Spiced Beetroot Soup with Herb Spiked Feta on Rye Crostini

7 Nov

Beetroot is one of those vegetables that I used to hate. It’s because of that nasty pickled stuff in the jars that leaks pink juice over everything else on your plate, contaminating it with cerise vinegaryness. Or is that just me?

It turns out that unpickled freshly cooked beetroot is sweet, earthy and delicious when roasted or made into purees or soups. It is also an amazingly deep, dark burgundy colour that turns a fabulous shade of fuchsia when mixed with anything white. Like white cheese, yoghurt or sour cream. Or clean white tablecloths.

It’s close relationship with white cheese isn’t only about colour mixing, it’s about flavour mixing too. You could just swirl a dollop of sour cream or Greek yoghurt on top of this soup and still be treated to the sweet-sour, spicy-cool, hot-cold taste sensations that you get from every mouthful of this simple soup.

But adding the extra crunch that you get from a toasted slice of rye bread topped with creamy feta mixed with fresh herbs, green chilli and spring onions that you then put under a hot grill to melt, bubble and brown slightly, takes this humble soup to a whole new level.

You could also use pre-cooked beetroot to save time. It comes shrink wrapped in plastic. Don’t buy the pickled stuff in jars for this. That would be a disaster.

Spiced Beetroot Soup Recipe

Serves 3-4, vegan, gluten-free. Adapted from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall

  • 1 or 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 whole medium-sized beetroot (apple sized ish), peeled, cut into small dice (wear gloves)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • salt & black pepper
  • about 750 ml veg stock
  • 200 g tomato passata/tomate frito/tomato puree (not paste)

Heat the oil in a large pot and cook the onion over a medium heat for about 4 minutes until softened then add the garlic, thyme, cumin & chilli flakes and cook for another minute or two.

Add the diced beetroot and the stock and season with salt & black pepper. Bring to the boil then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10-20 minutes (depending on the size of your dice) until the beetroot is cooked and tender. Add the tomate frito and heat through.

Blend carefully with a stick blender (cover the pot with an old tea towel if you don’t want pink soup everywhere) or puree in a blender or processor until very smooth. Add more stock or water if you need to, to get the desired consistency. Taste for seasoning.

Feta & Herb Crostini

Makes 2, vegetarian

  • 2 thick slices rye bread (I used a rye bread roll cut in half)
  • olive oil
  • about 75 g Greek feta cheese
  • 1 small green chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves, (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano/parsley leaves, (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • black pepper

Preheat the grill to hot and brush both sides of the rye bread with a little olive oil. Mix the feta and a drizzle of olive oil with the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl, mashing it together with a fork.

Toast the bread slices under the grill, on one side then lightly on the other. Pile most of the herby feta on each lightly toasted side, (leaving a little to top the soups) pushing out evenly with a fork then put back under the grill until golden and bubbling.

Reheat the soup and serve in warmed bowls topped with a little of the herby feta and the toasted rye crostini on the side.

Buen Provecho!!

16 Responses to “Spiced Beetroot Soup with Herb Spiked Feta on Rye Crostini”

  1. canalcook November 7, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    This looks lovely. I just made beetroot hummus and I love the colours you get from it. I particularly love the beetroot/feta combination.

  2. Marianne November 7, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    I love making soup at this time of year 🙂 The colours of this dish look amazing, and it sounds absolutely delicious.

  3. narf77 November 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    That looks amazing! With a bit of a tweak I can make a vegan version of feta and still have the almost authentic touch. Cheers for a magnificent opus to beets 🙂

  4. margaret21 November 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    A friend’s just introduced me to your site: I’ve enjoyed browsing and plan to be a regular visitor. This beetroot soup isn’t unlike one I make already, but the crostini look great, and as if they’d take the dish to a new level – thanks!

  5. Enchanted Seashells November 8, 2012 at 3:23 am #

    Love beets, love beet juice, it’s so healthy esp if you have any gallbladder issues!

  6. The Literate Chef November 8, 2012 at 3:43 am #

    Great pictures, it looks and sounds delicious. I love fresh beets and their earthy smell and taste. Great idea about wearing gloves, I never thought of that.

  7. musingmar November 8, 2012 at 4:20 am #

    This looks so elegant and delicious. I used to make huge batches of borsht many years ago, and then somehow I forgot about that. I think it’s time for some beet soup here! In the past I adored pickled beets, but these days I prefer more subtle roasted beets. It’s interesting how one’s tastes change.

  8. tony ward November 8, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    Hija, you’re driving me to drink with this beetroot fetish of yours !! This one sounds superb, I’ll try it on the weekend I think with Rose chilled, then if it ends up on the tablecloth I’ll blame the soup !!

  9. Chica Andaluza November 8, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    I adore fresh beetroot and this looks and sounds stunning!

  10. Promenade Claire November 8, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    I’ve recently discovreed beetroot soup, basically I had to find another use for all the beetroot I’ve grown! I’m loving the addition of chilli into the soup, I’ve tried thyme and cumin, so it’s chilli next! Thanks

  11. spree November 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    I’m wracking my brain to think of a soup more seductively gorgeous than this one…so far I’m coming up blank! And I love too the cheesy herby bits of toasty crunch on top! Just thoroughly beautiful Natalie.

  12. Tammy November 10, 2012 at 12:54 am #

    Beautiful! I love that it isn’t cold. I can’t wait to make this.

  13. Three Well Beings November 10, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    in the U.S. we just call them “beets.” And i love them! I probably didn’t as a child, either. They tend to intimidate me when I’m cooking them, but they are due to appear in my weekly produce box soon, and I will definitely make this soup. It is gorgeous and I’m sure tastes wonderful. The feta on rye crostini will be more immediately served! 🙂

  14. Allison November 10, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    Gorgeous color! Hope you didn’t ruin too many tablecloths… 🙂


  1. Roasted Beetroot Tart with Goat’s Cheese, Walnuts, Oatmeal Crust | Cook Eat Live Vegetarian - May 3, 2013

    […] I buy beetroots from the market, then I roast them and then I decide what I am going to do with them. Roasted beetroot is a great thing to have in your fridge. You can just add it to a salad with some goat’s cheese & walnuts (classic flavour combinations) if you can’t be bothered with the whole “making the tart” thing or are pushed for time. You can puree it with some chickpeas to make this brilliantly bright magenta coloured Beetroot Hummus, or blend it with some stock into this stunning  Spiced Beetroot Soup. […]

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