Salma Hage | The Mezze Cookbook | Roasted Baby Beetroots (Beets) with Za’atar Labneh

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‘Roasting beetroot (beets) with balsamic vinegar marinates the beetroots as they cook, mellowing the intense, earthy flavor. You could just as easily use larger beetroots, just give them about 20 minutes longer in the oven.’ From The Mezze Cookbook by Salma Hage published by Phaidon.

Serves 4


400g raw baby beetroots or regular beetroots (beets), unpeeled and scrubbed
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Olive oil, for drizzling
1 x quantity Labneh (recipe here) or thick Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons Za’atar
Salt and pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas 6.

2. If the beetroots (beets) have leaves, remove them, discarding any really large or damaged ones, wash, and set aside.

3. Wrap each beetroot in aluminium foil with a splash of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a crack of salt and pepper. Place the little parcels in a roasting pan and roast in the oven for 30–40 minutes (for baby beets), or up to 90 minutes (for regular-sized beetroots), until a sharp knife passes through the beets easily. When the beets are cooked, leave the oven on and spread the leaves on a baking sheet, leaving no overlap. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the hot oven for 8 minutes until they’re crisp and deep green.

4. Once cooked, remove the beets from the oven and peel away the foil from the cooked beets to let the steam escape. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then rub off the skins under cold running water and halve, quarter, or coarsely chop depending on the size.

5. Spread the labneh on a serving platter and sprinkle over the za’atar. Scatter the chopped beets over and drizzle more olive oil over the top, to serve.

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The Mezze Cookbook by Salma Hage is available from the Phaidon shop here where it is available in both English and French.

Salma Hage’s other cookbooks The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook, a collection of vegetarian and vegan dishes influenced by Middle Eastern flavours and The Lebanese Kitchen, the definitive book on Lebanese home cooking, featuring 500 authentic and delicious recipes that are simple to create at home.

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