This week the young woman living with us cooked (with her boyfriend) a surprise dinner for us; she chose a few vegan and vegetarian recipes, and this was the appetizer. It was amazing, and well worth sharing! The beet gives a vibrant touch to the meal, and the flavor combinations are almost addictive.
4 small beets, scrubbed & boiled until tender (or pre-boiled beets)
1 cup walnuts
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
3 teaspoons sherry vinegar or lemon juice
a few fresh herbs, such as coriander (OR thyme, sage – your taste choice!)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup Greek yogurt (optional, to make it a bit more creamy if you’d like)
If you are using fresh beets: Cover the beets with water in a small pot and bring to a boil; simmer until tender, 30-40 minutes (less time if you chop them up first). Drain the water from the pan, then run cold water over the beets, removing stems and skins (which should slip right off now).
Walnuts: In a frying pan, dry-roast the walnuts, stirring constantly, until they smell toasty. Let them cool and, optionally, rub them in a dishtowel to remove more of their skins (which can be bitter).
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, blend the beets, walnuts, garlic, sherry vinegar, herbs and salt; scrape down the side of the bowl every now and then. Blend until the mixture looks like a coarse puree.
With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, then the yogurt (optional).
Taste the mixture and add more salt or vinegar as needed, then scoop into a bowl and serve with fresh veggie sticks, crackers, bread or pita chips.