MAKES: 1 quart

Ingredients

2 lbs. beets, with stems and greens intact
3 cups Greek yogurt
5 cloves garlic, in scant 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Fresh thyme
1 tablespoon sumac
1 tablespoon za’atar
pinch of cayenne

reserved beet stems (about 1 cup)
¼ cup white vinegar
½ teaspoon dried oregano
3-4 small red chilies
1 teaspoon sugar

Directions

For beet puree:

Wash beets, remove stems and set aside. Chop beets in half, and place skin side up in a large roasting pan with 1 cup of water, a pinch of salt and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Roast in the oven at 450°F for about 45 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife. When cool enough to handle, remove skins and place cooked beets in a food processor.

In a small sauté pan, gently poach garlic cloves in olive oil on medium low heat until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and olive oil to the food processor. Add yogurt, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, sumac, za’atar and cayenne.

Puree until mixture is smooth. Use as a spread for sandwiches or as a dipping sauce for pita or vegetables. It’s also fabulous on its own as a thick soup!

For pickled beet stems:

Wash beet stems, separate from greens. Roughly chop greens (you can sauté greens with a little garlic, olive oil and salt and eat as a wonderful side dish), and dice stems into small pieces about ¼ of an inch thick. In a medium bowl, add vinegar, a pinch of salt, sugar, oregano, and red chiles, and let pickle on the countertop, covered with plastic wrap, for 4- 5 hours. You can leave the chiles out for a less spicy version.

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