Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Roast beet and Fennel Soup

I have been talking for a while now about soup and slow cookers and in general, fall and winter foods. I have decided to free-hand a new soup. I was looking for something with lots of flavour and something that would be really warming on a cold day. Searching through my fridge I found beets. I had planned to roast them, but why not use them in a soup.

Beets can go with so many things, so I did a little googling and found a number of recipes that paired beets with fennel. Fennel is something I have never purchased and never used. I figured, this was a perfect opportunity to give it a try. Nice thing about roasting vegetables, it makes recipes a little more forgiving. There is so much flavour unlocked when you roast vegetables, you don't need to add a whole lot more to make a good tasting soup.

Fennel is a root vegetable used in Mediterranean cooking. it is high in vitamin C, Potassium and Folate. All good things. Beets are also a great source of folate and also manganese and fibre. On top of that, they are both loaded in phytonutrients and all sorts of antioxidants. As a someone that eats a vegan diet, I think it is really important to get a wide range of vegetables. I  can't say I am always the best at this, but i love when I can introduce something new.
Prepared for roasting. The foil helps with evening the temperature
good for things like beets when left whole

Both of these vegetables lend themselves to roasting, plus it is so easy to do.. I had to roast these before making my soup. To roast, trim the beets so the greens are removed (If you want, you can save these and use them in salad or saute them). Next toss the whole beets in olive oil and salt and pepper. Now get a large peice of tin foil and wrap the beets in it (This will help to cook evenly and prevent juices from dying the fennel red). Now get the fennel and trim it so the stalks are removed. Cut into quarters, toss in the same olive oil and salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet with the beets. Roast them at 375 F for about an hour.

Exactly one hour later. My kitchen smells so good

Now, if you want, you can just slice and eat these as is, or you can make a soup with them. I chose to make soup:

Roasted Beet and Fennel Soup
*Makes 8-10 servings, about 1 hour if the vegetables are already roasted

  • 3-4 beets roasted, skins removed and quartered
  • 2 fennel bulbs, roasted and quartered
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper diced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 Tsp ground thyme
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 5-6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp siracha
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup milk or soy cream
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, sliced (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped (optional)
If you haven't done so, roast the fennel and beets as noted above and let cool. While you're waiting, chop up the other ingredients so you are ready to build the soup. Remove the beet skin and chop into quarters or smaller if you want and set aside. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add a little olive oil. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add the garlic and leek and cook for 3-4 more minutes. Now add the sage and thyme and cook again for another minute.
Prep done, makes building a soup a lot easier

Step one - Saute all the base vegetables 

Step two - add herbs

Add in the beets, fennel and vegetable stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or so. You can go longer if you want... or do this in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Step 3 - add the stock and remaining ingredients and wait...
keep waiting...

Now, get out your immersion blender and put on an apron. Beets stain and splatter could wreck what you're wearing. Keep this in mind! Blend the soup until it is a nice cream texture. If you want some chunks, that is fine too. Do it to taste. Now stir in the siracha to taste and the red wine vinegar. I used what was listed above and it was good. Definite hit of spice though!

Before serving, add fresh basil and parsley to each bowl. You can also garnish with a little fennel leaves if you like. Drizzle in a little of the soy milk/cream
See how pretty it looks with all the garnish

Should last for about 5-7 days. If you can't finish it, freeze it!

So... the results.. this soup was a hit. It is rich and a smooth, but also has a good blend of spicy, sweetness and freshness. Really instead of beets you could use any other root vegetable here, but the colour that comes from this soup is so pretty. Somewhere between a strong magenta and a deep scarlet red. By the time I finished this, I didn't even want anything to eat, but couldn't help myself once I tasted it. I think adding the milk at the end adds a nice layer and looks nice, so try not to skip this. My sister (a non-vegan) tried it with sour cream (Toffuti makes a vegan one). Normally beets are paired with sour cream, but she said that it was a bit overpowering and that it was better alone.

The only thing I don't like about this recipe is the mess that the beets make. Roasting on foil is a smart tip I found and saved a huge amount of mess.... but my hands, some of my floor, the cutting board and Tupperware have been dyed red! I love beets, but man are they messy! Keep this on away from kids I think..


  1. Hi,
    Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Veganism Community? Our members will appreciate it.
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    1. Hi James, I added my blog. Thanks for sharing it!