I recently attend a thought-provoking and informative conference in California. It was a nutrition and culinary conference, jointly organized by the Harvard School of Public Health and The Culinary Institute of America (CIA). A highlight was that the event was held at the scenic and beautiful CIA campus in Napa Valley. The conference brought together healthcare and culinary professionals to share information about food and health. As part of a hands-on healthy baking workshop, we made a similar beet dip to go with our freshly baked focaccia bread. Super creamy with a kick of garlic and lots of lemon juice, this is a colorful and tangy dip.
- I bunch of beets (about a pound), washed and stems cut close to the tip
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup water
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat the beets with the olive oil and wrap loosely in a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil. Place the foil package of beets on a baking sheet covered in foil. Bake beets for 1 hour or until you can easily pierce the beets with a knife. Once cooled, peel the beets in the foil they were baked in. The skins should come off easily using a paper towel to rub them, or a peeler. You may want to wear disposable gloves as the beets will stain your hands. I roasted the beets a day ahead of making the dip and refrigerated them, but it is not necessary.
In a blender or food processor, combine the roasted beets, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. Blend ingredients together. Slowly add the water as needed to make a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with olive oil and/or lemon zest. Serve with cut-up vegetables, pita bread or crackers. The dip can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.