This sweet and tangy tahini beet dressing will brighten up your salads and bowls with its beautiful pink color!
I’m writing this post as an impressive snow storm carries on outside my window. It snowed through the night, it was snowing when I woke up this morning, and it’s supposed to keep snowing tomorrow.
I love snow, and I love winter. But while it’s all shades of gray, white, and black outside, it’s nice to have something colorful and vibrant on my plate. This beautiful tahini beet dressing is just the thing.
Tahini + beets: a perfect match
One of my favorite restaurants in NYC is Urban Vegan Kitchen. It serves up hearty comfort food, along with great music.
The restaurant used to have a grain bowl that I believe was created by Timothy Pakron of Mississippi Vegan. It featured a tahini beet dressing.
I loved everything else in the bowl (tempeh, garlicky kale, quinoa, roasted carrots), but I especially loved that dressing. The tahini beet dressing I’m sharing today is my little tribute to it, and it’s a new favorite around here.
Tahini and beets are a perfect pairing. Tahini can be a little bitter on its own. Beets offset that bitterness with their sweetness. They also lend a beautiful color to what would otherwise be a beige dressing, turning it into a treat for both tastebuds and eyes.
Making tahini beet dressing
The process of making tahini beet dressing is basically simple: blend up a roasted beet, tahini, water, and seasonings. The most time-consuming step in this recipe is roasting your beet.
You only need a single beet for this recipe. It should be a medium or large round beet. (Unless you happen to pick up a beet that looks an awful lot like a sweet potato, like the one that got blended into this dressing!)
My go-to method for cooking beets
As I mentioned when sharing my lentil beet salad, peeling raw beets is one of my least favorite kitchen tasks.
As a result, I always use the same method for cooking beets: I rub them lightly with oil, wrap each of them tightly in foil or parchment, roast them for 45-60 minutes, and then slip the skins off while I run them under cold water.
This is the easiest method I’ve found for preparing beets with minimal fuss, and it’s the method that I use for this recipe.
When you make the tahini beet dressing, you may not wish to go to the trouble of roasting a single beet. Makes perfect sense to me! I’ve been making this recipe when I’m roasting beets, anyway. I roast the whole bunch, and then I set one beet aside for the dressing.
Blend, serve & store
Once the beet is roasted, you simply blend it together with tahini, salt, vinegar, water, garlic, and a little Dijon mustard. You can use either a food processor or a blender for this step, though I think a blender does the job more easily.
The dressing can be stored for up to five days in an airtight container in the fridge. It can also be frozen if you don’t think you’ll use it up that quickly. However, it’s so versatile and tasty that I suspect you’ll have a hard time holding onto it for very long.
Serving tahini beet dressing
The dressing is a little tangy and a little sweet. It’s really nice on a simple, leafy green salad, as you can see above. It’s also nice on grain bowls, and it adds a pop of color to roasted vegetables.
When I was down to the last few tablespoons of my batch of dressing, I discovered that it’s also really nice as a spread in a sandwich or wrap. Try it in place of vegan mayo or hummus for something extra colorful and special.
More wintertime beet recipes
If the looks of the tahini beet dressing have you craving more electric pink recipes, here are a few of my favorites:
Yields: 8 servings
Preheat your oven to 400F. Rub the beet with a light coating of olive oil. Wrap the beet tightly in foil or parchment. Roast it for 45 minutes-1 hour, or until it’s completely tender when pierced with a knife. When the beet has cooled for about fifteen minutes, run it under cold water while you slip off the skin. Cut the beet into quarters.
Blend the beet and all remaining ingredients in a blender or a food processor till they’re completely smooth. Adjust the salt as needed. If the dressing is a bit thick, add in water by the teaspoon.
Serve the dressing over salads, bowls, or on a sandwich. The dressing will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
Many things are tricky about this pandemic winter. We’re all a little burnt out. Cold temperatures don’t make outdoor socializing easy, which spells more isolation and longing for community. Many of us have the sense that things will get a little better this year, but we’re not sure when or how. The uncertainty is exhausting.
I think that one of the best things we can do in the here and now is to simply look for bright spots. They take the form of good books, comforting text exchanges or Zoom calls, juicy TV binges, and bits and pieces of good news from around the world.
Today, my bright spot is a magical, enveloping winter snow storm. It’s the sound of neighborhood kids laughing as they romp through traffic-free streets.
Tasty things to eat are always bright spots, too. This dressing is that kind of bright spot. It’s a literal bright spot, too—something eye-catching and vibrant to remind me of all the beauty out there.
Hope it makes you smile, too. Stay warm, everyone!