Why should you add beets to a perfectly fine sauce like tahini? Well, to make it even more perfect, actually. Beets are nutrition powerhouses that are high in folate, potassium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin C and a host of other great nutrients. They're also delicious because they're sweet. And what is there not to love about a sweet vegetable?
The reason some people give for disliking beets, apart from having only tasted bad, over-boiled, school cafeteria preparations of them, is that they have a slightly earthy taste. They are, in fact, root vegetables that grow in the ground the same way potatoes do. Usually roasting the beets brings out more of their natural sweetness and tones down the earthiness. But another alternative is to use golden beets instead of red beets.
The golden variety, with its dark yellow/orange peel and yellow flesh, can be a bit sweeter than its red cousin but, most importantly, it's more mellow and has less of the earthy quality some people don't seem to care for.
Tahini and beets are a perfect match in that it's one of the most delicious sauces to pour over roasted beets. The tahini has a nutty sesame taste that goes well with an added touch of sweetness. So blending in the roasted beets adds that little natural sweet flavor to balance the sesame along with a giant boost of nutrition. Here, instead of drizzling the tahini over the beets, we've just blended it in. Serve it with homemade pita chips or chunks of warm pita bread for dipping. Best of all, serve it with an array of cut vegetables for a super healthy snack or appetizer platter.
- 2 small golden beets or 1 large one (you may use red beets if you prefer)
- 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Wrap the beets tightly in aluminum foil and place on a baking dish to catch any drips. Roast in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until the tip of a knife easily pierces the beets. Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle.
- Using a sharp paring knife, peel the beets (the peel should come off very easily) and cut into chunks.
- Add the chunks of beet to a food processor and puree. Then add the sesame paste, garlic clove, water and lemon juice. If you'd like the mixture thinner, continue adding water by the tablespoon until you've reached the desired consistency.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and the red pepper flakes if using.