Jack’s Wife Freda’s Spiced Beet Dip ~*Recipe ReDux*~

23 Nov

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I am a member of a community of health and dietitian bloggers called The Recipe Redux. The Latin “redux” means to revisit or reinvent, and the aim of The Recipe Redux is to reinvent the idea of healthy eating with a taste-first approach.

Each month, members of this community receive a unique recipe challenge. This month’s challenge is: Naturally Colored Holiday Treats and Trimmings. Holiday feast season is upon us. But there’s lots of room on the table for brightly-colored, nutritious foods. Show us your sweet or savory, naturally-colored/naturally-dyed holiday fare.

For this month’s Recipe ReDux post, I was inspired by a dish I recently ate at Jack’s Wife Freda in New York City. The spiced beet dip on the “shares” section of the dinner menu is wonderful. The dip is a bright pink/fuchsia color and it is served warm with fluffy pita bread. I recently went to the restaurant with a group if Registered Dietitians that I went to school with. We ordered a bunch of food to share and this beet dip stood out to me.

Jack’s Wife Freda also has a great breakfast/brunch menu full of healthy and brightly colored ingredients, like the green shakshuka pictured below.

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So when this month’s Recipe ReDux challenge was to create a naturally colored holiday treat, I immediately thought of beets. They add a beautiful pop of color and have a lot of nutritional benefits.

Beets are an excellent source of folate, and they contain antioxidants known as betanins and betalains that come from the deep red color of the beet. Antioxidants play a role in protecting the body against oxidative stress, thus helping prevent cancer and heart disease. Beets also contain dietary nitrate, which may help lower blood pressure.

Beets are usually are available year-round, so seek them out and include them in your regular rotation of vegetables.

Other ways to enjoy beets: 

-Roasted and served with a soft cheese or yogurt or roasted alongside a medley of other root vegetables

-Roasted and blended into a smoothie

-Peeled and grated raw into a salad or added into a smoothie 

-Simmered and turned into a soup

-As a ” dye” to make beet pickled eggs

-In desserts. Think Beet Red Velvet Cake…

This holiday season, whip up this spiced beet dip as an appetizer or side dish. Serve with a hefty sprinkle of Mediterranean za’atar spice, and warm pita bread or raw vegetables for dipping.

Jack’s Wife Freda’s Spiced Beet Dip

Makes 2-3 cups; serves ~4-6

Recipe from Eater via Jack’s Wife Freda: Cooking From New York’s West Village

Ingredients:

1½ pounds red beets (roughly 3 medium beets)
8 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup tahini
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon za’atar
2 tablespoons crumbled feta (optional)
Pita, for serving

Directions:

Heat oven to 350F. Peel the beets and cut into quarters. In a small bowl, toss beets with the garlic and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place in a baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and roast for 30 minutes. The beets will be very tender when a small knife is inserted in the middle (be sure to test out a few larger pieces); if the beets are not easily pierced, roast for an additional 15 minutes and test again.

*Note: this is a small amount of beets, so I used a loaf pan for roasting.

Let the beets and garlic cool slightly, then place them in a food processor or high powered blender with the tahini, lemon juice, salt and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Blend for 3 minutes or until the mixture is very smooth. Transfer to a plate for serving or into a container and refrigerate.

To serve, sprinkle za’atar over the dip, add the optional crumbled feta cheese on top, and finish with an extra drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

Place pita directly over the gas stove flame and warm it up, about 30 seconds on each side. Cut into triangles and serve with the dip. Alternatively, warm the pita in a low temperature oven or in a towel in the microwave.

Approximate Nutritional Information:

If serves 4 (does not include za’atar, feta or pita):

Total Calories: 245; Total Fat 22 g; Saturated Fat 3 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 357 mg; Carbohydrate 11 g; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Protein: 4 g

If serves 6 (does not include za’atar, feta or pita): 

Total Calories: 164; Total Fat 14 g; Saturated Fat 2 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 238 mg; Carbohydrate 8 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Protein: 3 g

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