips, semi-sweet chips or Pascha 85% dark chocolate chips, depending on what I am going for.  You can put in up to 2 cups if you like a bigger chocolate hit.

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 C)
  2. Cream tahini and sugar/sweetener of choice in mixer for 5 minutes. (or if using a high powered blender just add all ingredients save coconut flour and chocolate chips and blend until smooth, then stir in coconut flour and fold in chips)
  3. Add eggs and mix.
  4. Add soda, salt, vanilla and mix.
  5. Add espresso & cinnamon and mix.
  6. While mixer is on, add coconut flour slowly.
  7. Make sure batter is cool then fold in chocolate chips.
  8. Chill in the freezer for 10-20 minutes
  9. I use a spring loaded melon baller for these but you can scoop by spoonfuls and roll them into balls, place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and flatten slightly.  If you’ve rolled them out by hand, chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
  10. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, depending on size of cookies. They are done when center is just set.
  11. Take them out immediately and set them in their tray on the stove to cool.  They continue to bake on the tray.