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