Although the vibrant pink color of this Middle Eastern dip is startling, the flavor is superb. There are many versions. Sometimes the beets are puréed and blended into the yogurt; other times, they are simply sliced or cubed; still other times, a little tahini is blended in for a deeper, richer flavor. In this recipe, the beets are simply grated with the shredding disk of a food processor, then folded into thick, creamy yogurt. Serve as a dip or an accompaniment to fish.
- 2 cups plain low-fat yogurt, drained to 1½ cups
- 8 small beets
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed with a pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh, strained lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Pinch of sugar, optional
- Sprigs of fresh mint for garnish
1. Drain the yogurt to 1½ cups. Cut off all but 1 inch of the beet stalks and leave the roots intact. Rinse the beets well but do not peel. Cook the beets in boiling salted water until tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Drain, slip off the skins under cold running water, and cut away the root ends and stalks. Coarsely grate the beets, using the shredding disk of a food processor or the large holes of a hand grater.
2. Combine the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the beets and yogurt and blend well. Taste and add a pinch of sugar if desired. Transfer to a serving dish, cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint just before serving.