Saturday, May 2, 2015

Beet and Amaranth Soup

Well, it looks like (knock wood) we're finally beginning to enter official "leg-shaving" season - i.e. the temperature is kissing 20C and we can take the kids outside with barely a light jacket or sweater. My squash and tomato seedlings are popping up inside my mini-greenhouse, and with luck this weekend will also see the planting of my beet, carrot, chufa and nasturtium seeds! Seeing all the new life springing up around us (both plant and animal - we found a nest of baby bunnies while raking the lawn today) reminds me that fresh produce is just a stone's throw away... and I still have bags of processed veggies and stock fodder in the freezer from last fall to plow through!

One of the bagfuls of homegrown goodness I finally dug out of it's frosty home was packed with roasted and peeled Lutz beets. The best thing about this variety, to me, is that they totally lack any woodiness regardless of their size or age, and have a perfectly balanced sweet / earthy flavour that works in almost every application I've thought of - tossed into crisp salads, spiralized with carrots as a side, pickled, shredded into latke mixes or baked into cookies and cake. Given that I'm about to put this year's batch of seeds into the ground, though, I figured I should probably set about using up what I already had - and luckily it was time for me to make up a batch of soup for work lunches anyways! I had a brand-new copy of the Bob's Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook by Camilla V. Saulsbury begging to be cracked open, and with my pantry and freezer stocked and more than raring to go this light, flavourful adaptation of one of their soups was cooking up in short order. Along with the rich flavour of the root vegetables, the pot was filled with garlic, onions and amaranth seeds. For a final element of exoticism, I opted to add a squeeze of blood orange juice and shawarma seasoning to highlight the natural sweet-savoury flavours already going on.

Beet and Amaranth Soup

Digging into a bowl right off the stove was like experiencing the height of the garden season all over again - the flavour of the beets was bright and right at the forefront of the dish. After resting in the fridge, though, nutty elements from the amaranth and subtle spices from the seasonng blend crept through and truly made for a memorable lunch with a warmed piece of pita bread on the side!


Beet and Amaranth Soup
Serves 6
1 tbsp camelina oil or olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
10 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups roasted, peeled and chopped beets
1/3 cup amaranth
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tbsp shawarma seasoning*
1/4 tsp white pepper
5 cups water
1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (I used blood orange juice)

*Note: I made my shawarma seasoning with this recipe, but you can buy it here
  1. In a deep, heavy pot, warm the oil over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize - about 15 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high and add the garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. With an immersion blender or in batches with a standard blender, puree until smooth.
  7. Season to taste and serve.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 283.2
Total Fat: 7.0 g
Cholesterol: 3.7 mg
Sodium: 831.6 mg
Total Carbs: 49.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.0 g
Protein: 7.9 g