With beetroots like these who needs spinach?! Or something like that anyway. With a regular supply of these beauties almost year-round you can expect alot more beetroot dishes on the BHK! Really though, it is my favourite veg. I know that is a bold statement for a veggie lover. The ‘root is such a magnificent purple thing, but the leaves are just as good and this soup recipe puts them to good use. We normally chop them up and put them into salads, so this is a nice change.
Now, the vast majority of Beach House readers are from over the pond, that is to say the USA. We love you guys and must translate a little here, you may know these leaves as beet greens and beetroots are of course beets. I like the name beets and beet leaf has a much better ring than beetroot leaf, but I must stay true my small island roots.
The beetroots we are buying at the moment from the farm all come with at least five crisp leaves and beautiful crimson roots. You can really see the similarity with chard, especially swiss chard, they are all one big happy family. As with most plants, the leaves contain more nutrients than the roots, one more reason to never, ever throw them away (I hear of people doing this). What a waste!
This is a basic soup recipe and the beetroot leaves can be substituted for beetroots themselves, or most other veg. This is a classic soup base that allows you to use up any veggies that you have hanging around.
As with most soups, its better the day after. The flavours really come together and the piquant tomato flavour really comes through with the balsamic adding a lovely sweetness.
I decided on oregano here, because it is blooming at the minute in the herb garden. You may prefer to use thyme or even rosemary would go nicely.
We made a big vat of soup here, feel free to half the quantities for a more modest pan full.
Makes one big pan full (eight bowls)
1 tbs veg oil, 2 sticks celery (chopped), 1 carrot (chopped), 4 cloves garlic (minced), 1 big white onion (chopped), 2 teas cumin, leaves of 12 beetroots (well washed and roughly chopped), 2 tbs balsamic vinegar, 2 stems of fresh oregano (leaves only, 3 teas dried oregano otherwise), 1.5l veg stock, 1 tin chopped organic tomatoes, 2 tbs organic tom puree, sea salt and cracked black pepper.
Heat veg oil on medium in a suitably large pan, add onions and soften for a couple of minutes, add celery and carrot and continue cooking and stirring for a couple more minutes. Then add cumin, garlic and balsamic, allow the vinegar to evaporate (getting rid of most of the acidity) then add you beetroot leaves and season with salt and pepper, stir in well.
Cook for a few minutes and when the leaves are wilting add the tomatoes, the oregano leaves and the puree, stir in and heat through, then add your stock and bring it all to the boil. Lower heat and cover, cook for 20 minutes, until all veg is tender. Then blend together using a hand blender or in batches in a food processor. The soup should be smooth, no lumps, check seasoning.
In warm bowls, topped with some oregano leaves and fresh cracked black pepper.
We Love It!
A great summer warmer (needed in these climes), we love the combination of balsamic and beetroot, sweet and tangy coming together nicely with the deep and hearty tomatoes. A lively, zingy soup, jam packed full of flavour and goodness.
Beetroot leaves are full of fibre, protien and vitamin C, which we need constant supplies of because our bodies cannot store it. One cup of beetroot leaves gives you 60% of your daily dose of C. The best news is the vitamin A content, one cup contains 220% of your daily intake. Cor! They also contain alot of calcium, most people think that calcium comes from cows, but there are so many other ways of getting your calcium.