Greek Cold Beet and Garlic Puree

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Preparation info

  • Serves


    as a first course
    • Difficulty


Appears in

A Canon of Vegetables

A Canon of Vegetables

By Raymond Sokolov

Published 2007

  • About

As with almost all Greek dishes, there is probably a Turkish precursor of this simple but masterful combination of two humble ingredients. But I encountered it first in a Times Square Greek restaurant of no pretension but immense professionalism. You don’t have to be Greek—or Turkish—to slap this together while studying Greek irregular verbs or working on your abs. It keeps for several days in the refrigerator, but put the two ingredients together at the last minute to avoid having the snow-white garlic turning pink from beet-juice runoff.


  • 2 pounds beets, trimmed
  • 2 heads garlic


  1. Boil the beets in enough water to cover them amply. Do not cover the pan. Test after a half hour. Remove any beets that are pierced easily with a fork. The smaller ones will cook faster than the larger ones. When they have all cooked and have cooled enough to handle, push away the outer skin with your fingers and press out the stem.
  2. Slice the beets about ¼ inch thick. Arrange the pieces on a serving plate in an overlapping line, two lines or a circle, from smallest to largest. Decorate with beet greens.
  3. Separate the cloves from the garlic heads. Smash them with a knife. Remove the skins and discard. Pound the garlic cloves to a homogeneous mash with a mortar and pestle, or chop them roughly with a large knife. Arrange in a mound with the beet slices. Serve at room temperature.

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