Cumin Beet Raita

If you hate beets it might be because you, like me, were only offered the boiled, sad preparation growing up. But beets done right can be addictive and delicious. My toddler definitely thinks so and I'm taking all the credit ;) Beets are not just gorgeous to look at but so amazing for our bodies, particularly due to their detoxification and anti-inflammatory powers, in addition to being a solid source of folate. Cumin is a fantastic digestive aid and antioxidant. It’s also a good source of iron! In this dish, cumin’s smoky and nutty flavors combine beautifully with dill weed’s herbaceous and citrus-like notes to complement the earthiness and sweetness of beets. We suggest pressure-cooking or steaming (versus boiling) the beets to preserve nutrients. Here, they join forces with probiotic and calcium-rich yoghurt to create a signature Indian side dish called raita - usually yoghurt mixed with vegetables but sometimes fruit, often savory but sometimes sweet and always deliciously refreshing. 

Serves 1 adults or 2 kids as a hearty snack or side dish

1 large beet diced into 1/4 inch cubes
1 cup plain whole milk or Greek yoghurt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill weed
Water for pressure-cooking or steaming the beets
Salt to taste (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sugar or 2 teaspoons honey

Cook the beets until soft by steaming or pressure-cooking with about 2 inches of water in a pot with a lid. Drain and return to the stove top. Add the cumin and dill and sauté for 1 minute on medium-high heat until the spice and herb are cooked through. Allow the mixture to cool.

In a bowl, combine the cumin-spiced beets, yoghurt and sugar or honey. Add salt to taste. Skip the honey and salt and puree for younger babies or serve as a more textured meal. Believe it or not, this is my toddler's favorite mid-afternoon snack but it also works as a great and nutritious side dish to meat or chicken. 

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