Tangy sumac, a dried sour berry in the Middle Eastern seasoning blend called zahtar, is what Chan uses to give zing to this beet salad, but lemon juice is an effective alternate. Look for ground sumac in the spice section of a specialty food store. Black sesame seed, found in Asian markets, is striking visually in this dish, or you can use toasted white sesame seed.
1 teaspoon white or black sesame seed (see notes)
1 can (15 oz.) sliced beets, drained and chopped
1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon ground sumac (see notes) or 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or dried thyme
4 large butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and crisped
Salt and fresh-ground pepper
How to Make It
In a 6- to 8-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, stir or shake white sesame seed until golden, 4 to 5 minutes (don't toast black sesame seed). Pour into a small bowl.
To sesame seed, add beets, yogurt, onion, sumac, and thyme; mix.
Arrange a lettuce leaf on each plate and mound beet salad equally onto leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste.