I know that beets aren’t for everyone. As a matter of fact, beets are nothing short of polarizing.
As I have revealed before (Beet the Heat, Summer Borscht) I am in the love ’em camp. That wasn’t always the case–I choked down beets for years just because my Grandpa liked them–but somewhere along the way I became a huge fan. Now I enjoy beets so much that I have a hard time understanding why some people find them offensive. They’re sweet and versatile. They can be eaten raw, roasted or boiled–in salads, soups, bakes and purees. And the color! Don’t get me started.
If there is one recipe that might convince you to give beets a chance, I’m hoping that this is it. The goat cheese somewhat mellows the “beetiness” and rounds out the flavor. The za’atar is a nice, subtle spice blend but it can be replaced if you don’t have it on hand. And as far as presentation, I’ve served this both as a dip, as well as spread on individual lightly toasted crostini arranged on a white platter. The effect is nothing short of spectacular. Enjoy!
- 6 medium beets, trimmed (about 1 1/2 lbs)
- 2 small cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 1 c plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 c goat cheese
- 3 Tbls olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tbls maple syrup
- 1 Tbls za'atar*
- french baguette, for dipping (toasted or untoasted)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Place beets in an aluminum foil packet (all edges sealed) and bake until tender, about 1 hour.
- Allow to cool slightly before peeling and cutting into wedges.
- Place beets, garlic, jalapeño, yogurt, goat cheese, oil, maple syrup and za'atar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
- Puree until smooth, taste and season with salt to taste.
- Serve in a bowl with slices of crusty french bread for dipping.
- *Za'atar is a Middle Eastern dry herb blend. If you don't have za'atar, for this recipe you can easily substitute with 1 tsp of dried oregano, 1 tsp of dried thyme and 1 tsp of toasted sesame seeds.