I have not made beet soup very often over the years. We do grow beets in our garden, and love them when they are fresh and just pulled out of the ground, then boiled or roasted with butter. So sweet and delicious! Beet soup on the other just didn’t sound that exciting.
Do you cook with beets often?
The other day I realized I need to use up some beets and red cabbage, so I dug out several cookbooks and magazines where I thought I might be inspired to come up with something tasty.
Beets and cabbage are often paired together in a Russian Borscht soup, so I decided to go in that direction.
In the past it was always a struggle to get my boys to eat an “earthy” tasting soup. To be honest, they did start out being pretty good sports about trying out my “creations” however, one particular soup disaster changed all that!
One summer our garden had produced an abundance of organic broccoli. All proudly grown with love. I know that organic produce may have a bug or two clinging to it. I expect it and that’s o.k. by me.
I decided to add some healthy broccoli to a soup I was making. As a precaution, I did soak the broccoli in water for several minutes before and noticed a couple of specks or two floating around. Thinking I had removed every last one down the drain, I proceeded to add the broccoli to the soup on the stove.
Well, guess what, I missed a few critters! Picture the scene as my three hungry little guys swirled their spoons around the soup, the eyes bulging and then the combined voices shrieking in unison, “Yuk! This soup has bugs! I’m not eating it!” After first trying to pass it off as black pepper, even I had to admit defeat.
So, after that fiasco, anything earthy sounding sent them running!
So here I am years later and don’t have little boys around to worry about. I can be creative again without any flack.
When I went through my recipes for beet soup though I wasn’t inspired (most of the vintage recipes are boring), so I checked out recipes online and found one that sounded interesting from the “Oh She Glows” food blog. It’s a great site for delicious and nutritious foods and was actually the first food blog that I started to read a few years ago.
I decided to use Angela’s recipe for Hunky Heartbeet Cabbage soup as my guide. I wanted to try to keep it vegetarian or close to it, and simple with few ingredients.
The recipe called for Marinara tomato sauce which I did not have on hand, so I used regular canned tomatoes, but the next time I make the soup I want to include it to see what difference it makes.
I also had an opened carton of organic chicken broth in the fridge so I scrapped the vegetarian idea and used that instead for the liquid. The rest was simple staple items.
Very easy to make, but what would it taste like?
I ended up making two batches of the soup and we liked the second one the best because it had a slightly less beet taste in it than the first. I pureed the soup for the simple reason I just don’t like the look of chunky beets and cabbage. Just a personal preference. Soup doesn’t have to be ugly, does it?
The taste? Angela said it well, “Heck, didn’t think I would enjoy beets so much in a soup”.
You definitely taste the beets, but the cabbage adds a more subtle flavour, and the tomatoes give a nice balance to the sweet beets.
I will admit I had to bribe one family member with homemade biscuits before they would try it. Sounds like they still don’t trust me!
I froze one batch of the soup in four-cup serving containers for a quick go-to lunch when we are in a hurry.
There are three red coloured vegetables (technically tomatoes are considered a fruit), four if you use a red onion added to the soup! Sounds like some serious health benefits! I also love the gorgeous colour after it’s pureed, don’t you?
Who wouldn’t want to try something that beautiful? Come on one spoonful! This soup can easily be made ahead and this way the flavours have time to blend and make it even tastier.
For the garnish, I took a few tablespoons of plain yogurt, put it in a little plastic squeeze bottle (plastic condiment bottle), and made a spiral pattern, starting in the centre of the soup, then expanding outward. Take a long toothpick or wooden skewer and draw a line down the centre of the yogurt and continue a few times around the circle, making a spider-like pattern.
Lastly, I sprinkled a bit of finely chopped parsley on top.
- 1 medium/large onion (red if you have it) finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter (I used browned butter for more flavour)
- 4 cups (500 g) beets, peeled and chopped into small pieces
- 4 cups (500 g) red cabbage chopped into small pieces
- 1 (796 ml.) can organic tomatoes (approx 3 cups)
- 4 cups (1000 ml.) organic chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
- Plain yogurt for garnish (optional).
- Chopped parsley.
- In a large saucepan set over medium heat, saute the onion in the butter until transparent and just starting to brown, about five minutes.
- Add the chopped beets and red cabbage and stir for a few minutes. Add the chicken broth and the canned tomatoes.
- Stir to combine all the ingredients.
- Cover the soup and cook over low to medium heat for 1 hour and 30 to 40 minutes, or until the beets are tender. Check every so often and stir.
- Use a handheld immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot.
- Add the salt and pepper and adjust if needed.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with a dollop of plain yogurt if desired.
- Sprinkle finely chopped parsley over the top of the soup.
- If desired, the soup can be cooled and refrigerated (before decorating) and served later, or frozen for a couple of months.