If you’re looking to convert a beet-hater into a beet-eater, this could be a good starting point. Whether the argument about beets is their earthiness, a claim of metallic flavor, or excessive acidity, this recipe counters all of those complaints. The savory, fatty tehina, crunchy toasted nuts, and warm glow of shawarma spice create a balanced set of flavors that can hopefully build the case for giving beets one more chance.
Serves 6 to 8
Total Time: About 2 hours 30 minutes
Active Work: About 20 minutes
6 to 8 beets (6 if they're large, 8 if they're small
generous pour of olive oil
⅓ cup ground toasted pistachios
1 cup tahini
juice of 2 lemons, plus one lemon cut into wedges
6 cloves garlic
1 small bunch mint leaves, removed from stems, divided.
1 teaspoon shawarma spice, optional
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Rinse the beets, then place them in a roasting pan. Lightly coat them in olive oil and sprinkle gently with kosher salt. Cover the pan with foil and roast them until very tender. You can begin to check in on them after an hour of baking - it should be easy to pierce them with a fork. If that’s not the case, check back every 10 minutes or so until they are done.
While the beets roast, toast the pistachios in a pan until fragrant and slightly browned, about 4 minutes. Once they’ve cooled a bit, grind them up into a coarse dust.
Next, make the sauce. Juice the lemons, add it to the food processor with the garlic and a few pinches of salt. Add a handful of mint to the food processor. Pulse until well combined and the tehina has turned a light green color, adding more as necessary. Place in a medium bowl and add the tahini, stir to combine and add cool water a little bit at a time until a smooth sauce forms.
Once beets are ready, remove from the oven and uncover them. When they're cool enough to handle, peel the beets, and cut them into 1 inch chunks.
To serve, add about half the mint tahini to the bottom of a serving dish, followed by the beets. Garnish with a sprinkling of salt, then add the pistachios, mint leaves (a few whole ones look nice), shawarma spice, and zest one of the lemon rinds if you like. Serve slightly chilled, or at room temperature.