Beetroot and Yoghurt Salad

Beetroot and yoghurt seem to be a match made in heaven. The sweetness of the beetroot complements the natural tartness of the yoghurt. Various combinations are found all over the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean. For some reason it’s also very popular in Sweden. I’ve presented two recipes here: the absolute simplest and a delicious posh version that’s just scrumptious.

Simplest Beetroot and Yoghurt Salad

Simplest Beetroot and Yoghurt Salad

This is so simple that it hardly counts as a recipe, but it tastes delicious nonetheless. Reduced to its minimum, chop some peeled cooked beetroot into cubes or whatever shape you like, and then stir in just enough yoghurt to coat it all. Enjoy with crusty white bread. You can add a little crushed garlic but be careful as it can dominate the taste. I prefer keeping it simple.

Posh Beetroot and Yoghurt Salad

Posh Beetroot and Yoghurt Salad

This delicious recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook. It’s a bit more work than the previous recipe but still pretty straightforward and can be done in stages. It adds dimensions with a great relish and lashings of dill. The relish can be used in other situations too, such as in chicken sandwiches. I’ve suggested using ready-cooked beetroot as this saves time and there are plenty of good suppliers out there.

Summary

Makes: 4 portions
Preparation: 10 mins + 25 mins + 10mins

Ingredients

1kg
4 h.tbsp
1 small
160g
.
Relish
.
2
3 tbsp
1½ tsp
400g
2 cloves
1 tsp
4
2 tbsp
2 tbsp
Cooked beetroot (peeled)
Fresh dill
Red onion (very finely sliced) (optional)
Greek or thick natural yoghurt
.
.
.
Yellow peppers
Olive oil
Coriander seeds
Can of chopped tomatoes (with juices)
Garlic (crushed)
Sugar
Preserved lemons
Chopped flat leafed parsley
Chopped coriander
.
Salt
Pepper
.
Aluminium foil

Method

First, prepare the peppers for roasting. Preheat the grill. Carefully cut around the top of the peppers and pull on the stalk to take out the seeds. Place on the foil under the grill for about 20 minutes, turning as needed until nicely charred all over. Form a parcel around the peppers using the foil and let cool. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil. When hot, add the coriander seeds and fry for 30 seconds or so. Add the tomatoes, garlic and sugar. Season with salt and pepper, but go easy on the salt as the preserved lemons are quite salty. Let this just come to the point of boiling, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. During this time you can prepare the preserved lemons. Cut each into four using the existing cuts as guides. Cut away and discard the flesh leaving just the skin. Cut this into small squares. Wash away the excess salt with cold water. Then add to the tomatoes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove the relish from the heat, stir in the parsley and coriander, and leave to cool completely.

When the peppers are cool, remove from the foil, peel and cut into strips and stir these into the relish. If you prepare the peppers a little ahead of time, you can add them to the relish at the same time as the parsley and coriander. In this case, the flavour is even better.

To assemble the salad, cut the beetroot into wedges and place in a mixing bowl. Add the relish, half of the dill, and onion, if using. Mix well but gently with a wooden spoon or spatula. Check the seasoning. Transfer to a large shallow serving bowl and spoon the yoghurt fairly evenly over the beetroot. Stir around just a little to create a marbled effect. Sprinke with the remaining dill.

Enjoy with some crusty white bread.

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