Roasted & Raw Vegetables With Spicy Tahini Cream

January 13, 2021
2 Ratings
Photo by Rick Martinez
Author Notes

Even when I am eating veg-forward meals, I need my sweet heat. Luckily, there are a lot of fruits and vegetables that will give me my sugar fix without having to add any actual sugar. Some of my favorite sweet vegetables are sweet potatoes (duh!) and beets. When you roast them, you are not only concentrating the flavors, you're also concentrating the sugars—which I obviously love. And there is so little effort involved: Literally stick them in the oven and roast until you can poke them with a knife without resistance.

I take the the sweet potatoes one step further and roast them again (think: twice baked potatoes!). There is a lot of water in a sweet potato and I think that they taste best when you can caramelize some of those sugars. And all you have to do is break them up in pieces, drizzle with olive oil and salt, and roast until the skins are crispy and the flesh is browned. I have to admit, when I roast a sweet potato like that, I usually just eat it straight off the baking tray because it is so incredibly delicious. But I have avoided that temptation and added a spicy tahini cream to cut through that crispy and creamy caramelly potato. The tahini cream does a great job of filling you up and you feel satisfied but also won't put you to sleep.
Rick Martinez

Watch This Recipe
Roasted & Raw Vegetables With Spicy Tahini Cream
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours
  • Serves 4
  • 3 large beets, preferably with greens attached, scrubbed clean and left whole
  • 1 large sweet potato, scrubbed clean and left whole
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup tahini, well-stirred
  • 7 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¾ cups coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • ¾ cups coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 chile habanero, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons raw peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons raw pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons raw pepitas
  • 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • ¼ teaspoons crushed chile de árbol or red pepper flakes
  • 1 chile poblano, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 grapefruit (your favorite kind), peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1 chile serrano, stemmed, seeded and sliced into rings
In This Recipe
  1. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°. Place beets and sweet potato on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until tender and a paring knife inserted into the thickest part passes through without any resistance, 60 to 80 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on pan. Meanwhile, increase oven temperature to 475°.
  2. Once the beets and sweet potatoes have cooled, transfer beets to a medium bowl and set aside. Break up the sweet potato into 3” pieces with your hands and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast until browned in spots and potato skin is lightly charred, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool on sheet tray, then arrange on a platter.
  3. Using gloves and a parchment-lined cutting board, peel and trim beets; cut into small wedges. Transfer pieces to a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. In a blender, combine tahini, ¼ cup lime juice, garlic, basil, mint, habanero, 2 teaspoons salt, and ¾ cup water. Blend on high until sauce is light green in color and the consistency of sour cream; thin with more water if necessary. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and toast peanuts, pistachios, and pepitas, tossing frequently, until charred in spots, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof bowl. Toast sesame seeds, cumin, coriander, oregano, and chile de árbol in the same skillet, tossing frequently, until sesame seeds are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with toasted nuts; toss to combine.
  6. Cut beet greens into thin strips; toss in 1 tablespoon each lime juice and olive oil; season with salt to taste. Arrange on platter. Toss poblano in 1 tablespoon each lime juice and olive oil; season with salt to taste. Arrange on platter. Toss cooked beets in 1 tablespoon each lime juice and olive oil; season with salt to taste. Arrange on platter. Arrange grapefruit on platter.
  7. To serve, spread a thin layer of spicy tahini cream on a large plate and top with desired vegetables. Sprinkle each serving with toasted nut mixture and top with sliced serrano.

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Rick Martinez

Recipe by: Rick Martinez

Rick Martinez is currently living his dream—cooking, eating and enjoying the Mexican Pacific coast in Mazatlán. He is finishing his first cookbook, Under the Papaya Tree, food from the seven regions of Mexico and loved traveling the country so much, he decided to buy a house on the beach. He is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit, New York Times and hosts live, weekly cooking classes for Food Network Kitchens. Earlier this year, he was nominated for a James Beard Award for “How to win the Cookie Swap” in Bon Appétit’s holiday issue.