In this dish the fabulous magenta of the beetroot is striking against the butterbean base with the mint adding freshness as well as colour. The base of this dip is similar to houmous but by using butterbeans you get a lovely creaminess that means you can get away with addition only a little, if any tahini in order to achieve a rich puree. If serving as a dip rather than as part of a meal look for vegetables you can serve whole. French radishes are longer than their English counterparts making them ideal candidates for dipping.
- Heat the oven to 180C. Wash the beetroots, brush with a little oil and wrap each one in foil. Wrap the garlic cloves into a loose foil parcel and place beets and garlic into the centre of the oven for 45 minutes.
- Dry fry the cumin seeds in a non-stick frying pan for a minute or two keeping them moving so they don’t burn. Using a pestle and mortar or spice grinder grind the toasted seeds and set aside.
- Reserving the liquid, drain and mash the butterbeans and add in tahini, if using. I mash the beans quite coarsely so as to keep a chunky texture but if you prefer a smoother consistency you might want to use a blender. Once mashed stir in the cumin, lemon juice and season well.
- Peel the beetroot and garlic. Cut the beetroot into quarters and place in a blender. Cut the very tips of the garlic cloves and squeeze the soft garlic pulp in with the beetroot. Add a tablespoon of the reserved liquid from the beans and pulse. If the beetroot needs a bit of encouragement to move then add more of the reserved liquid as necessary. Blend until you have a smooth purée. Season to taste.
- Coarsely chop the mint leaves and grind in a pestle and mortar with the oil. If you don’t want to use oil then finely chop the leaves and scatter on at the end.
- To serve, dollop the bean mixture into a bowl or plate and create a shallow well in the centre. Spoon the beetroot purée into the well and drizzle the mint and oil over the top.