Have you been slow to the beet party?
Have you been slow to embrace beets?I definitely have. For a long time I ate beets when I was served them, but never rushed to make them myself. I always felt they tasted a bit like sweet dirt. I began to warm up to beets after making Martha Rose Shulman's Beet gratin. Here is my version of this delicious gratin where I add some kale and go a little heavier on the cream and cheese than Martha does. But there is more to beets than a good gratin.
Incredibly healthy beets
Beets are incredibly healthy. They fight inflammation, help purify the blood and liver of toxins (which can be very helpful after the holidays!), boost mental health, improve stamina and even function as an aphrodisiac. For more information on all the good things beets do for you see my post on 8 reasons to add beets to your diet.
Simple and quick borscht
This recipe is a slightly modified version of a recipe by The Naked Beet and is different than any other borscht recipe I have had before. It is very simple, all-vegetable, clear and a gorgeous magenta color. If you are a beet lover, you will adore this soup. If you are not a beet lover, it may take some getting used to. I made up a big pot and am eating a cup a day to do something good for my health. Weirdly, I like this borscht cold better than I like it hot.
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Don't forget the beet greens
I reserve the beet greens and throw them in the pot with the rest of the vegetables for a little extra nutrition. Beet greens may be even healthier than the beet root. They have different nutritional properties so when you eat both the root and the greens you maximize the health benefits from this nutritious plant.
Suitable for a variety of diets
This soup is suitable for a variety of diets. It is gluten free, vegetarian as well as dairy-free and vegan if you skip the sour cream garnish. It is very low calorie and a great soup for managing your weight.
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 10 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 12 juniper berries
- 1 pound beets, (about 3 medium), peeled (greens reserved and chopped)
- 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 pound fingerling potatoes, washed and thinly sliced
- 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
- Juice of 1 -2 lemons, divided
- Handful of dill, chopped, plus more for garnish
- Apple cider or balsamic vinegar (optional)
- Sour cream (optional)
- Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Saute onions just long enough to soften without browning, about 5 minutes.
- Add 10 cups of water to the pot, along with the bay leaf and the juniper berries. Bring to a boil. Cut your beets into halves, or into quarters if they are very large, and add to the pot. Drop them into the water and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the carrots, celery, beet greens and juice of ½ lemon. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the beets can be easily pierced with a fork. Turn the heat down to low.
- Scoop the cooked beets out of the soup and let them rest until they are cool enough to handle. Set up your food processor with the grating disk and shred all of the beets. You can also grate the beets by hand, but be careful or you will turn your hands, your counter, your clothes and everything else a beautiful bright magenta. Return the beets to the soup and cook another 10 minutes on low.
- Add chopped dill and season with salt, pepper and additional lemon juice to taste.
- You can also add apple cider vinegar or a little balsamic vinegar to season the soup if you desire.
- Serve hot or cold and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and some fresh dill.
THIS SERVES WELL WITH