Friday, August 28, 2015

Keep The Beet With This Colorful Treat!

This week, Tiny tried beets for the first time. What surprised her the most was how bright and colorful fresh beets could be… just like carrots! Even the ordinary red beets that look dark and strange at the market are full of vibrant purple juice. She decided she wanted to learn how to make something for lunchtime and this colorful, electric pink dip is a perfect mid-day pick-me-up.

Closely related to the Greek cucumber and yogurt sauce, tzatziki (listen here for help with pronunciation), this recipe combines cooked red beets with creamy Greek yogurt, lemon, and herbs for a bright, tangy-sweet sauce. 

You will definitely want to use fresh beets instead of canned. Some grocery stores sell peeled and cooked fresh beets, which work great if you can find them; for the rest of us, cooking instructions are included below. Do keep in mind that beet juice stains easily, so this might be a good time to wear an apron!

The dip is loaded with calcium, protein, and vitamins, so it will help keep you strong and healthy, but Tiny is sure that the best part is the taste! Try it with soft or crispy pita bread, raw veggies, or even falafel balls.

1 pound red beets (about 4 tennis-ball sized beets), greens removed and scrubbed
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups whole milk plain Greek yogurt 
    (or 2% if you prefer)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
Juice of ½ a lemon or 1-2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice
Salt to taste

Have an adult help with chopping the garlic and herbs before you get started.

Cooking the Beets
Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil and add the beets. They should all fit easily and be fully submerged to cook evenly. Cook the beets at a low boil for 20-30 minutes, or until they are soft when you poke them with a knife.

Beet tzatziki can be eaten right away with raw veggies, pita, or falafel, but it gets even better if you let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. Tiny usually makes this in the morning for lunch or an afternoon snack, but you can even make it day ahead if you prefer. This recipe makes just about 3 cups of beet tzatziki– plenty for lunch for 2 adults and 2 kids. Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days. 

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This post created by Kat Craddock
Recipe adapted from Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean by Ana Sortun
Photo credits: Cassie Sciortino

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