We’re all about the idea of all things in moderation. We have the feeling Heidi McGill, founder of vegetarian café Verjus, would agree. After all, her partner and husband is Brendan McGill, the James Beard nominated chef behind meat-centric Hitchcock Deli. Brendan brought restaurant experience, and Verjus wasn’t Heidi’s first venture. She had previously launched a women’s activewear line, Prima Studio. Her travels to studios and gyms around the country lead to a craving for a fresh juice bar near home.
Heidi decided to bring her idea to life, designing the interior of Verjus herself. She says, “The space was already so beautifully light and airy, and I really wanted to maintain that feel. The design process really kicked off when Brendan found these great sea-foam green chairs from the 60s—that helped direct the color story and the mood. I’ve always been drawn to eclectic prints and bright colors, and that felt like an extension of the food we wanted to make—so everything just kind of naturally fell into place as I collected furniture and pieces of decor. ‘Modern bohemian’ seems a fitting way to describe both the space and the food.”
So when our bodies crave something delicious and nutritious, we’re going to be turning to Verjus’ Golden Hummus as the perfect dip or spread to make our bodies happy. Be sure to add the recipe below to your “must make” list and take a peek inside Verjus in the slideshow!
1 cup chickpeas
1 cup chickpea water
1 medium sized golden beet
2 thumbs of fresh turmeric
½ cup tahini
3 large garlic cloves
½ cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
1 bay leaf
If you’re making your own chickpeas: soak the chickpeas in a pot for at least an hour, then put the pot over high heat on the stove. Make sure that there is at least an inch of water above the chickpeas, and add the bay leaf and ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring the chickpeas to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until tender. Drain the chickpeas, and be sure to save the liquid. (Alternatively, use canned chickpeas and reserve the liquid from the can.)
Peel and dice the beet, carrot, and garlic. In a food processor, blend the garlic, beet, carrot, tahini, lemon juice, and remaining salt until smooth. Add the chickpeas and chickpea liquid. (Note that the hotter the chickpeas, the more smooth the hummus will be.) Blend until smooth.
Serve on toast with crunchy vegetables or as a dip with crudités. At Verjus, we serve it on our housemade gluten-free seed bread with pickled celery and radishes plus some fennel fronds. If you’re serving it as a dip, it’s pretty to top the bowl with some sesame seeds and toasted cumin. Seasonal crudités that are great with the hummus include fennel, radishes, beets, carrots, and celery.