spicy, lemon-roasted beet Greek yogurt dip


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I’ve got something for the picnic that we’ve been dreaming about.

It’s worthy of your double-dipped chips. Oh, boy.

It’s spicy like the salsa that you usually bring along, but in a smooth and suave kind of way.

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It’s thick and creamy enough for dangling celery and carrots and for spreading across warm, toasted pita. We can douse grape tomatoes in it and we can smear it on top of sandwiches instead of mayonnaise, or along with mayonnaise, in place of dijon mustard, or along with dijon mustard. If we wanted to, we could even thin it out with more olive oil and toss it with baby greens and arugula and shaved parmesan and more pepper. I’ve even served it with these patties.

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So, if you’ve got some crisp veggies that are ready to be served up raw, go ahead and invite this bright dip to tag along. Once the beets and the yogurt are whipped together and tangy, squeeze them over generously with lemon juice — it keeps the dip perky and fresh. The guacamole will be green with envy.

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And postscript, since we’re on the topic, if I were you, I’d lay my picnic blanket, topped with roasty dips like this one and pita and veggies, and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, and tunes, and whatever else you can think of, in this spot: because it’s already soft with fallen confetti-petals.

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Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem.
  • ~4 small beets
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Rinse the beets and wrap individually in foil. Roast about 1 hour or until tender when pierced with a fork. Set beets aside to cool slightly, then peel and chop. Allow chopped beets to cool completely.

Once cool, place the beets, into a food processor with the garlic, red pepper flakes and yogurt. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle with chopped parsely and toasted sesame seed. Serve at room temperature with fresh veggies or warmed pita and crumbled feta cheese.

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