Nothing beats a beet for earthiness and vibrant color. This superb soup is no exception. Imbued with warm spices and a terrific texture, this recipe from the cookbook East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing by Meera Sodha is sure to become a family favorite.
The ingredients in this beet soup tend to be either in the ‘love it’ or ‘leave it’ category. If you find yourself saying ‘leave it’, I encourage you to take a chance this time. Although this reddish root vegetable has a particular taste that is sometimes unpopular, this recipe rises above it with a bit of zing and zest.Print
This is one of a handful of soups my mother has been making for years. I didn’t include it in my ﬁrst book, Made in India, because it didn’t feel very “Indian,” but family recipes are messy, eclectic, and wonderful things, forged over many years, that don’t often ﬁt into neat categories. When writing this Beet and Ginger Soup recipe down, I asked Mum how much ginger to add. She said, “According to the weather,” so the quantity given here is for a cold winter’s day. By all means, kick it up a notch for extra warmth.
- 3 tablespoons of canola oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ¾ inch ginger, peeled and grated
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 green ﬁnger (or serrano) chile, finely chopped
- 1 pound of raw beets, scrubbed and grated
- ¼ pound of potato (1 small), peeled and grated
- 3 cups of vegan vegetable stock (or equivalent amount of vegetable bouillon and water)
- Salt, to taste
- Thick vegan yogurt (plain), to serve
- Nigella seeds, to serve (optional)
- Grilled sourdough, to serve
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and, once it’s good and hot, add the onion and fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the ginger, garlic, and chile, then fry for 3 minutes, stirring all the while. Add the beet and potato, stir to coat, then pour in the stock and bring to the boil.
- Turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.
- Leave the soup to cool a little, then blend and taste—add up to ¼ teaspoon of salt if you like.
- Transfer the soup into bowls and top with a spoonful of yogurt and a sprinkling of nigella seeds. Serve hot with the grilled sourdough.
This soup goes well with a chunk of grilled sourdough bread and thick tart yogurt seasoned with a pinch of salt.
Keywords: vegan soup, beet soup, Indian soup, Ginger Soup, healthy soup
Meet and Greet the Beautiful Beet
Did you know that beets began in ancient Babylon times, along with Greeks and Romans? At that time, the leaves and stalks were used for culinary purposes while the root was employed as medicine. By the 1500s, modern beets (the types that we are familiar with now) were popularized in both Germany and Italy.
What makes these bulbous roots so beneficial to your health? They’re low in fat and high in fiber, folate, manganese, and potassium. Beets boast a decidedly good dose of vitamin C, magnesium, B vitamins, copper, and iron. They also help to fight inflammation and boost brainpower. ‘Turnip the beet’ in more of your recipes for extra nutrition.
Warm Spice Is Really Nice
Part of what makes this particular soup so superb is the selection of simple but potent spices. On a wintery day, the combination of these ingredients will make you feel so wonderfully warm.
- Ginger – Peppery and sweet with a pungent and spicy aroma. Aids in digestion reduces nausea and helps to fight the flu and common colds. Full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Garlic – Another ingredient with a pungent and spicy aroma. Sulfurous and slightly herbal. High in Vitamin C, B6, and manganese and excellent for boosting the immune system.
- Onion – Sharp, astringent, and slightly sweet. Full of soluble fibers and prebiotics, with a decent amount of Vitamin C, B6, B9, and potassium. Rich in antioxidant properties and flavonoids, especially quercetin.
- Green Finger Chili Pepper – A bit spicier than the Serrano, this little pepper is a popular pick for Indian dishes. High in fiber, Vitamins A, B, and C, as well as iron and magnesium. Excellent for firing up a mellow metabolism.
How to Serve It Up
- Super With Sourdough – A slice of crisp and tangy sourdough toast makes a sensational sidekick with this beautiful beet broth. A wedge of focaccia bread would work well, too!
- Yay for Yogurt! – Create a wonderful contrast of colors with a creamy white swirl over the pool of reddish-purple. The combination of the slightly sour yogurt over the rich, earthy blend is un-beetable! Try one of these brands.
- Pair With Potatoes – Power up your savory soup with a satisfying side of potatoes. Including a Hasselback potato or two will not only help to extend your soup but will also add some crackle and crunch to your meal.
- Sprinkle With Sassy Seeds – Nigella seeds (also known by many other names including black cumin, fennel flower, and black caraway) have a slightly bitter, toasted onion type flavor. You can simply substitute sesame seeds as a sweeter, nuttier topping if you don’t have Nigella seeds.
Storing Your Savory Soup
Place any leftover soup into a sealed container. It can easily be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. To reheat, pour into a saucepan and let come to your desired temperature over medium-low heat. Stir frequently.
If the soup is too thick, just add a little bit of vegetable broth to thin it out. If you don’t think you’ll use the soup within 3 days, pour the leftovers into an ice cube tray and freeze. When frozen, throw the soup cubes into a freezer-safe bag. They should last for at least a month.
About the Author
Meera Sodha is a food writer, chef, and author of three fantastic Asian cookbooks. Her first book, Made in India, was a Top 10 bestseller and her second book, Fresh India, won the Observer Food Monthly Best New Cookbook Award in 2017. This recipe comes from her most recent book: East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing.
When she’s not working on her amazing recipes, she also contributes to The Guardian with her ‘New Vegan’ column. Meera was given The Guild of Food Writers Cookery Writing Award in 2018 and also named Fortnum & Mason’s Cookery Writer of the Year for her work at The Guardian.
Sodha cooks, writes, and lives in London with her husband and daughter.
Other Splendid Soups to Try:
We want to thank our amazing recipe testers Taylor Gillespie (@food.in.focus), J.J. Steele, and Kathleen Walters for helping us perfect this recipe!
This recipe for Beet Soup was reprinted with permission from the East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing cookbook by Meera Sodha (Flatiron Books, October 2020). Photo credit: David Loftus. Please note that this article contains affiliate links that help support our work at World of Vegan!