Middle Eastern Inspired Roasted Beet and Garlic Dip

 A peek at the little Middle Eastern inspired dinner spread I made, including a take on Israeli salad, roasted carrots on a labneh zhoug sauce, roasted lamb, and roasted beet and garlic dip. 

A peek at the little Middle Eastern inspired dinner spread I made, including a take on Israeli salad, roasted carrots on a labneh zhoug sauce, roasted lamb, and roasted beet and garlic dip. 

Modern takes on Middle Eastern cuisine are really having a moment here in L.A., and I couldn't be happier about it. I'm in love with the vibrant flavors,  use of fresh veg, and the depth of some of my favorite spices like cumin, coriander, and aleppo pepper.

I grew up in the SFV, so I was thankfully exposed to Israeli and Persian food from a very young age. The use of herbs, fresh crisp veg, and plenty of spices without a ton of grease or fat has always really hit home for me. And there's so much more to it than just hummus! (I have a story on this coming up for one of my outlets, never fear.)

I'm always on the lookout for new ingredients from the region beyond the old faithfuls we know and love (I see you, tabouleh), so when I was browsing the fridge section of TJs a few weeks ago, I noticed a vibrant magenta dip that I knew I had to try: roasted beet and garlic. I immediately started prosthelytizing its awesomeness to anyone who would listen, knowing how quickly TJ's can discontinue items that don't sell. Sadly the past few trips to the market it's been gone, so I decided to take matters into my own hands, ordering the ingredients I'd read off the label to be delivered via local online grocer, Milk and Eggs. They also had some awesome rosewater kombucha from Better Booch, which went really nicely with the whole spread. 

This is really one of those "recipes" that you need to be tasting to get the right ratio for you, but here's how I did it.

Ingredients:

3 whole beats, cleaned and destemmed 

10 cloves of garlic, peeled

2 lemons, juiced

2 heaping tablespoons tahini

1 cup olive oil 

1 tablespoon cumin 

Salt and pepper to taste 

Aluminum foil

Method:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lay out a large sheet of aluminum foil. Place cleaned beets in the center, along with the garlic cloves. Wrap the beets and garlic up in a satchel like package, then drizzle in approximately 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the package, along with some salt and pepper. Cook your beets for approximately 45 minutes to an hour, depending on size. They will be knife tender, so just test them at 45 to see how they're doing. Remove and let them cool for at least 15 minutes. 

Place all the remaining ingredients into the blender. I have a Vitamix so I used that cool paddle tool that you can use to push things down when things got chunky. Blend til it's a dip consistency, but not til it's super smooth. 

Chill and serve with pita chips, sliced watermelon radishes, as a spread on sandwiches, or as a base for avocado toast, and prepare to be wowed.