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Beet Tzatziki

A bright and beautiful dip that’s sure to delight the eyes as well as the tastebuds.

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with OonaghAdapted from ”Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean,” by Ana Sortun (Regan Books)


I first tasted this dip when I had lunch at Café Sofra, Ana Sortun’s cafe in Boston. Then I went out and bought fresh beets at Russo’s the same day to make salad with goat’s cheese, orange herb vinaigrette, oranges, beets, caramelized pecans. I used half of beets to make this salad/dip, using ingredients based on what was available. I bought a small (probably only 3/4 cup of this salad in 2011 for $6, a very good reason to make this yourself if you regularly have these ingredients) and the beets were grated to about the size of a grain of raw rice.

I also made this recipe with plain SoDelicious coconut milk yogurt alternative 5.3 oz tub in my local market. SoDelicious brand only contains organic coconut milk, organic coconut sugar, rice starch, less than 2% of calcium citrate, pectin (a thickener) live and active cultures, vitamins D2 and B12. I thought SoDelicious had a definite coconut taste and was thinner than Greek yogurt, but if you can’t eat dairy yogurt then it was a good substitute in this recipe.


  • 8 oz (225g) of fresh cooked beet/beetroot, about 2 medium beets
  • 1/2 c (4 oz) Greek vanilla yogurt. You can use plain yogurt and add some honey to reduce tang to your taste
  • 2 tbsps (30 ml) green of green onions (scallions, spring onions), finely scissored
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh dill chopped or 4 small leaves of mint chopped (I had fresh mint but not fresh dill. Be very careful with spearmint, it is very powerful. You can always add more, but can’t remove)
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil, not extra virgin as it’s too strong.
  • Pinch of garlic powder or 1 teaspoon roasted garlic.
  • 1 tsp (5ml) white balsamic vinegar, I use Trader Joe’s as it’s white. I didn’t want to cut into a fresh lemon for just a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Please don’t use bottled juice.


  1. Cover beets with cold water, bring to the boil and cook for about 30-40 minutes until tender. I usually cook the beets in my electric pressure cooker, about 8-10 minutes. Electric pressure cookers cook at 12lbs/psi not 15 lbs of regular pressure cooker, so times need to be adjusted – I add roughly 20% more time for electric pressure cooker and write times in cookery book. I’ve never been happy with roasting beets and why would I turn the oven on just for a few beets?
  2. When cool enough to handle, rub skins off beets, they will stain your hands.
  3. I cut my beets into tiny cubes and use the fine shredding blade of my food processor to approximate the tiny pieces of beet from Café Sofra. Large cubes would have shredded into long pieces like coleslaw. You can also just cut peeled, cooked beet into small cubes for more texture and not shred. I have also shredded the cooked beet in a small hand held cheese grater, like the French moulinex grater or Zylis cheese grater. I have tried peeling the raw beet, cutting it into small cubes with a fluted cutter and pan frying. It still took over 30 minutes to gently pan fry with some oil.
  4. I often put all the fresh herbs in a coffee mug and use sharp scissors to chop as fine as I like. This is quicker than knife on a chopping board. And doesn’t stain a chopping board.
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except beets. Stir well and add beets. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve. The original recipe used far more yogurt in relation to beets.

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