Three Friendly Beets. One Pot of Soup.

Confession: I used to be an avid beet-hater.  In my defense, I think we all agree that beets are alarmingly red.  They stain the cutting board, they stain your fingers, and they most certainly will stain your favorite white shirt.  In grade school, I had one unpleasant encounter with the canned variety that left me cautious and wary for years to come.
However a few months ago I had my first taste of fresh beets, lightly steamed and tastefully scattered over a spring salad.  Redness!  Sweetness!  Delicious softness!  I was charmed.

The story gets better.  Last week I received three beets in my weekly CSA veggie and fruit delivery.  (This summer I signed up for a Community Supported Agriculture share through New Entry Sustainable Farming Project.  For a whopping $55 I get to share a small delivery of weekly produce from local farms in Massachusetts.)  As you can imagine, I was excited to receive these three friendly beets, and even more joyous with the beautiful pot of soup that soon followed.
(The kale and chives are from the CSA share too!)
Ukranian Red Borscht Soup
Modified from Original recipe at
1 package (16 oz) chicken sausage
3 medium Beets
1 cup baby carrots, sliced
2 medium potatoes, cubed
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
3/4 cup water
1 cup chopped kale (originally cabbage)
1 (8oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon white sugar, to taste
Top with plain nonfat yogurt (original recipes calls for sour cream)
Garnish with minced chives (original recipe calls for parsley)

  • Cook sausage in a skillet over medium heat.  Remove and set aside.
  • Fill large pot halfway with water (about 2 quarts).  Bring to boil.  Add sausage.  Add beets, and cook until half-way soft.  
  • Add carrots and potatoes.  Cook until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add kale.  Add diced tomatoes.
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until tender.  Stir in tomato paste and water to blend with onions.  Transfer to the pot.
  • Add raw chopped garlic to the soup.   Cover and turn off heat.  Let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Taste and season with salt, pepper, and sugar.
  • Garnish with plain yogurt and fresh chives.
This sweet soup is best enjoyed with a hunk of crunchy bread, something with a dense crumb useful for sopping up plenty of bright red broth.  I am a new enthusiast for the Whole Foods Bakery, which has turned into an expensive habit since I always find myself meandering from the bakery to the cheese counter.  This week I paired my beet soup with their hearty Seeduction Bread, pictured below.
I dedicate this recipe to my dear childhood friend Ashley.  From my earliest memories in grade school, she has been a faithful beet fan, a remarkable charateristic that I never appreciated until recently.  Hey Ash, I've finally converted!  I can't wait to eat some beets with you.  
Love beets?  Hate beets?  
What do you think about beet soup?
Happy Monday,


abraham said...

fantastic... i love this..

MelindaRD said...

I hate beets, does that make me a bad dietitian? I think I have a fear of red everywhere. In fact, I hate them so much that this was one of the first words I learned in Portuguese...beterraba. But, if you could convert, maybe there is hope for me yet.

LaurelJC said...

Ashley comes from a beet-loving family. Nature or nurture? I'm not sure but it sure smells genetic to me. I'm going to try this recipe today!

Kasey said...

I like to juice with beets! Fresh (not canned) is the way to go with beets.

Unknown said...

Rachel!! I'm so happy you've finally converted! I knew it was only a matter of time. Next time you're in Davis (or I'm in Boston), we can enjoy a nice beet salad. In fact, I've discovered one at Village Bakery Restaurant that is just waiting for you....

Margot said...

That sounds delicious! I made recently cold version of this soup, chłodnik - Polish yogurt & beet soup, I still have some in the freezer, I think I will defrost it for today's dinner :)

Emily said...

Great minds think alike! I just had beets in beet risotto for the first time this summer and actually enjoyed them. Maybe we will be beet lovers by the end of the summer. :-)

Bentobird said...

Stunning recipe and photos. The healthfulness of this dish is off the charts, can't wait to try!

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Disclaimer. I am not a Registered Dietitian yet. I provide nutrition information intended for the general public, not for the treatment of a specific medical condition. I try to use scientific research and reliable sources when forming my opinions and messages.
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