As a Russian person, I love eating Beets, or Beetroot as it's known in the Europe and Australia. Growing up we ate all things Beets, from Beet Borscht to fermented Beet Kvass. One day, my website will have many recipes and ideas of how to use beets!
Beets are not as popular in North America as they are in Europe. Maybe it's due to the cultural differences or simply differences in taste buds. Moving to Australia, I found the Aussies love eating beets more than I saw in North America, they even put it on their hamburgers. This recipe is actually a Russian Beetroot Caviar (Свекольная икра). I had to name this recipe Beetroot Dip, because very few people search for Beet Dip, and even less for Beet Caviar. I'm thinking because of the reasons I just mentioned. But why do people eat beets?
Are Beets Healthy?
Yes! One of benefits of eating beets is the high amount of nutrients and low amount of calories. Beets are thought to help control high blood pressure, and help prevent heart attacks and strokes. It's also said to assist with chronic inflammation, digestive health and is full of antioxidants. It's a great part of a balanced diet, which is tasty and good for you.
What is Beetroot Caviar?
There is absolutely no caviar or fish products in Beetroot Caviar. It's a delicious Russian appetizer known as zakuski, which is served on Rye bread. It's not what people think when they think of the word caviar. This recipe is another variation of Russian Eggplant Caviar, which is a poor man's vegetable caviar. A fancy name for the common people. It's a mixture of vegetables, mostly beetroot and carrots, with fried garlic, onion and spices. All the vegetables are grated on a grater, served rustic style on bread. It can also be put in a food processor to make a smooth beetroot spread or dip. Commonly made in the summer and canned to be enjoyed during the winter.
There are different ingredients you could add to this Beetroot Caviar. Some people will finely chop a dill pickle into the mix, you can add a bit of tomato paste, red peppers, zucchini or even walnuts. I prefer my simple rustic classic Beet Caviar recipe.
Is Beet Dip Vegan?
There are many variations of Beetroot Dip. This recipe is a traditional Russian Beetroot Caviar, which happens to be vegan, dairy free, gluten free. Who knew old fashioned recipes could be in style again. There are different ingredients that are added to Beetroot Dip from around the world. Sometimes people will mix in feta cheese, greek yogurt, cream cheese or quark. All this of course makes it not a vegan Beetroot recipe.
How to make Beetroot Dip
The hardest part of this recipe is boiling the beets until they are soft and ready to be grated. Depending on the size of your beets, it could take up to an hour of them to be done. Boil them until they pierce easily with a fork, cut them in half to speed up cooking time.
From here, it's easy to grate the ingredients and fry them together. The carrot is more dense when caramelizing, and requires water to soften when frying. Instead of plain water, I add the beet juice water from when I was boiling the beets. The ground coriander is added to taste, start with half a teaspoon and adjust as per your taste. Throw all the ingredients into a food processor or use an Immersion blender.
What to serve with Beetroot Dip?
The classic Russian way to to spread it over a nice piece of Black Rye Bread, which you can sometimes find in an European Deli store. Any Rye will do, except pumpernickel, in my humble opinion! Some will The westernized way would be to eat this with crackers, sliced carrot sticks or vegetables. If you find small blinis used as appetizers, they work well too!
You're going to want to add this colorful Beet Dip to your appetizer repertoire. A vegan, gluten free, dairy free, vitamin packed snack. Perfect for your next holiday party of summer bbq or potluck. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Beetroot Dip - Beetroot Caviar
- 4 medium cooked beetroot, grated about 1½ pounds/750g
- 2 carrots grated
- 2 onions chopped
- 5 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons oil for frying
- 1 cup water*
- teaspoon sugar
- ground coriander to taste
- juice of a lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
Fry the onions and garlic in the oil until they are caramelized. Add the grated carrots and cook for a few more minutes.
Add the water (or reserved beet water) to the carrots in the frying pan. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer until the carrots are cooked and the water has evaporated.
Mix in the cooked grated beets, spices and lemon juice and allow to cook on medium-low for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Serve as prepared or process in a food processor or blender for a smooth consistency. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Instead of plain water, save 1 cup for beet water when you are boiling your beets. For a more tangy dip, instead of water add pickling brine from dill pickles, but skip the lemon juice.