Tart sumac, piquant peppercorns, and herbal yet lightly sweet green cardamom combine to season these wine-cooked beets, infusing them with fresh flavor that complements the fruity red wine in the recipe without overpowering it. After roasting, the sweet and tender beets are served atop a whipped, creamy turmeric- and tahini- seasoned yogurt spread and finished with chopped pistachios, lots of herbs, and a dusting of more sumac.

April 2022


Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

Recipe Summary

1 hr 55 mins
25 mins
6 to 8 servings

Roasting vegetables or meat with a splash of wine creates a moist heat environment in the oven while imparting flavor to the roast. When choosing a wine for roasting, consider the colors and flavor profiles of what you're cooking: A bold red wine works well with hearty meats like lamb and dark vegetables like purple carrots; a lighter white wine is more in line with a roast chicken or pale vegetable like parsnips or squash.

In this recipe, a fruity red wine like Gamay or Grenache provides a brightness that offsets the beets' natural earthiness. These lighter reds also mix well with the sumac in the dish, which has a fruity note of its own. In addition, the moisture created through roasting with wine keeps the beets supple, preventing them from getting leathery.


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Place cardamom pods and peppercorns on a 4-inch square of cheesecloth; secure pouch using kitchen twine. Combine wine, cheesecloth pouch, 2 tablespoons sumac, and 1 tablespoon kosher salt in a medium-size Dutch oven. Cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half, 6 to 10 minutes. Stir in beets. Cover Dutch oven tightly with aluminum foil, and place lid on top. Transfer to preheated oven, and roast until beets are just tender when pierced with a knife, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven. Remove foil and lid. Let beets cool to room temperature in roasting liquid, about 1 hour.

  • Meanwhile, whisk together yogurt, tahini, turmeric, 1 tablespoon water, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium bowl. If needed, whisk in remaining 1 tablespoon water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to thin mixture to a spreadable consistency. Let stand at room temperature for flavor and color to bloom, about 1 hour.

  • Pour beet mixture through a colander; discard liquid and cheesecloth pouch. Toss together drained beets, oil, vinegar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.

  • Whisk yogurt mixture well; spread on a platter. Top with beets. Sprinkle beets with pistachios, chopped mixed tender herbs, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon sumac. Season with flaky sea salt to taste.

Make Ahead

Yogurt mixture may be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before serving. Beets can be roasted up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate them in the roasting liquid, and then strain.

Suggested Pairing

Fruity, peppery Gamay: Division-Villages Les Petits Fers