Author Notes: I will preface this recipe with a categorical statement: I am not a beet eater. In fact, most root vegetables inspire very little gastronomic enthusiasm in me, so this week’s contest theme prompted a groan. But then I remembered my only favorite hot-pink beet recipe! I first had this in a restaurant in Damascus. I was skeptical, but it was a revelatory new way to eat the dirt-flavored veggies! This is my attempt to recreate the dish.
Most people are familiar with the Middle Eastern dish of baba ghanoush, called “mutabbal” in parts of Syria and Lebanon. This version substitutes beets for eggplant, for a lovely earthy-sharp flavor in place of the normal smoky eggplant. The recipe is approximate- ingredients should be mixed to taste, so consider the amounts listed here as notional rather than exact. This is more of a dip than a side, so serve with pita wedges before or alongside your main dish. —lazychef
pound beets (2-3 medium sized)
tablespoons tahini paste
clove garlic, crushed
juice from one lemon
pita bread, cut into wedges
- Boil the beets (I usually do them like potatoes, if they're large- cut into chunks and boil until they can be easily stabbed with a fork). Drain off water, cool for a few minutes, then peel.
- Put the beet chunks in a food processor and pulse until you have a coarse puree. Drain off excess water.
- Add tahini, crushed garlic, lemon juice, one Tbsp of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Check flavors and adjust seasoning. Spread in a shallow bowl and drizzle with remaining oil. Enjoy!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Root Vegetable Side