Beet-Chickpea Cakes With Tzatziki

July 13, 2021
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom Prop Stylist: Andrea Foti Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • makes 12 cakes
Author Notes

Chickpeas and beets are two of my favorite ingredients. Whether eaten together or separately, I simply can’t imagine a week without them appearing in at least a couple of my meals. The heartiness of chickpeas and the earthiness of beets, lifted with a splash of vinegar, make a most satisfying meal, but when shaped into cakes and topped with garlicky, dill-packed yogurt, they reach a whole new level of deliciousness. These are great warm or at room temperature, served solo, or tucked into warm pita with chopped tomatoes, crunchy lettuce, and a generous spoonful of tzatziki.

These savory cakes are delicious made with other root vegetables, too—try grated carrot, parsnip, or rutabaga in place of some or all of the grated beets. You can also use chopped parsley instead of dill, or flavor them with finely minced rosemary instead (cook it a little first by adding it to the pan after the garlic is cooked).

If you plan on cooking dried chickpeas for this recipe, be sure to use a pressure cooker or slow cooker, as boiling them often doesn’t result in evenly cooked or creamy chickpeas—if you don’t have a pressure cooker, I suggest using canned chickpeas. Just be sure to drain and rinse them well. These cakes can be shaped, stored in an airtight container, and left in the fridge overnight or frozen. Once frozen, defrost completely, then brush the cakes with oil and bake as directed.

Tzatziki is a fantastic Greek yogurt dip made with cucumbers, dill, garlic, and olive oil. The first time I ate it was on a trip to Greece with my best friend many years ago. The tzatziki we had was served with cooked beets and beet greens—the simple and extremely tasty combination has stuck with me ever since. Don’t save it just for these cakes; tzatziki is delicious served with roasted vegetables, simple grains, and crunchy summer salads.

This recipe is slightly adapted from At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin, © 2014. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.roostbooks.comAmy Chaplin

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Beet-Chickpea Cakes With Tzatziki
  • Beet & Chickpea Cakes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 3 1/4 cups cooked chickpeas (or two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed well)
  • 2 medium red onions, finely diced

  • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 medium red beets (12 ounces), 
grated on the largest holes of a box grater (4 cups grated)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh dill

  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Tzatziki, to serve (recipe follows)
  • Tzatziki
  • 1 large (8-ounce) Middle Eastern cucumber (or an English or garden cucumber), peeled and seeded
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-milk Greek yogurt or labneh
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 garlic clove, pressed or grated on a Microplane, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Beet & Chickpea Cakes
  2. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, lightly brush with olive oil, and set aside.
  3. Place the chickpeas in a bowl and crush with a potato masher; set aside. (Don’t mash the chickpeas completely, the mixture should be somewhat chunky.)
  4. Warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until starting to brown. Add the garlic and salt and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the grated beets and continue cooking for another 6 to 8 minutes, or until the beets are cooked. Add the balsamic vinegar and remove from heat. Add the onion-beet mixture to the mashed chickpeas along with the chopped dill and mix well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Use an oiled ⅓-cup measure to shape the mixture into cakes. Place on the prepared sheet pan and brush the top and sides of each cake with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate the tray, and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until brown on the bottom. Remove from the oven; allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  6. To serve, slide a thin spatula under each cake and flip onto a plate so the bottom side is up. Top with tzatziki or serve it on the side.
  1. Tzatziki
  2. Grate the cucumber on the largest holes of a box grater, place in a strainer, and squeeze out juice with your hands. Drink or discard the juice.
  3. Add the grated cucumber to a medium bowl along with the yogurt, dill, garlic, salt, olive oil, and a pinch of black pepper. Stir to combine, season with more salt and pepper to taste, and serve drizzled with olive oil. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Makes about 2 cups.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jamie
  • Leah
  • Adamalia
  • Lola
Amy Chaplin is a two-time James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and vegetarian chef. Amy's approach to cooking is inspired by nature and the healing benefits of whole food ingredients. Her recipes have been featured in T Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Vogue, among other publications. She divides her time between Brooklyn and Upstate New York.

4 Reviews

Leah February 9, 2022
Yum! thanks you for this delicious recipe. I made mine a bit crispy turned up the oven to 400 for the last 5 -10 minutes. Served with thinly sliced cucumbers, radishes and olives in white balsamic dressing.
Adamalia January 30, 2022
Made it today because I had some beeroot leftover. This is gorgeous if you like red onions. I used just what I had that is: 2 small beetroots, 150 gr red onions, 1 big garlic clove and about 2 cups of cooked chickpeas mashed. No Tzatziki. Excellent technique learned from Amy video in using the measuring cup. I obtained 7 cups 1/4. Cooked as Amy suggests. I gave some to my mother-in-law and she really enjoyes too. Essential and very useful video. Thank you Amy.
Jamie July 13, 2021
Surprisingly easy and delicious. I made some fresh pita bread with it.
Lola July 6, 2021
Worth the effort. Added harissa on top of the tzatziki for extra punch.