This recipe for Gin & Beet Tartare was a stroke of genius in my books. Booze IN your cocktail hour snack? Yes please.
Ding, dong, ding, dong. The holidays are here my lovelies and that means it’s time for some delicious entertaining. I say, if you’re having a holiday party, it’s super important to offer a nice variety of foods that can accommodate various tastes and dietary restrictions (within reason of course). Nowadays, you will almost definitely have at least one guest who is vegetarian, another gluten free, someone who’s lactose intolerant, folks who don’t eat pork etc. etc. I always try not to make anyone feel uncomfortable, because I am sure it can be awkward having to ask a host if there’s anything they can eat. So to avoid an uncomfortable scenario for them, and a last minute OMG-what-can-I-whip-up-on-the-fly moment for me, I try to be as prepared with my menu as possible.
Beet Tartare, NOT Beef Tartare
In this recipe for beet tartare, I really want to tackle the veggie folks. Now, I would argue that even if you’re very confident that you belong to an exclusively carnivore crowd, you should always offer some vegetarian bites. Honestly, as long as your event isn’t like a pork-lovers-club reunion party, this is a rule I would follow. Sometimes you just need a lighter bite- something to cleanse the palate and make the decadent meat options more appealing. It’s also a great way to reduce the overall budget for your event since meat and seafood are always the priciest ingredients. Finally, veggie bites are typically much easier to make ahead because they can often be served cold and don’t need as much delicate attention in the kitchen as meat or fish would. Not everything has to have bacon on it (though bacon is always nice).
This recipe for beet tartare happens to be both vegetarian and gluten free, and can also be made dairy free for guests who are avoiding that too (just omit the yogurt on top). I love the combination of the sweet beets, slightly bitter orange and spicy crushed nuts on top. I actually used my recipe for Cinnamon Spiced Nuts (which you can find here) but in a pinch, you can simple use any type of toasted nuts. I do like the added sugar and spice flavour these ones add, but ultimately, they’re more for textural contrast than flavour. I also like serving this in an endive leaf because it means a heck of lot less clean up for me (look ma, no dishes!) but if you’re adverse to the bitterness of the endive, then simply put these on some fancy spoons.
Now let’s talk about the goods. I put some Ungava gin into this bad boy because I totally love the flavour of the botanicals with the fragrant orange and sweet beets. Plus, I figure, why not get the party really going with a little gin in your food and your drinks? Having said that, if you’re looking to serve this to little ones too, then it can easily be omitted as well.
Healthy Holiday Hors d’Oeuvres Idea- Beet & Gin Tartare with Orange Yogurt and Spiced Nuts
Yogurt and Garnish
- 1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tsp Ungava gin
- 1 tsp honey (or to taste, depending on how bitter your oranges are)
- Salt to taste
- Cinnamon Spiced Nuts crushed, see the recipe link in the copy above
- 3-4 Endive heads separated into spears
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Wrap the beets in foil and roast in an 8" square baking dish until tender, about 1–11/2 hours. When cool enough to handle, peel and roughly chop.
- Transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, but not pureed. Transfer to a bowl and stir in oil, vinegar, orange zest, gin, honey, tarragon and salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
Yogurt and Garnish
- Mix together the yogurt, orange zest, juice, gin and a pinch of salt to taste.
- Serve tartare on an endive leave with a teaspoon of yogurt. Top with a sprinkling of the spiced nuts.
Disclaimer: This recipe was developed in partnership with Ungava Gin.
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian, an avid food writer and blogger, a cookbook author and the founder of Abbey’s Kitchen Inc.