Greek παντζάρι, beetroot, are abundant in the market this time of year.


To me, this humble and earthy vegetable is a perfect deep holiday red. It was the perfect thing for creating a salad for our staff Christmas buffet lunch last month. It looked quite festive on the table.


Roast Beetroot Salad with a Walnut & Yoghurt Dressing
A hybrid Turkish-Greek winter beetroot salad. It makes enough for an offering on the buffet table for a party.

  • 6 large beetroot
  • 600g Low fat yoghurt
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 175g Walnuts
  • Olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • Fresh dill (about 2 – 3 Tablespoons chopped)
  • Salt

First roast roast the beetroot. Preheat your oven to 190 degrees C (about 375 degrees F). Cut the stalks and greens from the root and set aside. These will also be used on the salad.

Top and tail the beetroot. Clean and then rub it with a little olive oil. Wrap each root ball in foil. Place in oven. I placed mine together in a shallow casserole pan. Bake for about 1 hour.

Take them out of the oven and let them cool in their packets. When the beetroot is cool enough to handle, unwrap and peel the skin with the aid of a knife. It is also wise to wear rubber gloves if you don’t want red hands. Set the beetroot aside while you deal with the greens and make the yoghurt dressing.

Wash the reserved stalks and greens, dicarding any that are not fresh looking. Chop coarsely. To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the greens and stalks and cook for about 10 minutes until the stalks are tender. Drain in a colander and gently press as much water out as possible.

Once cooled to room temperature, place the greens in a bowl and dress with 1 Tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice) and a good lashing of olive oil. Set aside.

To make the dressing, place the yoghurt in a bowl. Finely chop the walnuts and mash the garlic with a little salt until it is a paste. Mix walnuts and garlic with yoghurt. Add a little olive oil, the other 1 Tablespoon of balsamic (or lemon juice) and taste, adjusting seasoning with a little salt if necessary.

To assemble the salad, lay the cooked and dressed greens on a large oval platter, spreading out in a layer. Cut the beetroot in half, top to bottom. Then slice the halves in half moon shapes, about 1cm thick. Lay the beetroot slices on the greens in overlapping rows, leaving a little space down the centre. Dress the beetroot with a little olive oil. Spoon the yoghurt dressing in the centre trough. Chop the fresh dill and sprinkle over both the beets and the yoghurt. Serve.


  1. So envious of that beautiful bunch of beets still with the leaves attached. I fume every time I shop for beets, all trimmed within an inch of their life. Love the sound of the dressing, I l’ve beets and yoghurt together but Have never added walnuts to the equation

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    • The walnut addition, I think is Turkish, but I may be wrong. It is a kind of winter tzatziki. I know what you mean by the beet greens (or any other edible greens – like kohlrabi or even radish) that are hacked off before they make it to the market. In the UK they even sell beets boiled, skinned and vacuum packed and still stack them in the produce section. I will either have to grow my own or seek out farmers markets when we return.

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  2. I love beetroot and the thought of a creamy, nutty topping sounds like all kinds of awesome! I usually tend to go with feta, lemon and parsley with roasted beetroot – more acidic/salty flavours, so I’m keen to try this for something different. I love the formal presentation on the big platter too.


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