beets with tahini
Today I have a simple recipe for beets with tahini. it is an easy Middle Eastern inspired side dish with five simple ingredients and ten minutes of active time.
The inspiration for these beets with tahini was from a meal at Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia. When I got home I started playing around beets and tahini. I just wanted to see how uncomplicated I could get with the idea of making a simple beet salad with tahini in it. I wanted to do something similar to these pickled beets, with a tahini twist.
It took a bit of testing to get the balance right. What I found was that the beets and tahini are both very earthy, so they need more salt, olive oil and acidity than I thought they would need. This salad I ended up with is very easy, only 10 minutes of prep, and it has a nice balance of earthiness, creaminess and sweet.
Ingredients For This Recipe
You will need two pounds of beets (weighed without the leaves) for this recipe. Look for beets that are about the same size so that they will cook evenly and at the same rate. If you beets come with the stems and leaves attached, you can use them to make beet green salad or a savory galette.
The shallot adds savory allium flavor to the tahini dressing.
Extra-virgin olive oil
The oil in this recipe is not cooked so the flavors will remain more pronounced in the final dish. For that reason, I like to use a high quality extra virgin olive oil for the dressing.
Red wine vinegar
To balance the earthy flavors of the tahini and beets, acidity is key! I chose red wine vinegar because it is bright and high acid. You can read more about the different kinds of vinegars here.
Tahini is sesame paste used in many Middle Eastern recipes. Here in the US, is most famously used as the ingredient in hummus, but it is widely used throughout Middle Eastern cuisine in a variety of dishes. It has the consistency of thin peanut butter.
Find tahini in the international section of good supermarkets. Once open, stir it well as the oil often rises to the top. I keep mine stored in the refrigerator. It will keep for months!
I discovered it was necessary to use water to thin the tahini to make the dressing. This was the case when I developed this recipe for Lemon Tahini Dressing too. It can get very thick otherwise.
To my surprise this recipe needed more salt than I thought it would. These beets really sucked up a ton of flavor. I used a full teaspoon to balance everything. If you like to use coarse kosher salt, you may have to double it.
Parsley and Sesame Seeds
I love using parsley in Middle Eastern recipes like tabbouleh and Eggplant and Chickpea Salad. This was a delicious and fresh addition to the finished beets and tahini. If you have them sesame seeds would also make a nice garnish.
How To Make These Beets with Tahini
Boil The Beets
- Place beets in a large saucepan. Cover generously with cold water and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a lively simmer and cook, adding water if necessary to keep beets submerged, until they are tender when pierced with a fork, 45 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes depending on the size of the beets.
- Drain and return to the pot. Run cold water over the beets for several minutes to cool them enough to peel.
- Peel by rubbing skin off with fingers or use a paring knife.
- Dice the beets into small cubes.
Make The Dressing
To make the dressing very creamy I like to use an immersion blender, mini prep or food processor to combine it. Puree the shallot, oil, vinegar, tahini, water and salt until the shallot is completely chopped smooth.
Combine Beets and Tahini Dressing
Once the beets are chopped, toss them with the dressing. Transfer them to a serving bowl. To garnish add on chopped parsley and sesame seeds.
You can serve these warm, room temperature or cold! So they are great made ahead and also as a dish to bring to a potluck or for entertaining.
I love lamb and beets together so this recipe for Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebabs would be fantastic!
My recipe for Grilled Za’atar Chicken Burgers with Cucumber Mint Tzatziki would be great as a main course paired with these beets.
More Recipes With Beets and Tahini
- If you are a fan of tahini this Maple Tahini Dressing is one of my all time favorites.
- I used the same combination for this Maple Tahini Roasted Salmon recipe too. It is magic!
- The simplicity of these Roasted Beets is great!
- I am a big humms lover, and tahini is an important part of all of the versions I have here which include Edamame Hummus, Cauliflower Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Black Bean Hummus.
- These Chioggia Beets with Cranberries and Spiced Nuts are so good they are almost life changing.
- I mixed tahini with yogurt to make this Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Tahini Yogurt Sauce.
If you want to learn more about what inspired the restaurant chef to come up with his beet and tahini recipe, check out this article about Michael Solomonov and what inspired him to become the chef he is today plus a recipe for the actual beets at the restaurant.
And be sure to try these Roasted beets with walnuts and dill from a feature about Solomonov in the March/April issue of EatingWell.
If you make this recipe for Beets and Tahini, please let me know by leaving a star rating and review.
Simple beet salad with tahini, red wine vinegar and shallot.
- 2 pounds beets, stem and root ends trimmed
- 1small or ½ large shallot, peeled and chopped
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon warm water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- sesame seeds and parsley for garnish, if desired
- Place beets in a large saucepan. Cover generously with cold water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a lively simmer and cook, adding water if necessary to keep beets submerged, until they are tender when pierced with a fork, 45 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes depending on the size of the beets.
- Drain and return to the pot. Run cold water over the beets for several minutes to cool them enough to peel. Peel by rubbing skin off with fingers or use a pairing knife. Dice the beets into small cubes.
- Puree shallot, oil, vinegar, tahini, water and salt in a mini prep or food processor.
- Toss beets with the tahini sauce and transfer to a serving bowl. Top with sesame seeds and parsley if using.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 187
- Sugar: 12 g
- Sodium: 497 mg
- Fat: 13 g
- Saturated Fat: 2 g
- Carbohydrates: 17 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 4 g