Golden Beet Soup
60 Min

Golden Beet Soup

Originally cultivated in the Middle East, beets may be popular among trendy chefs and foodies alike but suffer all sorts of indignities because of their strong earthy flavors. Often compared to metal, mud, wood and even dirty socks, there are many beet haters out there. I remember having to endure dinner-table lectures from my father extolling the benefits of eating sliced raw beets, which as a kid I eyed with deep distaste.

Beets are now regarded as a superfood, and preliminary research has shown that drinking fresh beet juice may boost our stamina to help us exercise longer. This is partly because of nitrates, a naturally occurring chemical in beets that our body is able to convert into nitric oxide to help regulate blood flow and blood pressure. My search to find ways to get folks to like beets has led me on a path to cook them in umpteen ways. When paired with nuts, seeds, citrus, herbs or lentils, the earthy taste can be muted to create wonderful new flavors.

A couple of weeks ago, a tub of gorgeous golden yellow beets landed in my restaurant kitchen, freshly harvested from the organic Animal Farm Center from nearby Cat Spring. Considered a gentler and milder cousin of the robust red beet, the yellow beet holds its golden color for longer when cooked as opposed to the red, which can go from a deeply pungent fuchsia to a dull brown if overcooked. Given the cold weather, I decided to make a warming soup with the golden beets and, on a hunch, instead of the perfunctory turmeric, added saffron threads and sesame seeds to the broth, with delicious results.

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Cook Time

60 Minutes



Step 1
Peel the beets and chop them into 1-inch cubes. Without peeling the ginger, cut it into thin slices. Combine the beets, ginger, sesame seeds, saffron, salt, and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Step 2
Lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the soup rest for another 15 to 20 minutes. Then, using a blender, purée until smooth. Return the soup to the stockpot, turn the heat to medium and let it simmer until the chile oil is ready.
Step 3
To make the chile oil, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and pop the mustard seeds, kari leaves, if using, and the minced garlic. Within 2 to 3 seconds, add the chile powder and turn the heat off. Add the remaining olive oil to the mixture.
Step 4
Serve the soup with a drizzle of chile oil, topped with pomegranate seeds and cilantro.
1 1/2 pounds golden beets
3-inch piece of ginger
1/3 cup sesame seeds
Generous pinch of saffron
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
10 to 15 kari leaves (optional)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon chile powder
2 to 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
Cilantro leaves for garnish

Notes & Variations

  • When adding the chile powder to the olive oil, make sure the oil is not too hot or the chile will burn, turning it black and inedible. If this happens, start over.
  • Instead of sesame seeds, try peanuts or sunflower seeds.
  • Instead of water, add coconut milk or heavy cream for a richer finish.
  • Replace kari leaves with chopped rosemary.
60 Min

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