Beetroot – παντζάρι – is a wonderfully versatile vegetable and found in lots of Greek recipes. Originally only the greens were eaten, the small root was only used for medical purposes in ancient Greece. Later the larger bulb developed and the beet as we know it today. I was first introduced to it by a friend from eastern Europe who would always have some as a side dish or pickled.
The benefits of eating beets and their greens have been well documented from being a good source of iron and foliate, it’s also spoken about as one of today’s superfoods with claims that it will improve blood pressure, boost your immune system and prevent dementia.
This dish came about after a eating out in a Greek taverna on Rhodes one day. We ordered beet salad expecting slices of beet in olive oil and garlic. Instead we were pleasantly surprised by a beetroot dip, with garlic and a hint of lemon.
Once home I searched around the internet but the beet dips I found were very different from the one we’d tasted. They had walnuts, mint, dill or za’atar but weren’t quite the one we’d had. Armed with yoghurt and beets I experimented a little in the kitchen.
The wonderful pink colour looks happy on a table spread for a party.
Not sure how to cook beetroot? You can either boil or bake it, I prefer to bake mine with the skins still on to keep as much of the goodness in as possible. Scrub your beets and then roast in dish with the lid on at 180C for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours until tender all the way through. Once cooled the skins should wipe off easily.
- 300g Greek yoghurt
- 325g cooled cooked beetroot
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 large garlic cloves crushed
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium sized bowl mash the beetroot with a potato masher. I like to keep small salsa sized chunks in my dip.
- Stir in the yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil until thoroughly mixed.
- Add the salt and pepper to taste.
- Served chilled with breadsticks, chips or vegetable sticks
- It will keep covered for a couple of days in the fridge, simply stir again before serving.
You could try adding a little spice to this, beetroot is sweet enough to take a little heat!
This also goes well as a side dish with salads. It compliments grilled chicken or pork chops and tastes great on a burger.
If you want to find out more about beets and beet recipes check out Just Beet It a great resource for all things beet.
What’s your favourite beetroot recipe? If you enjoyed this recipe and found it useful please comment and share. Thank you.