A vibrant, seasonal salad of sweet roasted beets and spiced yogurt, sprinkled with fresh green herbs. You are going to love this South African-inspired side!
You know those days when you have a ton of work to do, but you can’t seem to get anything accomplished, and you’re starting to lose motivation? Then something comes up that is much more fun and you decide to cut your losses and not look back? That was last Friday for me. But, as luck would have it, I was able to salvage a work day… even though it felt like playing hooky.
Here’s how it went down. Too much time had passed since we’d seen our dear friends of “The Smitten” cocktail fame. It turned out my daughter’s cross country meet was in their neck of the woods on Friday night, woo hoo! We decided that with busy schedules, we’d grab takeout after the race and have a casual evening at their place.
But the universe had different plans. When the South African half of the couple realized it was Heritage Day in his homeland, he deemed a proper braai was in order. I’m no expert, but I’ve known him long enough to know this means lots of meat and a big fire… a real South African cookout.
At his request, we scrapped the takeout plan, and she and I instead coordinated to make traditional go-withs, as her husband, a skilled and ardent master of fire, would man the pit.
I turned my attention to researching traditional SA foods. This is my jam! My tasks of scheduling posts and marketing the new cookbook scattered like maple leaves in the wind, as I shifted focus to the food and culture of Heritage Day.
Dessert was a no-brainer. I had made malva pudding before. It’s very traditional, and totally amazing. Give it a try if you aren’t familiar. Seriously delish.
As for my contribution of vedge, I told my friend I was thinking beets, and she snapped a pic from one of her South African cookbooks, and sent it on to me.
Tender, sweet beets marinated in a tangy vinaigrette, served with a thick, garam masala spiced yogurt, and topped with fresh herbs. I tweaked the recipe a bit, roasting the beets for a more concentrated flavor, and decreasing the amount of oil so that the vinaigrette would have more of a punch. I also subbed out the red onion it called for, opting for milder scallions (which I have tons of in my garden). And while I was there, also grabbed a handful of mint to toss in, which I thought would go nicely with the garam masala.
It was so good, and guess what? My afternoon of procrastination turned into this post and recipe… work accomplished! Not only that, but the entire dinner was epic, and between the butternut, fig, feta and hazelnut salad, incredible grilled cheese-like sandwiches made over the fire called braai broodjies, and piri piri prawns and chicken skewers with satay sauce, I’ve got tons of material to put my spin on for upcoming posts! There might even be my take on a malva pudding, too???
Roasted Beets & Spiced Yogurt
For the beets:
- 6 medium beets trimmed and scrubbed clean
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 large garlic clove finely grated
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
For the yogurt sauce and finishing:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons Italian parsley chopped
- 1 scant tablespoon fresh mint chopped
- 1 scallion diced
- Preheat your oven to 375 F. Wrap each beet in a piece of aluminum foil, then place on a baking sheet and roast for an hour, or until tender. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- While the beets are roasting, make the dressing. Whisk all of the ingredients together; the Dijon mustard, garlic, sugar, white wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. Once the beets are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off and slice them into ½-inch rounds. Place them in a bowl, cover with the dressing and let them marinate for at least an hour, or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
- Mix the yogurt with the garam masala, sugar, and salt. This can be mixed ahead and refrigerated. When ready to assemble, smear ¾ of the yogurt on the bottom of a medium, shallow platter. Arrange the beets on top, leaving extra vinaigrette behind (you can save it for a different salad).
- Add the tablespoon of water to the remaining yogurt to thin. If you need more water to thin the mixture enough to drizzle, add it a little at a time, then drizzle it over the beets. Sprinkle with the parsley, mint and scallions and serve.
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