Beet soup with punchy cashew cream
I've been under the weather this week. Now that I'm out the other side, I wanted to make a nourishing soup that would energise me and boost my immune system.
After seeing beetroots piled high at the market, I decided it would have to be a colourful beet soup. A cashew cream with horseradish would give some extra punch.
Soups are a great way of packing lots of vegetables into a meal, and the stock you cook the veg in is an important component. Try making your own stock instead of using a ready made cube or powder - just throw everything into a big pan with water and leave it to do its thing. I chose to include red cabbage in mine for its anti-inflammatory properties. Combined with onion, garlic, mushroom and carrot it provides a hearty and soothing base for the soup.
Beets have an intense, pinky purple colour and a sweet earthy taste. A good source of blood-building iron, they also contain vitamin C, folic acid, zinc, calcium and magnesium. Beets support the liver and have a cleansing effect on the blood. As a high fibre food, they keep the intestines lubricated. The leaves of beetroots are also nutrient dense, containing vitamin A, iron, manganese and calcium.
The punchy cream
For the topping, cashews add creaminess along with anti-oxidants and magnesium. I've added horseradish to bring heat and some punch. Part of the brassica family of vegetables, horseradish's bitter taste helps to stimulate digestion and sulphur compounds support detoxification. It also stimulates the immune system and is anti-bacterial.
Beet soup & cashew cream
For the stock
1/2 red cabbage
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
For the soup
500g beetroots ( 3 medium beets) - peeled and roughly chopped with leaves chopped and reserved
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
600ml veg stock (see above)
Pinch of salt
For the cashew cream
50g cashews (soaked for at least 4 hours in clean water)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp water
Juice & zest of half a lemon
1cm piece of horseradish, peeled and grated
Beetroot sprouts and pea shoots - washed well in cold water
To make the stock, roughly chop (except the garlic clove, which you can add whole) and add all ingredients to a large saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer with a lid on for 2 hours. Strain and set aside the liquid.
Heat the butter/ghee in a large saucepan on a low heat, add the mustard seeds and then the onion. Cook until translucent, then add the garlic followed by the beets. Add the veg stock and salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Add the beet leaves, cover and simmer for an extra 5 mins. Pour the soup into a food processor and blend until smooth. Check the texture - you may want to add a little boiling water if it's too thick.
Drain and rinse the cashews. Add to a blender with all the other ingredients for the cashew cream and blend on high speed until completely smooth. Spoon on to the soup and sprinkle some beet sprouts and pea shoots on top.