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feel good food that's good for you

beetroot and tomato soupNearly everyone and everything says that autumn has arrived: my flame-red Virginia Creeper climbing up the garage; the carpet of crispy oak leaves on my sad excuse for a lawn; excitable foodies on Twitter going pumpkin latte-mad; pull-out newspaper supplements with food porn shots of, yup, pumpkins.

I am ready, finger poised to flip my figurative calendar over to October, but Edinburgh has not got the memo. It is in point of fact warmer and drier this past week than it has been most of the summer. I nearly put on shorts but hadn’t had the foresight to make sure my legs were fit for public viewing (ahem).

So, here I am, outside in a loose t-shirt, squinting into a lowering retina-searing sun, writing about hot soup.

raw beetrootI was scheduled to be working on something very important earlier today – had my diary cleared and everything – but could I stay put and commit thoughts to keyboard? I could not. Instead I was gripped in a procrastination and heat-haze fever of garden tidying, planting out and window washing (that lower sun really shows the dirt up, doesn’t it). No matter how hard I tried I could not sit still. This is nearly the first time all day, and it is just after 5 pm. So not me. Especially the window washing part.

Anyone else with a kind of autumn fever thing?

To the soup. Desperately autumnal but with a wee dash of summer in the form of fresh tomatoes – mine are just ripening. Fret not if fresh is done for you this year, or yet to appear – just use quality tinned (non-BPA tins if possible), or a jar of passata.

I make this soup two ways, and like both methods equally well. But which way I choose to do it is largely dependent on how much comfort I feel is needed by myself or others: cooked and traditional for comfort; quick and raw for ease, and if I feel a need for the extra vitamin boost that raw gives. Which I guess is comforting too. No matter. It is up to you which way you go with this and why. Both are easy, both are nutritious. Both are delicious, and both are, well, red.

But I’m not making it tonight. Too damn summery.

beetroot and tomato soup

Cumin and Fennel Beetroot Soup- with raw food option

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This soup is unfeasibly red and tasty, and sublimely easy to make too. You can prepare it as per a usual soup, or you can make a raw version blended up to velvety smoothness in a high-speed blender. Instructions are given for both. Oh, and if your vegetables are organic just give them a good scrub and keep the peel – too many lovely goodies are in the skin to let them go to waste.

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp fennel seeds

2 tbsp cooking rapeseed oil or cooking olive oil*

500g fresh beetroot (about 3 medium beets), well-scrubbed, trimmed, and grated (I use the coarse grating plate on my Magimix food processor)

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots OR sweet potato, scrubbed and diced

3 large tomatoes or about 300g-worth, roughly chopped

1 heaped tbsp tomato puree or paste (optional but boosts the lycopene content a smidge)

750ml low-sodium vegetable stock OR water

Seasoning as required (shouldn’t be necessary with a well-flavoured stock and seasonal veg)

1. Dry toast the seeds until just fragrant (careful, as the cumin burns easily). Pop the seeds into a mortar and crush with the pestle – or use a spice/coffee grinder. If you have a powerful blender, you can skip this crushing step.

2. Heat the oil gently in a large pan. Add the grated/chopped vegetables – except the tomatoes – and stir. Let the vegetables cook down a little and develop some of their natural sugars – about five minutes. Add the crushed spices, tomatoes, and pour over the stock. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Let everything bubble away with a lid half-cocked for 20 minutes, or until all the veg are perfectly soft but not turned to mush.

3. Transfer in batches to a blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary – maybe a little sharpness from a dash of vinegar if the vegetables are very sweet; maybe some pepper too.

Raw Food Version: To make this a raw soup in a high-speed blender, use 4 raw spring onions and have the vegetables pretty evenly diced to enhance blending speed. No need to use oil. Add all ingredients bar the stock/water to the blender then pour in enough warm stock or room temp water to make a loose puree. Slowly add the rest of the stock through the access hole in the lid. Blend until very warm – about four minutes. For added flavour, luxury and nutrition, serve this vividly hued soup drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil, or even warmed coconut oil. Good fats help absorb the fat-soluble phytonutrients, like lycopene.

Note: for extra oomph roast both the tomatoes and beets beforehand.

PS The crackers you see in the shots are these.

* I recommend using non-virgin – but still high in quality – oil rather than extra-virgin as these are more stable at higher temperatures. Save the good stuff for drizzling and where you will really taste it.

Other beetroot soups on Food To Glow:

Beetroot Soup with Wasabi and Lime

Sweetly Savoury Vegan Borscht 

See my Index under Soups for more seasonal slurps

Comforting seasonal soups from others:

Courgette and Blue Cheese Soup – Kavey Eats {still courgettes up here in Scotland!}

Butternut, Coconut and Hazelnut Soup – Ren Behan

Tomato Soup with Cheddar Cheese Dumplings – smarter fitter

Cheesey Broccoli and Spinach Soup – Tinned Tomatoes

Carrot and Coriander Soup – Fab Food 4 All

Carrot and Coriander Soup done in a Vitamix – demo on YouTube by Sarah “Maison Cupcake” Trivuncic

Cauliflower, Coconut & Lime Soup – Coconut and Berries

Disclosure: I was sent my Optimum 9400 super blender from Froothie for personal use and recipe development. Any sales made through the badge in my sidebar (to the right) costs you no extra money and makes me a small commission that helps cover the costs of running Food to Glow. Other high-speed blenders work well with my Froothie-inspired recipes, although I can’t guarantee the exact same results, i.e. ultra-smooth and quick!

51 thoughts on “Velvety-Smooth Cumin and Fennel Beetroot Soup

  1. bscartabello says:

    Gorgeous presentation! xx

  2. Stunning. I can’t wait to try this!

  3. Delicious 😉

  4. Ooooh this sounds amazing!!!! I will have to try it this winter. I am always looking for new and interesting soups.

    1. Thanks so much. I appreciate you commenting. 🙂

  5. Absolutely gorgeous soup! I love that you’ve provided instructions for both raw and cooked versions depending on one’s mood and needs. I’m not sure my blender could take a soup to hot – this is something I’ll have to experiment with one day. I want this soup for the colour alone, but all those fab nutrients and so well spiced. Another winner!

    1. What kind of blender do you have, Katie? It might just work but I don’t want to be responsible for blowing the motor on your blender!

  6. I love your beetroot soups Kellie….might have to make this tomorrow with some fresh beets from the garden. What a summer we’re having, it just keeps giving!
    I was restless like you today….I steam cleaned all the floors and then cleared out a couple of veg beds….such lovely warm autumn sunshine 🙂

    1. Thanks Miss Seonaid. I haven’t brought one in in a while but they will be coming to the centre once it is cool enough. 🙂 The skivving continues for me today as it is even lovelier than yesterday. I can’t stay still. I am typing this whilst standing up! PS I get Andrew to do the floor steaming!

  7. platedujour says:

    I love the pictures and it’s a lovely recipe 🙂 I’m so jealous about the weather!! I wish I could put my shorts on even if my legs should not be viewed in public 😀 don’t laugh but on a diet now, I went wild on holidays eghm…

    1. The legs were out today and walked to the post office. They have not been attended to. I have no shame… Seriously warm today – better than yesterday. It must be 22C. Woo hoo! We will get our comeuppance by week’s end I hear. So don’t stay jealous 😉 PS I am doing a bit of cutting back myself, but I am blaming my age now. New thing to blame!

  8. lizzygoodthings says:

    This sounds delightful, Kellie… yum! I love how you describe the weather over there… we are waking up to warmer days now. Woo hoo!

  9. Kavey says:

    Oh look at those colours! So pretty and vibrant and appealing!

    Thanks for sharing my courgette soup – we just had the last of ours!

  10. WOW! What an amazingly colourful soup! I just love it & want to try it now 🙂 Can this be frozen for later use? Will have to keep my eyes open for some delicious beetroot at the markets. Thanks for sharing and for some new inspiration. Have pinned this for later

    1. Of course! It would reheat just fine, espesh as there is no dairy in it to go weird in the thawing process. Hopefully your beets are in now – we can’t escape them here. I am growing them but they are in abundance in the supermarkets and in the farm shops etc.

  11. Camilla says:

    I love the sound of this soup and have never had beetroot soup before so must put this right. I’m beginning to think I am the only food blogger who doesn’t havea a Frothie LOL:-) Thank you for linking to my Carrot & Coriander Soup:-)

  12. Ha, this post made me laugh out loud…the idea that it’s too summery there for Autumn. We’ve also had some unusually sunny, warm days recently, but I know they won’t stay much longer. And it’s feeling like fall now in spite – beets have just reappeared and so have parsnips. Love this cumin and beet pairing!

    1. Thanks Katie. Parsnips are also good here, instead of the carrots or sweet potato. A nice sweetish soup but tempered with spice. Today is positively hot. I did step out in shorts and walked to the post office. Came back with a glow from the trip. Still haven’t attended to my legs. Oh the shame… Enjoy your balminess while it lasts

  13. this is the most beautiful and luxurious color!

  14. It is so true – as soon as the internet has its heart set on autumn, we are also having the nicest days since July here in Leeds!

    This soup looks so beautiful (as is your table runner/fabric here). Next time I am feeling at all run-down the raw version looks like it could be the perfect remedy 🙂

    1. Can I let you in on a secret, that ‘table runner’ is an old skirt! It is a bit too short for me at my age but I like the fabric so much I have kept it for bloggy things. Glad you like it! You can see the seam (which I didn’t notice until I published!). Thanks for liking the recipe too. We love it 🙂

      1. Ha ha fantastic! It’s funny the things that can make for a good photo background 😉

      2. 😉 The things I could confess too…. What’s your weirdest/most unlikely prop?

      3. Well, I have used a cardigan before. You might have inspired me to raid my wardrobe more often though!

  15. Deepa says:

    What a gorgeous looking soup! And so full of goodness. I can totally relate to the shorts/skirt lack of forward planning too 🙂

  16. Shannon says:

    You crack me up. I felt as if it was ME writing this. People are like, “Really? Hot soup? On this muggy excuse of a day?” My answer is a resounding YES!! Soup is good for any day. Especially when it is a smooth variety and can warmed in my coffee mug (and so much healthier than coffee). To the beet root: Huzzah!

    This one sounds sublime. I wonder if fennel bulb in place of the celery will work? Love my coffee grinder, which I never use for coffee, by the way. Always seeds (flax mostly, but grinding some fennel for a tea…yum). No beets in the garden (just yet), so I’ll grab a bunch from the farmer next time I’m there. Can’t wait to whip this up.

  17. Gorgeous colours in that soup, I’ve been wearing summery clothes today as it is still so warm!

  18. Fishfingers for tea says:

    Love, love, love beetroot in any form! Your soup looks so pretty and sounds divine!

  19. narf77 says:

    We just had a rainy cold day so instead of getting out into the garden we holed up inside. I am starting to get the picture that we are polar opposites here! ;). Lovely soup and full of delicious flavours and bright colours to revive flagging winter minds/souls. I could do with a bowl right now 😉

  20. I have beetroot soup in the fridge, enjoying it for lunch this week! It is the most stunning colour there is and the taste is just as good. I love the flavours you have chosen to add and cannot believe we are still enjoying so much beautiful sunshine!

  21. I just found your blog and have to say – WOW – your food photography is beautiful!

  22. Reblogged this on Being heavy to lifting heavy and commented:
    can’t wait to try this. Looks Delicious!

  23. Kate Flower says:

    Love the photos. I look forward to having I good look over the blog for more of your wonderful foodie ideas. Love the health aspect. Great work.

    1. Thank you for your very kind comment, Kate.

  24. HedgeComber says:

    WOW to the colour of that soup, it’s stunning!
    Janie x
    PS I awoke in Cornwall this morning and there was a definite first chill of autumn. Time for the winter duvet soon!

  25. Sophie33 says:

    A beautiful presentation & that soup is calling my name & mouth, of course too! 🙂 Those crackers look fab too! Another must make for sure! I just have received fresh beets from a friend’s allotment! MMMMMM!

  26. These are some amazingly beautiful photos!! And this soup sounds super yummy!

  27. Julia says:

    What a beautiful color!!! I love it!

  28. What an exciting soup Kellie. I would never have thought of these flavours, but I am instantly excited by it and want to taste it.

    Thanks for linking to me 🙂

  29. What a combination of flavours and bright colours! Definitely must give it a try 🙂

  30. Sue says:

    What a delicious soup! I made the raw version in my Optimum. What a blender! After 4 minutes, I decided to blitz in a little garlic and ginger and cayenne pepper. It turned out really spicy and comforting. Do you have any other soup recipes which can be converted to raw soups?

    1. That’s fantastic to hear. I think most of the soups can be converted to raw ones but perhaps switch onions for spring onions. Tbh I haven’t revisited older soups with a ‘raw soup’ mind, but do mosey around the Index (which needs updating so badly) and if you aren’t sure of a recipe that you fancy, come back to me and we can ‘chat’. But I’m pretty sure it will be clear from the ingredients which are the most adaptable. I would also sauté any spices that are called for just to activate their helpful plant chemicals and to enhance the taste.

  31. Sonia says:

    I just made this (hot/cooked version) and it’s absolutely delicious! I topped it with sesame seeds and alfalfa to decorate. Thanks for sharing this!!

    1. You’re very welcome, Sonia. Thanks for letting me know you liked it, and of your serving suggestions. 🙂

  32. Jane says:

    I made this tonight and it was amazing!!!! So rich in color and flavor, it is a winning recipe! I roasted all the vegetables, and I roasted the cumin seeds and fennel seeds. Once every was roasted, I added it all into the soup pot with the vegetable stock, tomato paste, and I used avocado oil and brought it all to a boil. I then blended it all into my Vitamix Blender, and voila, it was smooth and creamy perfection!! Thank you so much Kellie! : )

    1. Roasting the veg is a lovely idea. I’m always in too much of a hurry rushing to make it for work!

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