Thursday, January 5, 2012

Beetroot Dip: An Aussie Favorite

We’ve been home from our holiday in Australia for a week now and I’m still basking in the post-vacation glow ... good thing since we are having our share of rain and wind! I am thinking back on certain moments – like digging my toes into warm sand – as I sit here watching the lashing tree limbs and rain on the window. Remembering glorious tastes, such as mangoes, ginger beer and curried vegetable pies, helps me hold onto the sun.

I have a deep love of beets and their earthy, sweet flavor so I was delighted to find a variety of beetroot dips in the Aussie markets, including ones with horseradish or pureed chickpeas. I’d never thought of beets as a dipping option before and was intrigued.

After sampling quite a few, I decided the one our friend, Bev, made and brought to Christmas dinner was the best (I’ve noticed she always appears with the most wonderful goodies!). This one included walnuts, garlic and red wine vinegar and she graciously shared the recipe with me. I couldn’t wait to get home and make it.

When shopping for beets this week, I found the largest I’ve ever seen – 2 1/2 pounds each! I bought two and have a lovely stash of roasted beets in my fridge now. The dip has a pure beet flavor with hints of garlic and brightness from the vinegar. This will be a staple in my kitchen now. It’s a wonderful vegan appetizer or unique salad next to grilled fish, and can be made gluten-free if you use cooked potato in place of the bread crumbs.

I indulged heavily in beet eating on this trip. I enjoyed the Aussie tradition of putting roasted beets and fried eggs on burgers, and when I popped into a fresh juice stand I couldn’t resist ordering the jimbo - beetroot, carrot, ginger, apple and pear juice (I was inspired to pull my juicer out this week and just made my own jimbo).

Creating favorites at home keeps a bit of Australia with us and makes me happy. My sons’ favorite beverage was ginger beer, so I’m fermenting a batch. They can sip it while watching cricket! And I have curried vegetable pies on my list to try my hand at. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll have the pleasure of eating mangoes as juicy and sweet as the ones we enjoyed in Australia, so that will have to wait until the next visit.

This wombat crossing sign makes me smile!

As did spotting an echidna (a spiny anteater).

Beetroot Dip
From Bev Reilly
Originally from the Ormylia Monastery in Macedonia
Makes about 1 1/4 cup

6 ounces beets, roasted and peeled
4 tablespoons walnuts, toasted
1 ounce bread crumbs or boiled potato (for gluten-free option)
1 clove garlic
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste (I used 1 teaspoon)

Place all the ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Serve as an appetizer with crackers or crudités, or as a salad alongside grilled fish.


  1. amazing, love the idea and how easy it look. Will have to try this soon.

  2. @Pranee Halvorsen
    Thank you, Pranee! I hope you enjoy it. Happy New Year to you!

  3. I just love the color of anything made with beets--gorgeous! My dad is a HUGE fan of ginger beer; you'll have to let me know how your batch turned out.

  4. Oooohhh my... The next time I buy a beet I'm totally trying this. My husband hated beets until last year when I started roasting them. (I like them raw, pickled, canned, roasted, boiled whatever). So anyway, long story short, this looks awesome!

  5. Welcome back - your trip sounded amazing! Looking forward to the ginger beer posts. Love it, and love a Dark and Stormy (just add rum)

  6. @Lauren
    I agree, Lauren ... beets have a beautiful color. I'm excited for the ginger beer - it was fun to visit the home brew store and discover more cool fermenting ideas, too.

  7. @Brooke
    Thank you, Brooke! I'm so happy your husband has joined you in enjoying beets, and roasted ones are heavenly. I'm with you - I'll take them in any form!

  8. @Lisa (this litttle piggy)
    Ohh, I like your Dark & Stormy suggestion, Lisa! I'll definitely mix up a few of those.

  9. There's a teensy little storefront in East Boston selling Australian goodies like meat pies, vegetable curry pies and Marmite. Sadly, no beets. I make a similar dip although I use almonds and temper the garlic by roasting it first. So good!

  10. @Molly
    I'm envious of that storefront in Boston! I'll have to visit it the next time I'm there. I like that you roast your garlic for your beet dip - sounds delish!


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