This Vegan Beet Soup recipe highlights fresh garlic and tarragon. It’s a beautiful culinary combination according to the Vegetarian Flavor Bible, and it’s proven to be true in this delicious soup.
Just like you can turn the volume up or down when you’re listening to a song on the radio, you can also do so with recipes.
Yes, I’m talking about quiet and loud.
Want to quiet down a recipe? Use tofu. Make it louder? Bring on the wasabi.
Vegetarian Flavor Bible
This is not a recipe book, rather it’s a book that profiles hundreds of foods from açaí to zucchini.
Each ingredient is profiled with its flavor description, season, botanical relatives, and possible cooking techniques. It also includes substitutions, pairings, nutritional information, and serving suggestions.
It does all of this in a super organized fashion that easy to follow.
I was happy to be invited to this book signing at Melissa’s Produce to meet Karen and Andrew. Their presentation was incredibly delightful and educational. It’s also what led to the creation of this Vegan Beet Soup.
(You can read all about their fascinating journey to vegetarianism in the introduction in the book.)
As always, Melissa’s did a superb job presenting their beautiful produce.
Veganism in the Name of Gastronomy
During the presentation, Karen and Andrew told us about the best butternut squash soup they’d ever had. Why was it so amazing? Two main reasons:
- Butternut squash stock was used instead of a typical vegetable stock that includes more than one vegetable. The butternut squash stock intensifies the squash flavor.
- The omission of cream, which while delicious, takes away from the flavor of the squash.
And this was not about trying to make a vegan soup — as Karen put it, it was “veganism in the name of gastronomy!”
Inspiration for Vegan Beet Soup
So what did I do?
I thought about one of my favorite vegetables, and certainly one of the most gorgeous — beets.
I used the butternut squash soup they talked about as a guideline, using beet stock and no cream.
Then I looked under beets in The Vegetarian Flavor Bible for additional tips.
One of the many “flavor affinities” they listed was beets + garlic + olive oil + tarragon. And off I went.
If you love to cook (or even just eat!), vegetarian, vegan, or not, I think you’ll love The Vegetarian Flavor Bible.
Enjoy every last spoonful of this beautiful Vegan Beet Soup!
Vegan Beet Soup Recipe
- 2 pounds fresh beets with their greens intact (about 4 large beets)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Remove the greens from 3 of the beets, wash them thoroughly and tear them in half. Add them to a large stock pot and pour enough water over them to cover, about 3 quarts.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer the stock for 45 minutes. Strain into a couple of large pitchers or bowls and set aside. (It will be a yellow/green/brown color -- not pink like the beets.)
- Slice off the root and tip ends of the beets, peel them, and roughly chop them into into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. (The pink stain will go away within an hour or so, but if you don't want your hands to stain, wear kitchen gloves.)
- In the same stock pot, over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the onions and garlic. Let this cook, stirring a bit, until the onions are soft, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add the tarragon and stir. Once it's very aromatic, after about 30 seconds, add the chopped beets and cook, stirring a bit, for about 5 minutes.
- Pour in 6 cups of the beet stock. (Save the rest for another soup!) Bring it to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the beets are very tender, about 45 minutes.
- In two batches, pour the mixture into a very powerful blender and purée until it's as smooth as possible.
- Pour the puréed soup back into the pot and season generously to taste with salt and pepper, and gently stir in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. (Here's How to Season to Taste.)
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