Raw Beet Dip with Greek Yogurt
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Discovering a vegetable you thought could only be eaten cooked can in fact be eaten raw is always a revelation.
Learning, for instance, I could shred raw beets in my food processor and toss them in a salad was as mind-blowing as discovering I could thinly slice Swiss chard and give it the kale salad treatment.
But these revelations are especially welcomed at the height of the summer, when turning on the oven becomes less appealing with each degree the temperature rises.
Last summer, one of you (thanks Peg!) sent me a link to this Tejal Rao recipe for a beet and walnut dip, which reminded me of this favorite beet-labneh dip from Washington D.C.’s Maydan, but whereas Maydan’s recipe calls for roasted beets, Tejal’s recipe calls for raw, uncooked beets. How. Nice.
For the past two weeks, the beets from our CSA have landed in Tejal’s raw beet dip, and in addition to not cooking the beets, I haven’t been peeling them either. I know: rebel.
Tejal got the recipe from the owners of Botanica, a vegetable-focused restaurant in Los Angeles. Its roots stem to muhammara, the Middle Eastern spread made from red peppers. It includes many classic raw dip flavorings — nuts, lemon, garlic, chile flakes, and olive oil — but it also includes pomegranate molasses, which offers both sweet and tart notes.
As recommended, I’ve been spreading it atop Greek yogurt (or labneh), drizzling over a healthy amount of olive oil, grating fresh lemon over top, and finishing it with a generous garnish of crushed, toasted almonds.
There is so much flavor going on in this dish I don’t know where to begin. On the one hand it’s very familiar: garlic, lemon, toasted nuts, and olive oil evoke many a dip from pesto to romesco. But the tangy pomegranate molasses in combination with the earthy beets pushes it into a category of its own. I find it irresistible.
It has proven not only to be a delicious and striking appetizer — the color, truly is spectacular — but also a nice accompaniment to so many of my current favorite dishes: falafel burgers, homemade pita, and smoky grilled chicken.
As suggested, I’ve been serving it with Persian cucumbers and pita, and in this lethargy-inducing heat wave, its bright, cooling flavors have been just the ticket. I hope it will be for you as well.
PS: Another favorite, easy food processor spread: Black Olive Tapenade
Here’s the play-by-play: Gather your ingredients.
You’ll need to toast the almonds, trim the ends of the beets and roughly chop them, and juice some lemons or limes.
Place all of the ingredients with the exception of the olive oil into a food processor or blender, and purée until smooth. Stream in the olive oil and continue blending until smooth.
You likely won’t get it completely smooth, but a bit of texture in the purée is nice.
On the left: beet dip. On the right: Greek yogurt seasoned with a pinch of salt.
Spread the yogurt over a platter. Spread the beet dip on top. Drizzle olive oil over top. Shave lemon zest over top.
Top with more toasted almonds. Be generous — the crunch is so nice.Print
Raw Beet Dip with Greek Yogurt
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4 to 6
- Diet: Vegetarian
Adapted from this Tejal Rao recipe in The New York Times
A few changes I’ve made:
- I don’t peel the beets.
- I use almonds in place of the walnuts, only because I always have almonds on hand.
- I use Greek yogurt in place of labneh, again, only because I always have it on hand.
Pomegranate Molasses: I like the Cortas brand. Many grocery stores now carry pomegranate molasses, but you may want to call ahead before to make a visit to be sure. If you live locally, Nora’s in Albany carries the Cortas pomegranate molasses.
Almonds or other nuts: I’ve been toasting 1.25 cups sliced almonds in a large dry skillet over medium to low heat until the nuts are evenly golden. 1 cup goes into the dip; 1/4 cup is used for garnish. You may want to toast more if you love almonds.
Greek Yogurt: I love the Fage 5% Greek yogurt. I season it with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and beat it with a spoon to lighten its texture a bit before spreading it over the platter.
Lemon: If you don’t want to waste the zest of the lemon you are juicing, zest it before juicing it, and set it aside. I prefer zesting the lemon right over the tip — I just find it easier — but I understand wanting to zest the lemon before juicing it for conservation purposes.
- 1/2 lb. beets (2-3 small-is or 1–2 medium), ends trimmed, roughly chopped
- 1 cup almonds (sliced or whole), toasted in a dry skillet (see notes above), plus extra for garnish
- 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice, plus zest for garnishing, see notes above
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses, plus more to taste, see notes above
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup labneh or Greek yogurt, for serving, see notes above
- Torn pita, for serving
- 3 Persian cucumbers, quartered, for serving
- Put the beets, toasted almonds, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, chile flakes, garlic, and salt into a food processor or blender. Purée on high until beets and nuts are finely chopped. Scrape down the sides, and blend again, until the mixture is very smooth—you may have to repeat this stopping and scraping process several times to get the mixture as smooth as possible.
- Add the olive oil — I like to add this in a steady stream via the tiny hole of the food pusher insert — and blend again, scraping down the sides, until mixture forms a mostly smooth purée. Taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, additional lemon juice, and pomegranate molasses, if desired. (I’ve consistently been using 1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice and adding a pinch more salt to taste.)
- Spoon labneh or Greek yogurt (seasoned if desired, see note above) into a bowl, smoothing it with the back of a spoon. (Note: You do not have to spread all of the yogurt and all of the dip onto a platter at once — I’ve been assembling small plates of this; then stashing the remainder in the fridge.) Spread the beet dip over top, smoothing again with the back of a spoon. Top with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Zest a lemon over top. Sprinkle with chopped or crushed toasted almonds; top with reserved lemon zest. Serve with pita and cucumbers for dipping.
- Extra dip can be store in the fridge for as long as a week.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Food Processor
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keywords: beets, raw, dip, food processor, pomegranate molasses
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
32 Comments on “Raw Beet Dip with Greek Yogurt”
I’m going to make this very soon. Just curious. Have you ever used orange beets? I often buy a bunch at the farmers market and roast the big ones to use in salads. Three small ones could be used for the dip. Waddya think?
Hi Leslie! I think they would be delicious here. I LOVE raw golden beets for salads, so can’t imagine them being anything but delicious in this dip. Go for it!
Raw beets? I’m in! I love it Ali! I haven’t subscribed to Bon Appetit or Food & Wine for a few years now, so you’ll have to highlight the stand out recipes for me. <3
You’ll love it Dana!
Where do you get pomegranate molasses? What an amazing idea!
Hi! I’ll add a link. I get mine at a local market (Nora’s in Albany), but it’s become more readily available — my Shop Rite carries it, and I’m pretty sure Hannaford’s does as well. Whole Foods definitely carries it. If you have a Trader Joe’s, I would call and ask.
stunning color of course, but love that its raw beets, they have such a unique flavor and sometimes I just crave them, maybe its the earthy flavor or the unique set of nutrients that they contain, but the only time I see them is once in a while thrown on top of a salad, so I really like this, thank you!
Captivated by the description of the raw “bright, cooling flavors” I had to try this. I used walnuts because I had them and accidentally put some Greek yogurt in the dip because I can’t read LOL. It was still delicious. I spooned it over greek yogurt (stirred with lemon juice, salt and zata’ar) and scooped it up with whatever was nearby – tortilla chips, cucumbers, fingers.
I do think you have to know how to tweak the flavor for your palate (my beet was very sweet so I had to balance it out) but I looooove the fresh earthiness of the beets and will definitely keep this in a summer rotation. I bet it would be wicked tossed on pasta salad with some feta, olive oil, arugula…..
Oh yay! So nice to hear all of this! And I totally agree … this is definitely one that needs to be tweaked to taste … more lemon or lime, more pomegranate molasses, more salt, etc. Love your pasta salad idea 🎉🎉🎉
This was AMAZING!!! Thank you for sharing:)
Wonderful to hear this, Tenile!
Another amazing one Ali. I didn’t have the pomegranate molasses in my pantry so I added a bit of preserved lemon purée (extra lemon would have probably worked) and it was so, so good! Satisfying, healthy, and beyond delicious.
So wonderful to hear this, Bev! Preserved lemon sounds perfect here 😍
I recently came across your website and have been hooked on it ever since! Everything I have tired has been delicious. I just made the beet dip today exactly as written, and loved it. My kids ate it up too. Thank you for all the great recipes.
Amazing! So nice to hear this, Millie. Thanks for writing 💕💕💕
Looks amazing! If you don’t have the pomegranate molasses, what can you substitute?
I have pomegranate juice and honey…a little bit of both? Not quite sure the flavor it’s suppose to impart; I was leaning towards sweet.
Hi! In would dry reducing some balsamic vinegar. Start with a quarter cup and simmer it until it reduces by half and begins to get syrupy. That should mimic the sweet-sharp nature of the pomegranate molasses.
I’m trying to decide if I need your no-knead bread book. I’ve had Jim Leahy’s book for years, and have made serious breads from Nancy Silverton, Reinhardt, Hamelman, etc. for decades. I understand metric, dough temp, numerous levains, etc. I’ve heard great things about your book. What will it teach me? Thanks for responding.
Hi Susan! Thank you for your interest. The breads in Bread Toast Crumbs are about as simple as they get — no knead, no mess, no fuss. I have heard from people who make sourdough who love the breads for their simplicity and the ease in which they come together. For beginner bakers, the breads demystify the bread baking process. For anyone who love making bread, however, the book is useful in that the toast and crumbs chapters offer ideas on how to use the day old bread. You can watch three 1-minute videos on this page that sum up each chapter: https://alexandracooks.com/bread-toast-crumbs-cookbook/
Greetings Ali and thank you for sharing your delicious recipes.
Beet root is a favorite and yes, my wife and I like to eat them raw when it has soften with a texture like chewing on guava fruit or even apples.
Some times, we dried them in thin slices and then pulsed them into powder form to be used as natural coloring in red velvet bakes for example.
Once again, thank you for sharing and may good health, happiness and wealth be with you and your loved ones.
Hugo, so nice to hear this! I am so intrigued by your dehydrating method and using it as a powder in red velvet cakes … brilliant!
This is literally one of the best things I have made in years.
could I use cooked beets? love your recipes, I am a big fan! Thank you.
Hi Johanna! I think you could! Use this recipe as a guide: Maydan’s Beet Dip
This recipe is so simple and so delicious! I’ve made it three times now and can’t stop coming back for more. It comes together quickly and is the perfect recipe for using up the red beets we get in our CSA box. LOVE that you don’t need to peel the beets, either! Thanks for a great recipe.
NOT peeling the beets I think is my favorite thing about this recipe 🙂 🙂 🙂 So glad you like this one, Nancy! Thanks so much for writing!
Thank you Ali!
This is brilliant! I love that we neither need to peel or cook the beets (I’m not a fan of the taste of boiled beets and don’t have the patience to roast them — or never have beets on hand when the oven is on).
For once, I made your recipe exactly as written and it is a stellar keeper. Even the DH, who’d suspiciously eyed the raw beets sitting beside the other ingredients.
Love the pomegranate molasses, which I keep around for a wonderful dish of Syrian-style lentils (https://vidarbergum.com/recipe/syrian-lentils/).
Absolutely delicious, served it last night with red-lentil falafel and your quickle veggies. And for lunch today with your pita.
Keep up the wonderful work.
Oh, one thing, though: you should probably up the quantity of toasted almonds to make sure we actually have a cup for the mix — I ate the half-cup that was supposed to top the final presentation!
Great to hear all of this, Carole!! I hate peeling beets, too 🙂 And thank you so much for sharing that Syrian lentil recipe, which looks absolutely divine! I can’t wait to make it. I love lentils, I love pomegranate molasses, I love cilantro, and I have everything on hand to make this tonight. Yay. I will make a note about the almonds!
Wow – this is Delicious!! I found 2 beets when cleaning my garden earlier this week and didn’t know what to do with them and saw this recipe – so good! Couldn’t find the Pomegranate Molasses so used your suggestion of reduced balsamic vinegar – worked great. Your recipes are always so wonderful!
So nice to read this, Mary! And I’m so glad the reduced balsamic worked well here. Thanks so much for writing 🙂