We planted some chiogga beets this year. Ordinarily I buy vegetable plant seedlings and transplant them into our raised garden beds. But because these are heirloom beets we ordered the seeds online and that meant planting them ourselves. So we’re kind of proud of these beets. It was fun for the boys to see what comes from a little seed they planted themselves. Here’s Nathaniel with a few of our crop.
We may have let them grow a little bigger than what is best for flavor. Smaller beets tend to be tastier.
Here’s what chiogga beets look like when you slice them. They are kind of mesmerizing if you stare too long.
Even though chiogga beets would have worked perfectly well in this roasted beet and cucumber salad, the ones I used this time were “regular” beets. Still delicious, still beautiful and nutritious – cancer-fighting, actually. I remember my aunt Norma making a beet and cucumber salad when I was a kid. I have no idea what was in it other than beets and cucumbers and some sort of creamy sauce. But I do remember it was really tasty so you might say this recipe is an homage to Aunt Norma!
The yogurt dressing in this version is close to a tzatziki sauce with garlic and mint. I just love the combination of cool cucumbers, sweet roasted beets with a garlicky yogurt sauce. It’s a perfect (primal) summer side dish.
Roasted Beet and Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Dressing
- 1 pound beets
- 1 English cucumber (large, approximately 16 inches)
- one small red onion, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
Garlic Yogurt Dressing
- 1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt (for dairy-free use paleo mayo)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- Cut the greens from the beets and reserve. (You could use them in this beet greens with garlic recipe!)
- Cut off the very top of each beet and clean them thoroughly.
- Wrap the beets in foil and roast at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Unwrap the beets and allow them to cool until warm but cool enough to handle. Remove the skin from the beets with your fingers or a paper towel. Slice the beets and cucumbers into uniform pieces. Slice the red onion and add to a medium-large bowl with the beets and cucumbers.
- For the yogurt dressing, combine the minced garlic, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. (You can allow this to marinate for a while if you prefer.) Add the yogurt, dill and mint and stir until well-combined.
- Pour the garlic yogurt dressing onto the vegetables and stir gently.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate.
- Serves 6-8
It was so gorgeous I couldn’t stop taking pictures.
Even the spoon was pretty.
This roasted beet and cucumber salad gets even better after being in the refrigerator for a few hours. With time it gets even more purple (purpler?). I like to prep it early in the day, allow it to hang out in the refrigerator and get nice and cold until time for dinner. It goes particularly well with wild salmon cooked with a lemon/dill sauce.
In the interest of full disclosure I have to admit neither one of my boys will eat this salad. Boo! One of them likes cucumbers but not beets and the other one likes beets and not cucumbers. Sigh. This is the story of my life with them. But, hey, they appreciate the beauty of the dish and that’s at least something.
UPDATE: A few people have asked about non-dairy options. After asking around with some family members, I confirmed the original recipe used mayo. So I recommend you substitute some homemade paleo mayo for the Greek yogurt. You may want to use slightly less mayo or at least start with less and increase the quantity to get the flavor and consistency you prefer.
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