Persian Thanksgiving Side Dishes: Recipe 4

I am so excited to present to you the 4th recipe in our Thanksgiving side dishes series! I saw this recipe in the LA Times‘  food section a couple months ago and it was love at first sight. The recipe comes from The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey” by Janna Gur. I simply feel that I HAVE to share this recipe with you because Persians not only have a love affair with pomegranate, but also with beets.

When I first saw the recipe, I thought the combination was unusual, yet I was extremely intrigued because I simply love pomegranate, as you may have perhaps noticed, and of course I love beets as well.  Thus far I have made this recipe three times and it got rave reviews each time! I am so excited to share this with you!

I personally see this recipe more as a relish than a salad.  One thing is for sure though, it is going to taste amazingly good with Turkey.

A couple of things before we go ahead. I have slightly changed the recipe from its original version.  I roasted the beets, because I think they taste better when roasted, and I omitted the olive oil.  Also the measurements are slightly different because the beets at our local market were all different in size, I bought what you see in the pictures and figured that two small ones make up a medium one! Also, the pomegranate that I bought, came out to a cup and half. I thought it was a good amount for a group of people.  The good thing about this relish is that you can make the beets and pomegranates the day before. Place them in different bags and store in the fridge until you are ready to put it all together.


3-4 medium beets

1 1/2  cup of pomegranate seeds

1/2 cilantro

2 dried red chile peppers

2 tbsp pomegranate paste

3-4 tbsp lemon juice



Wash beets and scrub with a vegetable brush. Cut the top and bottom ends. Place in a cookie sheet.  If you are a regular reader, you know I am all about finding ways to do less dishes…I lined my small cookie sheet with foil. Drizzle the beets with olive oil and massage all over the beets, including the top and bottoms.  Roast in the oven for about one hour at 400° or until a fork easily goes in.


Peel pomegranate and place seeds in a bowl. Do yourself a favor and use gloves!


When beets are done, let them cool completely.  The skin comes right off when they are nice and cool.


Peel beets and make sure that you use gloves for this portion as well.


Small dice the beets as shown above.  Isn’t the color amazing? It just took my breath away in the sun. Such a gorgeous ruby red!


Crush red chile peppers and mix with pomegranate paste and lemon juice.  Season with salt.  The original recipe says to set the dressing aside for 15 minutes. I would say let the dressing sit for at least an hour.  This will give the chile pepper some time to spice up the dressing. The end result for the dressing should be an amazing combination of sweet, tangy, and mildly spicy!


Add beets, cilandro, and dressing to pomegranate seeds, and mix well.

When I looked up the cookbook from which this recipe comes from I found this interview with the author Janna Gur, with whom I might be a little in love with right now!! She even mentions about Persian food!  I really enjoyed watching it because it was all about food and I learned something new:  there is a difference between Jewish food and Israeli food.


I would love to know if you made this relish and how you liked it! Please don’t be shy about leaving comments!!