There were chard stalks in my fridge recently. The greens had been used for breakfast a few days prior, but what was I going to do with the stems? I suspected I would be in the same dilemma with some beets soon enough, so my preference was for finding a way to use both chard and beet stems in the same dish. Of course, I could just have sauteed them, and that would have been that. But I must confess that chard stems are not my favorite (the same goes for silver beets).
I remember my mom grew silver beets in our garden one summer, and they looked crisp and juicy, like they would taste like bak soi or napa cappage. But they taste more like dirt. And not the good, earthy dirt of beets. No, more like regular, plain dirt, without much in the way of redeeming factors. So when I have chard stems, I want to do drastic things to them, like smother them in soy sauce, or pickle them. Hence, I was on the lookout for another way to do drastic.
What I found has got to be the best way I have tried them yet: a chard stem hummus. It doesn’t sound like it would work, but it does. It’s not technically a hummus, because it has no chickpeas, but all the other ingredients are there, and it is made in the same way. Simply cook the stems, and blend them with garlic, tahini, lemon, olive oil, and spices. Yum. I’ve added my recipe here, which is an adaptation of the one I linked to above, modified to incorporate beet stems.
The addition of the beet stems to the hummus makes the color nothing less than magnificent. In fact, I’m a tiny bit tempted to call this a love-hummus, because of the color, which would be fitting given the date of this post. It does, however, tastes quite similar to regular humus, and has a smooth, silky texture.
You serve it with yoghurt, olive oil, and if you’re feeling adventurous, perhaps with a bit of dukkah. And then you scoop it up with bread, lots and lots of bread. This would make an excellent appetizer at a bread feast. Happy dipping!
Chard and Beet Stem Hummus
- 1 large handful chopped chard stems
- 1 large handful chopped beet stems
- 1 large clove garlic
- 2/3 deciliter tahini
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 lemon (juice only)
- 1/2 deciliter olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp cumin, smoked paprika, or other spices (optional)
Wash and chop the stems, then cook them in a pot of boiling water for about 15-20 minutes. When they are very tender, pour the water off, but save a bit in case you need to thin our your hummus.
Put the stems in the food processor with garlic, tahini, salt, and any optional spices you want to use. Pulse several times.
Add half the lemon juice and half the olive oil and blend until everything comes together. Then add more oil and lemon juice as you're blending, until you have a smooth puree with your preferred consistency. If you want a hommus with a softer texture, add a little bit of the water from boiling the stems.
Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt, some olive oil and bread.