Smashed Beet Salad with Spiced Yogurt

The provocative beet salad on our Spring 2013 is the crafty handiwork of Chef Abby Carlson. Let’s face it beets aren’t fighting for the most popular vegetable spot. These rat-tailed roots provoke more winces than smiles. However, some clever infusing with lemon, cinnamon and peppercorn transform them into ruby gems. As Carlson explains, “By the spring, [beets] are probably one of those worn out vegetables that have graced your plate one too many times.“ Don’t let the list of ingredients or the number of steps deter you. The brilliance of Carlson’s recipe is that the spices in the spiced yogurt can also be used as a rub for meat or poultry and the spiced yogurt itself, bedazzles ordinary fish or steamed vegetables.
By | March 11, 2013


For the Beets: In a medium saucepan, over moderate heat, place beets, red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, peppercorns, bay leaves and the cinnamon stick.  Cover with cold water and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook for beets until tender, about 30-35 minutes. Drain in a colander. Between two paper towels Place beet between two sheets of paper towels and smash enough to flatten slightly but not so that the beets crumble. Set aside. Repeat until all beets have been gently smashed.

Heat a heavy cast iron skillet, brushed with olive oil, over high heat. When pan is hot, place the beets in the pan and blacken beets on each side, about 2 minutes. Cook in batches, if necessary.  Set aside.

For the Yogurt Spices: Combine all ingredients in a coffee mill and grind until fine. Store spice mix in an airtight container until ready to use.

For the Spiced Yogurt: Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Let the yogurt mix sit for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to combine.

For the Salad: In a medium bowl place the greens and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.  Drizzle the remaining olive oil and lemon juice and toss the greens to dress.  Place on a serving plate, arrange some greens then the beets.  Spoon the spiced yogurt on plate and with some over the beets and garnish with arugula leaves

Note: To toast the seeds: In a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat, place one type of seed at a time, toasting each type separately. Move the seeds around in the pan by swirling the pan gently or using a wooden spoon. When the seed or spice begins to get fragrant with the slightest bit of color remove from heat and pour onto a little plate to stop cooking. Let each seed or spice cool.

Recipe by Chef Abby Carlson


  • 8 beets of equal size, scrubbed and stems trimmed to 1 inch
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Juice of 1 lemon
Spiced Yogurt
  • 1 ½ cups plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons of spice mix
  • salt to taste
Spice Blend for Yogurt
  • 1 tablespoons Hungarian Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorn
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed, toasted, see note
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed, toasted, see note
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom pods
  • ¼ teaspoon whole clove
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 cups greens such as arugula
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