Yogurt & Beet Salad in the Persian Manner

February 25, 2010
8 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This is a recipe which originates from Iran. It is called Borani-e-labu (labu are beets in Farsi). My grandmother used to steam the beets and then slice them right into the yogurt, and voila, that magenta coloured yogurt would appear. I was reading an article by Melissa Clark in the NYT (January 16, 2009) in which her friend peels and dices the beets, douses them with olive oil and roasts them in the oven. This method is lovely, as the candy-like quality of the beet appears in less than a mere 40 minutes, perfectly tender. I use her concept for roasting. The rest is from my grandmum :). —shayma

What You'll Need
  • 2 medium-sized beets, peeled and sliced thin, about 1/8 of an inch
  • 3 splashes good olive oil
  • 2 cups drained yogurt—or make life simpler by purchasing thick Greek yoghurt or labneh from a Middle Eastern store
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint (more to taste)
  • 1 pinch Sea salt
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375° F.
  2. In the meanwhile, peel and slice your beets, approximately 1/8th of an inch of thickness (about the thickness of 2 quarters). [Editor's note: Using a mandoline slicer would make this easy!]
  3. Line roasting pan with foil, add beets (it's okay if they overlap), douse with olive oil, and let them roast for approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Check after first 25 minutes for doneness, and give them a stir.
  4. Allow beets to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. On 4 plates, slather spoonfuls of the thick yogurt in a circular pattern and arrange cooled beets on top. Sprinkle with fresh mint and salt. Drizzle olive oil on top and serve with crusty bread (or lavash, if you can find it) as a first course.
  6. A Pinot Noir from Oregon is one of our faves with this appetizer.
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Shayma Saadat is a cookery teacher, food writer, stylist and photographer who focuses on the food of her heritage - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, which she refers to as Silk Route cuisine. Shayma lives in Toronto with her husband and son. You can follow her culinary journey on Instagram @SpiceSpoon.

7 Reviews

Suzannecreative July 26, 2023
This recipe couldn't be simpler or more delicious. I have made it 3 times. I use Greek style sheep's milk yogurt.
Akané January 9, 2023
So easy and delicious, absolutely loved it!
Such lovely colours as well. 😻
lalf September 6, 2019
This is a brilliant method — my go-to! — for roasting beets. It shows off any sauce or dressing, as beets absorb these and their flavors so well when they are sliced raw and roasted in this way. Mine take a half hour to roast. Then I dump them straight from the pan into a large bowl containing my current favorite, “Lemon Mint Dressing” from Saha. Insanely good. I mix a bit of the dressing into some yogurt to drizzle over the beets and finish with a generous sprinkle of coarsely chopped mint. Quickly left with an empty plate and smiles around the table.
epicharis April 15, 2018
If you have a hookup for solid labneh and beets are in season, make this IMMEDIATELY. This was so good! My husband said "there wasn't a piece of this I wouldn't eat plain". Just outstanding!
Victoria C. March 15, 2017
Years ago I incorrectly read the recipe for cold beet borscht in Fruit and Vegetable Stand by Barry Ballister and liked it so much I never went back to the original. I roast the beets according to Marcella's method - washed, trimmed, and wrapped in foil at 400°F until they are done, which depends on the size of the beets. It usually ends up being about an hour. Then I peel the beets under running water. I cut them large chunks and serve them with dollops of full-fat sour cream. I will serve them with yogurt next time! Great idea.
lastnightsdinner February 25, 2010
This sounds simple and just lovely.
shayma February 25, 2010
Thank you, I love beets in any form, except canned, of course :)