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beetroot-soup-imageAfter the excesses of last week’s ingredient-fest that is gado-gado, we are down to earth. Quite literally. You can’t more down to earth than beetroot, can you? raw-beetsBeetroot – or beets as they are shortened in the US – are a fabulous soup vegetable. At once wholesome and visually decadent, these rough orbs reveal ruby beauty with just a light scrub and peeling. Of course they can be all kinds of colours – the fancy orange ones are pretty gorgeous, as is the pink candy cane-striped chioggia variety – but the ‘normal’ purple variety is just fine by me.

I used to not be a fan of this love-it-or-hate-it vegetable. That’s probably an understatement: they were the devil’s food. Nasty, sour-tasting balls of dirt contaminating many a school salad (which would’ve already been beyond horrible). But once I discovered that beets didn’t HAVE to be kept imprisoned in dusty jars of sharp vinegar, that they could be used raw or cooked like NORMAL vegetables, well I now eat them all the time. And I now DO like them marinated in vinegar, but really only like in the recipe I am sharing today. Fruity, spicy, aromatic.

So today, a simple and easy soup recipe to (hopefully) convert any beetroot abstainers among you, as well as a bonus pickled beetroot recipe that can be put together with any good quality fruit vinegar. The latter is superb with many warm (or cold) salads, with warm grains, to liven up sandwiches and wraps, and with blinis, creme fraiche and smoked salmon. Loads of other potential uses too. I’ve been thinking that they might be quite fun in my Beetroot and Cashew Hummus recipe, using half roasted and half marinated beetroot. They would certainly be at home as they are on a mezze platter.

If you are interested in knowing more about what beetroot offers nutritionally, please click on my recipe for Beetroot Zinger Juice – the food to glow secret weapon against colds (along with Spiced Golden Turmeric Milk). I’ve got quite a lot of beetroot recipes so just check the Index (above) if you want more ideas for this much-maligned vegetable.

Are you a beetroot fan or phobe? What’s your worst or best memory of beetroot as a child?

Any beetroot recipes or growing tips to share?

beetroot-soup-imageSo-easy Beetroot Soup

Last year: Spinach and Walnut Dip with Pomegranate (Spinach Pkhali)

Two years ago: Kale-Berry Smoothie

Miss R’s track of the week:  Something About You by Dornik

Look – no fat! This soup is unfeasibly red and tasty, and sublimely easy to make too. Drop the wasabi if you don’t have it, but if you do, please use it as it adds a certain something without actually being hot. Add some crumbled soft goats’ cheese or Greek yogurt when serving, if you like. And more wasabi, after tasting first.

750ml vegetable stock

500g fresh beetroot (about 3 beets), trimmed, peeled and coarsely grated (or small dice)

1 onion, chopped

2 stalks celery

1 potato (white or sweet), peeled and diced – I use sweet

1 heaped tsp wasabi paste (or horseradish)

1 tbsp lime juice (optional, but balances the sweetness)

75g half-fat crème fraiche or yogurt (optional)

Bring the stock to the boil then add the remaining ingredients except the wasabi and optional lime and crème fraiche/yogurt. Simmer for 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Blend thoroughly then add the lime juice, wasabi and the crème fraiche or yogurt, if using. Snipped fresh chives make a beautiful garnish.

If you are trying to keep weight on go ahead and sauté the vegetables in some olive oil but otherwise this is great fat-free soup.

Serves 4.

Like this? Want another beetroot soup idea? How about Sweetly Savoury Borscht (it’s vegan)?

pickled-beets-imageSpicy and Fruity Pickled Beetroot

1 kg (2 lbs – about 6 medium beets) fresh beetroot, scrubbed and leaves and root trimmed

Oil, for roasting

300 ml fruit vinegar (use the quick ‘cheat’s’ one if you like)

150 ml water

3 tbsp sugar

3-9 green cardamom pods, cracked

2-3 dried chillies (I used pequin, or you could use chiles de arbol)

1-3 tsp coriander seeds

Special equipment: a few just-sterilised quart-size jars (do while the beets are roasting)

Rub the beets with a little oil and wrap in a large foil packet (or as individuals); place on a baking tray and bake in a 180C/350F oven for one hour, or until the beets are easily pierced with a sharp knife. Allow to cool a bit then slip off the skins using a small paring knife – it should be pretty easy – then cut into chunks that will fit in the jars you have. Pop the chopped beets into sterilised jars.

While the beets are cooling enough to peel, pour the vinegar, water and sugar in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to the boil. Let boil for five minutes then pour carefully into the beetroot jars and divide the cardamom, chillies and coriander seeds between the jars; seal. The beets are ready to eat in a few hours but taste better the longer you leave them. The unopened jars will keep for a couple of months. Once opened use within seven days.beetroot-soup-imageanthropologie-plate-with-food-smears

40 thoughts on “So-Easy Beetroot Soup with Wasabi and Lime + Spicy, Fruity Pickled Beetroot

  1. I’m a beetroot fan, always have been. I love the stuff.

    Best memory of beetroot was being at my aunt’s house one summer and my father accidentally dropping a whole jar of home-pickled beetroot all over her good (white) lace tablecloth. For once it wasn’t me in trouble at the dinner table! My rather strict Uncle’s face was an absolute picture.

    1. Great story, Simon! Made me smile 😀 I know you love the bettroot zinger, so I hope you give this very easy soup a go. Let me know if you do

      1. I will try it over Christmas. Just a bit of a stupid question but I don’t have a blender, would mashing it down do a similar job or would that ruin it?

      2. Any electric choppy thing? Like a hand blender? If you think you might like to start making soup (or sauces) then a hand blender is a good investment. You can get them pretty cheap in Argos or supermarkets. Let me know if you want me to vet any for you ;D

      3. No electric choppy things in this flat but I keep thinking I ought to get a hand blender so the time is right!

  2. ann says:

    I remember thinking I needed to see the doctor when went to the bathroom after eating beetroot-just a ‘wee’ warning!

    1. I’ve written a number of beetroot recipes and have given that warning before, but perhaps I need to put it in every time. Anyone reading this, consider yourself warned!

  3. This is one of the most beautiful posts I have ever seen! I love your photographs with nature as your background, the colors are stunning and I adore beets. We eat them every week, seriously! I buy 4 every week, like clockwork. We scrub them, poke a few forks holes, wrap in foil and bake one hour in a 450°F oven. Then enjoy them right out of the fridge all week long. 🙂 I love your beet soup recipe too. I’ll have to try it, wasabi sounds wonderful with beets. If you have a moment and are interested check out my beet soup recipe…http://cottagegrovehouse.com/2013/07/31/cool-summer-borscht/

    1. I will do. I have a borscht that I posted last year but I will see how you approach it. And thanks for the super compliment and sharing your own way of using beetroot. Plain old roasted beets are an ace up the sleeve throughout the week. If you know what I mean. That sounds a bit messy…

    2. Wow, that’s so pretty and elegant! Loads of lovely comments on it too. Such a nice blog! 😀

      1. Thank you so much Kellie. I’m still thinking about your gorgeous post. 🙂

  4. I never heard of beet soup, this is so interesting! I’ve had beets since I was little and always loved them. I usually roast them covered in tin foil with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. They really do not need much. I want to try your recipe, looks so elegant. Agree with Ann too, ‘wee’ warning for those who never had beets before. It’s totally normal though 🙂

    1. I bet you have heard of borscht so this is just another way with beets as soup. A simpler one 😀 But plain roasted is always a winner. They taste nice as a soup just whizzed up with some white beans and thyme too.

      1. I didn’t know about borscht either. Just looked it up… much to learn… much to learn. 🙂 thank you!

      2. Ah, I shouldn’t make assumptions. There is lots I don’t know. That’s what’s so good about food blogs – loads of information, inspiration and constant hunger pangs!

      3. and your photos are always amazing.

  5. Amazing flavours and gorgeous pictures! 🙂

  6. narf77 says:

    My beetroots are still tiny little seedlings waiting to be planted out but I have all kinds this year so it should be a most interesting harvest. I love using the leaves and had never done so before I grew them last year. They taste like silverbeet and the stalks are a lovely colour. Cheers for the tasty share. I will tuck it away till we get beetroot in the shops again as I don’t think a tin of the ubiquitous “Aussie Burger Helper” will cut the mustard in this recipe 😉

    1. Yes, please wait, Fran. I have never heard of Aussie Burger Helper but if it is anything like the US one then it is a bit LCD, if you know what I mean. I hope to see photos of all your little beets when you harvest. They are supposed to be so easy to grow but I’ve not had much success. Well, I gave up after one go! Enjoy your spring-nearly summer ;D

      1. narf77 says:

        I am talking about tinned beetroot. We Aussies LOVE it on burgers. We love tinned pickled beetroot so much we eat it by the bucketload 🙂 MUCH healthier than the U.S. hamburger helper but probably not so good in your gorgeous soup 😉

      2. Just like fellow commenter,That Other Cook, I’m learning something new! You are right, tinned is not the vibe we’re going for 😀 Well, not when there are fresh beets in their heaps at the farm shops just now, even still. They keep so well in cold weather once harvested so we can get them nearly year-round. LOL about the US Hamburger Helper. What is in that stuff anyway? Luckily my mother never bought it when we were younger. Gah, I’m being such a food snob, but I’m not usually, I swear 😀

      3. narf77 says:

        I can only thank my living stars that my penniless habit came from my past as mum cooked everything from scratch and did so magnificently. I learned to adore broccoli from when she worked in a market garden to support us (as a single mum you had to do what you could back before the government assisted you) and brought back the very first broccoli that was grown in our state. Australians didn’t get broccoli till late in the 70’s and I can tell you we sat around with anticipation as mum liberally drizzled melted butter and lemon juice with black pepper over the top of lightly steamed stems. I have loved broccoli ever since. Treat veggies with enormous respect (bordering on Japanese tea ceremonies) with kids and they will love them to :). I taught my kids to be food snobs and now they are mental with their food experimentation. My daughters (23 and 25) live together in the city and at the moment they will ONLY eat Korean food (that they cook themselves) and I caught my oldest daughter eating pizza the other day cold. I said “HAH…PIZZA!” but she looked me in the eye and said “take a look…” it was smoked salmon with kimchi and caviar…I rest my case! ;). I think hamburger helper is the scrapings from the soy meal floors that even the animal food producers are too lofty to touch. I think they add a bit of dirt to bulk it out (and give it probiotics and that “natural” label that food companies love to banter about with gay abandon), some ground up dehydrated snouts and ears (what else are you going to do with them?) and possibly a bit of MSG but that’s expensive stuff and so only a pinch per megabatch to make the allergic twitch. LOVELY stuff folks 😉

  7. Amanda says:

    I love the red of the beets. This is just like borscht! So delicious and healthy too!

  8. I love beets, so I will definitely try this recipe!!!!

  9. My lovely foodie pal, you’ve done it again. I’ve been thinking about this recipe for a while since I saw it and I’m wondering…sweet beet, a whack of wassabi. I can’t wait to try it! X

  10. Kellie, your photos for this post are exquisite…..I adore the way you shot the soup sitting on a seasonal bed of leaves!
    A visual treat, and then some great recipies. We pick beetroot straight from the garden and bake it with a little sugar and balsamic vinegar…..it’s amazing and very addictive!
    I remember the first time I fed my son beetroot…he was still in nappies and I’m sure you can imagine my panic…..

  11. I could just grab a spoon and tuck in! Beautiful recipe, Kellie!

  12. foodesignsfromthelandofmilkandhoney says:

    Love this photo !

  13. foodesignsfromthelandofmilkandhoney says:

    Ooooh, I’ve just scrolled down and saw your entire post. Wonderful ideas ! I’m new here, as a blogger, but sending you a link to my FB page with a simple Beetroot serving idea:

  14. This looks lovely. I need no convincing with beets, fortunately. My grandmother always pickled her own beets when I was growing up, so that was a great first beet experience for a child who loved any sweet-tangy combo. Now I generally lean towards roasting beats for grains, juicing (love your Beet Zinger Juice!), or thinly slicing raw for salads. So I must try this soup! Thanks Kellie!

  15. loveinlavender says:

    sounds so delicious! i shall try it 🙂

  16. Fantastic, loaded both on colour and vitamins!!

  17. onehotveggie says:

    This sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing, I will be trying this for sure.

  18. Nazima says:

    wonderful colours and such an inspired flavour combination. I think the idea of lifting the earthiness of beetroot with wasabi and lime is just so clever. You know for my first dinner party (when I was 15) I made borscht soup as a starter. Love that colour and this is a wonderful reminder that I need to make a beetroot soup again.

  19. I love, love, love beets! This recipe looks great, I’ll have to give it a go. Great blog and photos 🙂

  20. ooh, yes, this is the soup for me… I adore beetroot and just look at that colour! So autumnal which is wrong because it’s not even September yet even though the weather thinks its October!

    1. Ha ha! It is funny that actually here in Edinburgh it has been the summer we should have had in July. It’s been gloriously sunny. A real treat. Still, the beets around just know are just perfect for the soup. Which is actually quite nice (because of the wasabi) cold. Thanks for stopping by this old post!

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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