Food & dining

Seasonal Recipes

Recipe: Add some heat to ranch dressing for this beet salad

Beet salad with spicy ranch dressing
karoline boehm goodnick for The Boston Globe
Beet salad with spicy ranch dressing

Serves 8

Korean gochujan is a paste made from chile peppers and fermented soy beans (akin to spicy miso). In this mash-up recipe, the spicy paste lends a sweet heat to traditional ranch dressing, which offers a sharp contrast to beet salad with lots of fresh herbs. While the prep is straightforward, the dish holds up well, so make the components in advance. You need at least one hour to boil the beets. If you cook them in advance, don’t mix them with the ranch dressing until just before serving to keep them from bleeding into each other. Store leftover beets and dressing separately; both will hold up for several days in the refrigerator and make a fine lunch.

6medium red beets
(2½ to 3 pounds)
½cup plain Greek yogurt
¼cup mayonnaise
2tablespoons gochujang, or more, to taste (available at an Asian market)
2tablespoons buttermilk
2cloves garlic, grated
¾cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼cup chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
2tablespoons sherry vinegar
2teaspoons sesame oil
1tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2scallions, thinly sliced

1. In a large saucepan, combine beets and cold water to cover by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer the beets for 60 to 75 minutes, or until they are tender when pierced with a skewer.

2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the yogurt, mayonnaise, gochujang, buttermilk, garlic, ½ cup cilantro, thyme, salt and pepper.


3. Drain beets and run them under cold water until they are cool enough to handle. With your hands, peel off and discard the skin. Use a paring knife to remove any blemishes. Cut into wedges.

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4. In a large bowl, toss beets with remaining ¼ cup cilantro, salt, pepper, sherry vinegar, and sesame oil.

5. To serve: Spoon a dollop of dressing on each of 4 plates and spread it slightly. Top with a mound of beets. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions. Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Karoline Boehm Goodnick can be reached at