Persian Beet and Yogurt Salad with Citrus and Pistachio (Borani-e-labu)
March 8, 2022
By Elizabeth Palmer Califano

This vibrant and fresh recipe originated in Iran. Candy-colored beets layer with creamy labneh for a delicious and impressive dish that’s as healthy as it is beautiful. Beets are high in digestion-boosting fiber and also contain nitrates which help to widen blood vessels and improve blood pressure. Beets are also a rich source of Vitamin C and iron. Labneh, a thick strained yogurt, is an excellent source of probiotics to boost your gut microbiome and contains protein to increase satiety. It’s also low in lactose, since the whey has been strained out, making it easier for those with lactose intolerance or a dairy sensitivity to enjoy it without issue. Oranges give another boost of vitamin C, and pistachios add heart-healthy unsaturated fat, making this recipe an all-around winner for your body and your palate.

Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side dish

Total Time: 20 minutes (add an extra hour if you cook your beets from scratch)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cooked beets, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to garnish
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup labneh (or a thick, strained Greek-style yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 tablespoons shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
  • Fresh mint, chopped, to serve
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, toss the beets with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Working over the bowl with the beets, peel and segment the orange, letting any extra juice mix in with the beets, and squeezing over any of the juice left on the peel as well. Reserve the orange segments.
  3. In another small bowl, whisk together the labneh, honey, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread this mix onto a platter in a thick, even layer.
  4. Carefully spoon the beet mixture over the labneh, and top it with the orange segments. Sprinkle over the chopped pistachios and mint, and drizzle everything with a bit more olive oil and a pinch of salt, to taste. Enjoy!

Note: the beet mixture and labneh mixture can be made ahead of time (up to 24 hours) and kept separate. Layer them together just before serving.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Palmer Califano
Elizabeth is a graduate of Hamilton College and The French Culinary Institute, as well as an avid world traveler and dinner party hostess. For more information, visit her website: www.elizabethpalmerkitchen.com