Both of my European parents spent a few years living in Israel before they met. And both fell in love with Middle Eastern cuisine. Years later when they married and moved to New York to raise a family, they retained their love for the food. Tahini is a staple of Israeli menus and it was frequently on our table when I was growing up. I loved it then and now. Beets also made appearances thanks to my mother's Russian heritage but I admit I didn't develop a taste for them until I grew up. What I don't recall is ever seeing them paired back then.
You can find prepared tahini sauce in large markets, usually near the hummus. But making your own is so much better and very easy. The sesame paste can usually be found in the international foods aisle and you can make as much sauce as you need and store the rest of the paste in the fridge for next time. Enjoy!
2 Red beets
2 Golden beets
1 Tablespoon chopped chives or scallions
2 Tablespoons prepared tahini sauce (recipe follows)
Lemon Tahini Sauce:
1/4 Cup sesame paste
1/4 Cup water
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder
2 Cloves garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
Salt & pepper to taste
To make the sauce, combine the tahini paste and water until smooth. Don't worry if it seems grainy. Keep whisking or stirring and it will smooth out. (Note that when you open a jar of the paste, you will notice that a layer of the seed oil is floating on top. I stir the contents with a spoon until it's a bit more blended before scooping out the amount I need.) Add the lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. If you like a bit of heat, add a few red pepper flakes. Fold in the crushed garlic.
You can use the sauce right away but I find its much better if it has a chance to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour and preferably overnight. The garlic will perfume the sauce without adding the bite of minced garlic. The sauce will also thicken and will be the perfect consistency to use as a dip. If you want a more pourable dressing, simply thin it out with a little water. Pour over the roasted beets or any other roasted veggie.
Check out these other uses for tahini: