foodFood & Drink

Leela Cyd’s Beet Pickled Eggs

by Kristina Gill

One of my favorite creative professionals is photographer Leela Cyd. We’ve had her on the column several times over the years not just for her beautiful photography and no-nonsense, great food, but also for her fantastic self-portraits! Today, we have Leela’s recipe for Beet Pickled Eggs from her recently published cookbook, Food With Friends. It also happens to be the cover recipe for the book, which Leela wrote and photographed herself. These gorgeous eggs would make an incredible addition to any meal with friends — especially a picnic as the weather gets nicer! —Kristina

Why Leela loves this recipe: I love this recipe because of the vivid color and vibrant flavor. Seriously, I’ve been afraid of mayonnaise and deviled eggs for my entire life, all that mayonnaise and gloppy taste — no thank you! But while living in Portland, I took a client to a celebratory drink, at the now-shuttered Gruner restaurant, and these little gems were served alongside. Their electric pink color matched a pickled, slightly sour taste. The memory stuck with me. When I developed the recipe, instead of mayonnaise I subbed some Greek yogurt and never looked back. These are a FUN food to serve, people go gaga for the color. They’re light, easy to eat and a total crowd pleaser.


Beet Pickled Eggs
serves 4-6

Note: Try to find the oldest eggs at the grocery in order to cleanly peel the egg shell from the white of the egg; even 10 days can make a difference in how the shell comes off — sounds weird, but it works!

Pickled Eggs

– 8 large eggs
– 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
– 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
– 1 teaspoon sea salt
– 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
– 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
– 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
– 2 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
– 4 small boiled and peeled beets (reserve cooking water) or 1 can (15 ounces) beets


– 1 teaspoon dry mustard
– 3 tablespoons plain whole-milk yogurt
– 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
– 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
– 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


– 2 sprigs fresh marjoram
– Water-packed capers
– 1 tablespoon minced red onion


Start the eggs: Place the eggs in a pot and add cold water to cover by 1 or 2 inches. Bring to a boil, uncovered, then remove the pot from the heat and immediately cover with a lid. Allow the eggs to sit for 12 minutes. Plunge the boiled eggs into a bowl of ice water. When they are cool, peel the eggs (see note above) and set aside.

In a 32-ounce jar, mix together 1 cup water, the brown sugar, vinegar, salt, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, and garlic. Add the beets and 1/2 cup of the beet water and stir to combine. Put the peeled eggs in the beet brine and refrigerate for about 24 hours (or up to 3 days for very pickled, pink eggs).

Make the filling: Cut the brined eggs in half lengthwise and scoop the egg yolks into a medium bowl. Add the dry mustard, yogurt, mayonnaise, turmeric, ground cumin, chives, and lemon juice and mix with a fork, smashing everything together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish the eggs: Scoop a heaping teaspoon of filling into each hard-boiled egg half. Add 1 or 2 marjoram leaves, capers, and a pinch of red onion. Finish with a little salt and pepper and serve immediately.



Reprinted from Food with Friends by Leela Cyd. Copyright © 2016 by Leela Cyd. Photographs by Leela Cyd. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

About Leela: Leela Cyd is a lifestyle, food and travel photographer based in Santa Barbara, California. She shoots for magazines such as Sweet Paul, Kinfolk, Conde Nast Traveler and Cooking Light as well as commercial clients UGG Australia, Campari and Prius. When she’s not making images, she can be found in the kitchen testing out recipes, hosting a tea party, or on a beach walk with a friend. You can find Leela on Instagram and Twitter.


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