Beets have been a staple in winter recipes for centuries. They are part of the chenopod family with Swiss chard and quinoa. These easy-to-grow root vegetables, not only store well over the long winter months, they also pack amazing nutritional value.
Some people are not fond of beets because of their strong flavour. But when prepared the right way, they are deliciously sweet and tangy. This easy beet and potato borscht soup recipe is my favorite way to enjoy beets – with the potatoes and carrots, it has a balanced flavour that just might convert you to a beet-lover!
Easy Beet and Potato Borscht
3 medium beets, chopped, skins on
4 medium potatoes, chopped, skins on
2 cups chopped cabbage
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp herbes de provence or basil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
4 cups chicken broth (preferably organic)
2 tsp sea salt (preferably grey salt)
- Chop all vegetables and set aside.
- In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add onions, sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add cabbage, herbs, garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes.
- Add potatoes, carrots and beets and toss for a minute.
- Pour in chicken broth, add tomato, salt and pepper
- Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer for 20 minutes.
- If desired, remove 1 cup of soup and puree and add back in to thicken its consistency.
- Serve with sour cream on top (if desired)
Health Benefits of Beets
One of the clues to the high nutritional value of beets is their bright reddish-purple colour. The chemical compounds that give vegetables their colours (called phytonutrients) are powerful antioxidant compounds that help the body deal with the effects of oxidative stress. Most other red vegetables get their colour from anthocyanins (such as red cabbage). But what makes beets unique is that their bright colour comes from a different pigment compound called betalains, plus they contain a large quantity of betalains in their skin. Betalains have been studied for their anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties. They seem to be especially of interest in colon cancer research.
Beets are especially good for the liver and detoxification. Their beneficial pigment compounds also trigger detoxification processes in the body, which can help our bodies to get rid of toxins and give the liver some much needed help.
Different Ways to Cook Beets
If you are cooking beets, you can add them to soups, roast them or steam them. According to some research, the optimal cooking time for preserving the most benefit from the betalain antioxidants is to steam them for 15 minutes. Also remember to keep the skins on as this super healthy compound is found in the outer skin of the vegetable.
Raw Beet Ideas
Beets can be eaten both raw and cooked. If you are looking to enjoy raw beets, try juicing them with carrots and apples. Another great way to eat beets raw is to grate them and then add fresh lemon juice like a salad. This is great on top of a green salad or as a side condiment with a meal.
I hope this soup recipe converts you or your family members to love beets. With so many nutritional benefits, they are a great vegetable to learn to love…
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Until next time,