Beetroot Hummus with Yogurt and Za’atar

“Farewell has a sweet sound of reluctance. Goodbye is short and final, a word with teeth sharp to bite through the string that ties past to the future.”

“Failure is a state of mind. It’s like one of those sand traps an ant lion digs. You keep sliding back. Takes one hell of a jump to get out of it.”

― John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

So many things don’t happen in one’s life for fear, reluctance, sloth, self-pity, dread of failure. We walk in a circle, around and around, without ever crossing the border of our comfort zone.

I closed my eyes, and I jumped. What I am left with now is fear, and hope.

People look at me and say: “You don’t seem happy to be leaving”. No, I don’t. Only when the positive takes the place of the negative; only when the new improves the old, will we experience moments of bliss. The hardest, scariest moment, is that gray area between the two moments –the transition, the suspension between the time of the jump and the time of the landing. That is where I am. I am suspended, left wandering. I am almost there, and this time, I don’t fear the impact.

This winter doesn’t want to end. It keeps bringing cold, thoughtfulness, and discontent. I am spending this gray time I have left in contemplation, reading, thinking, reflecting on what happiness would be for me. I try to write down my thoughts, to dig deeper, I try to go beyond what I think I already know, but can’t find anything new. The list hasn’t changed, and too many things on that list have been long left un-ticked. Now, I want to believe it can only get better.

Beetroot Hummus with Yogurt and Za’atar

Lightly adapted from Jerusalem by Y. Ottolenghi and S. Tamimi
500 gr cooked and peeled beetroots
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
250 gr plain (or Greek) yogurt
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
1 tbsp za’atar
fine grain sea salt, to taste
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
a small handful (20 gr) hazelnuts, roughly chopped

50 gr feta, crumbled, or crumbly goat cheese

Place the beetroot, garlic, chili, yogurt, honey and oil in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Transfer to a large bowl and add za’atar and salt to taste. Garnish with spring onions, hazelnuts, and cheese, plus a drizzle of oil. Serve at room temperature.


  1. Alex April 5, 2013

    Ogni scelta, soprattutto di grandi cambiamenti, richiede tanto coraggio, sono certa che ne hai da vendere e che affronterai con solarità ciò che ti attende.
    Intanto vediamo di mandar via questo inverno e con la primavera e l'estate arriverà anche tanta nuova energia.
    Un abbraccio

    • Valeria April 30, 2013

      Grazie Alex. Spero davvero che sia così, nel frattempo, mi godo l'effetto della novità. Un abbraccio.

  2. Regula @ Miss Foodwise April 5, 2013

    I love beetroot, but I need it raw. For some reason I don't like it cooked! The color on this puree is fantastic. When I have cleaned beetroot my hands are always nicely colored and I like the sight of it.
    I don't know what you're doing, are you going back to Italy? Either way I wish you two the best of luck x

    • Valeria April 30, 2013

      I have a love-hate relationship with beetroot, I love the color but I need to soften the strong earthy taste they have. Yogurt works really well, as does vinegar!

  3. Valentina April 5, 2013

    cara valeria, ho acquistato un barattolino di meraviglioso za'atar proprio a londra. farò questa purea irresistibile e sgargiante, la mangerò di gusto e assaporerò il valore profondo che c'è dietro a tanto talento. 🙂

    • Valeria April 30, 2013

      oh! come sei carina!spero ti piaccia, fai tesoro di quel vasetto che ti darà delle belle soddisfazioni!

  4. Francesca April 5, 2013

    Tu mi fai sognare. Ogni volta. Le foto. Le ricette. Le parole. Non so in cosa consista il salto che hai fatto, ma ti auguro di atterrare in un posto magico. Magico come il libro (che ho cavasandir si scrive così, vero;-)?) da cui hai tratto questa ricetta. Magico come Te. Bacione

    • Valeria April 30, 2013

      E tu mi fai arrossire! Come questa dip…:D


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