If you are into time travel and happen to meet up with my younger self, please don’t tell her that she will grow to love beets. She will surely not believe you and may even laugh in your face.
I am not a believer in time travel, if you were wondering. But, we just watched the Back to the Future trilogy, and being married to Tim, we discuss time travel way more than I ever thought I would. So it’s on my mind more often than I would have ever thought it would be… But then again, I never thought I’d like beets, sooooooo…
If I could time travel, I think I’d go to a point in history when Julia Child was alive, so I could meet her, preferably in Paris, at a dinner party at her house, after we’d become best friends during one of her L’école des trois gourmandes classes. Maybe we’d even enjoy beets together, since I would be taking my love of beets with me wherever I time traveled to.
Yes, beets. I love them. I am sad when they’re gone. It’s a pretty good life lesson, if I stop and think about it. There are so many things that I think I don’t like. Maybe I really and truly don’t like them. But, with the right additions, with the right complimentary flavors, after trying and failing a few times, maybe they will become not just not as bad as I’d thought, but a favorite.
For this soup, beets are most certainly the star. They bring a sweet, earthy depth to it that’s like nothing else. Combined with (also sweet) carrots, it’s just a fabulous combination. They stained my hands red when I was peeling them (making me wonder how they’d do as an Easter egg dye) (if that would bother you, you could wear gloves), but it washed off with a good scrubbing.
The cauliflower in this dish adds a bit of crunch and, well technically a lack of color, that looks kinda awesome with the red soup. I cooked it separately and added it at the end so that it wouldn’t turn pink. If you don’t care as much, you can add it to the soup with the beets and carrots.
The base of the soup is basically (ha, no pun intended) olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and vegetable stock. There’s a bit of salt and pepper, and some heat from cayenne. That’s it. It’s a simple one.
The carrots and beets take a while longer to roast than the cauliflower, so they get a head start.
Don’t worry, the cauliflower will catch up.
Roasted cauliflower and broccoli are one of my favorite sides. Probably ever. I can’t get enough of how crispy and nutty they get in the oven.
The beets and carrots are added to the boiling stock. They’ll all simmer away for a few minutes. Then it’s ladled into a bowl, topped with some cauliflower, lemon juice, and dill. I haven’t decided if I like it better with or without the dill. I mean, I like it both ways, so I’d say add it if you want to.
I made a very different beet soup a few weeks ago that was not yummy. I added a few too many bitter root veggies that threw off the taste. So, my expectations for this soup were admittedly not very high. This soup pleasantly surprised me with how flavorful it was. I liked it so much that I put my spoon down and slurped the last of the broth out of the bowl.
The real test will be if Tim likes it. He doesn’t yet know that he loves beets like I do.
Sweet and Spicy Roasted Beet and Carrot Soup
- 1 large beet (about 2 C), peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
- 3 t olive oil, divided
- to taste salt
- to taste pepper
- 3 carrots (about 1 1/2 C), cut into 1/2" chunks
- 1/4 head of cauliflower (about 2 C), cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 4 C vegetable stock
- 2 C water
- to taste salt
- to taste pepper
- good sprinkle cayenne
- lemon slices, for serving
- 1/2 t dill (optional), finely chopped, for topping
- Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
- Toss beets with 1 t olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake on the top rack for 15 minutes.
- Toss carrots with 1 t olive oil, some salt and pepper. Stir beets and add carrots, cook for 15 minutes more.
- Toss cauliflower with 1 t olive oil, place on a baking sheet. Stir beets and carrots and move to a rack in the lower portion of the oven. Place cauliflower on the upper rack. Roast for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove beets and carrots from the oven. Flip cauliflower, and roast 10 minutes more.
- Heat soup pot over medium-low. Add 1 T olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for 30 seconds more. Add stock through cayenne. Bring to a boil, add beets and carrots* and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Spoon into bowls, topping the soup with cauliflower, lemon, and a tiny bit of dill.