Mashed Beetroot with Yogurt and Za’atar

Following my brilliant day with Yotam Ottolenghi in the Summer, I finally got around to making this delicious earthy, yet fresh and spicy beetroot dip. Serve as part of a mezze or as a light lunch or evening meal with some baked feta and pitta or khobez. Makes a welcome change to the ubiquitous hummus.

You can find za’atar in any Arab or Middle Eastern grocers. There are several different versions around but most are based on thyme, sesame seeds and sumac.

250g cooked (roasted or boiled) beetroot – peeled and cut into chunks
1 clove garlic – chopped
1 red chili – chopped (remove the seeds if you don’t want it too spicy)
125g or so of grrek yogurt
75g mashed potato – not essential but takes a bit of the edge off the earthiness of the beets
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon za’atar
a little black pepper
salt to taste
2 spring onions to garnish – finely sliced

Place the beetroot, chili, garlic and yogurt in a food processor and blend until smooth. Don’t worry if you have a few smallish lumps of beetroot. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the potato, vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, za’atar, salt and pepper.

Transfer to a flattish plate and spread evenly. Top with sliced spring onion. You can also add some chopped hazelnuts and crumbled goat of feta cheese.

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