August 4, 2011

Chilled Golden Beet & Ginger Soup

by IsaChandra

Serves 8

Chilled Golden Beet Soup

I’m going to stick up for conversations about the weather. I like them. I don’t mind listening to your humidity report, in fact I find it fascinating. Sunshowers, hail, tornadoes, and even the not-so-extreme like “Omigod it was really hot today.” I don’t see the big deal or why weather got such a bad reputation. After all, it dictates our lives. And it really really dictates our food.

From practical things, like how the finicky spring weather affects our gardens, to the emotional things, like how rainy days make you crave soup or a sweltering day has you revving up the blender for smoothies. And that’s what makes this soup at first so…confusing.

I’ve never really gone in for cold soups. Even gazpacho has to get me on a really good day in order for me to enjoy it. But a few elements came together that had me eating a chilled soup and loving it. For one, the beets. I picked them up at the farmer’s market and kind of neglected them. I knew I would roast them, but ugh, turning on the oven! So I decided to roast them at night when it was cooler; they could work away like elves in the kitchen, while I watched my reality TV. Slow roasting them at a moderate temperature didn’t raise the heat in the house too much, and the fact that I didn’t have to check on them very often helped too.

Once they were done it was too late to eat, so I put them in the fridge and planned to slice them up for salads during the week. But who eats that many beet salads? Soup made much more sense.

But it was too hot for a soup! And yet, I was craving one of my favorite combos: coconut/lime/ginger/root veggie. And so I said fork it. And I’m glad I did because now I’ve gotten to have two of my favorite things – a gingery root veg soup and a long-ass conversation about the weather. Plus, I discovered a new love…chilled soup!

This soup is smooth and velvetty is just as refreshing as a run through your neighbor’s sprinklers on a hot summer day. Although beets don’t usually make you think “summer,” they are in season right now, and the tropical flavors just make sense. Golden beets taste like the old reliable red beet went out dancing with a butternut squash way past curfew. It’s got that great earthy backdrop, but a tangy sweetness is the first taste. I like to top it off with a few dots of Sriracha.

2 lbs yellow beets, trimmed and scrubbed
1 15 oz can lite coconut milk
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1 1/2 to 2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon agave or pure maple syrup (optional)

For garnish:
Thinly sliced scallions

The hardest part of this recipe is roasting the beets, and that’s not even hard, it just takes a while. Look for beets that are somewhere between the size of a golfball and a tennis ball, so that they roast quickly and evenly.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Wrap the scrubbed beets individually in tin foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about an hour, turning once about halfway through. Beets are ready when very easily pierced with a steak knife.

Let them cool (still in the tinfoil) for about an hour.  They’ll keep softening as they cool, and that is good! Place in the fridge to cool completely.

Once cool, unwrap the beets, slide off the peel, and place in a blender or food processor. Add the coconut milk, lime juice and salt and puree until relatively smooth.

Preheat a small pan over medium-low heat, and saute the ginger and garlic for no more than a minute, being careful not to burn. Add 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth to deglaze the pan, and turn off the heat.

Transfer the garlic/ginger/veg broth mixture to the food processor, and puree until very smooth and velvetty. Taste for salt and seasonings, and add a tiny bit of agave or maple syrup if you’d like it a tad sweeter.

Place in the fridge (while still in the blender) and chill for at least an hour. It should be cold all the way through. If it’s too thick, add up to another 1/2 cup vegetable broth and blend again.

Serve topped with scallions and dotted with Sriracha.

  • August 4, 2011 at 6:58 pm: Megan

    Oh yes. This will be made VERY soon.

  • August 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm: Elizabeth

    This looks amazing – do you peel your beets?

    • August 4, 2011 at 7:14 pm: IsaChandra

      I did, thank you for catching that! Added it to the directions.

  • August 4, 2011 at 7:16 pm: Gina

    Perfect timing, as I was just searching for a cold beet soup recipe. This recipe has All The Right Stuff. Thank you! Nice photos, and great blog post (have said it before, you are such a good writer).

  • August 4, 2011 at 8:28 pm: Olivia

    Looks fantastic! I am in an area where golden beets are practically non-existent…do you think regular beets would work well? or a mix of beets and butternut?

  • August 4, 2011 at 10:03 pm: Diane

    IsaChandra…..I want to marry you! You are my hero. : ))

    • August 5, 2011 at 12:43 am: IsaChandra

      Aww, thanks!

  • August 5, 2011 at 5:09 am: Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    I love the chilling idea. This soup is a beauty!

  • August 5, 2011 at 8:25 am: javi

    Apart from spanish gazpacho, there is a kind of cold soup called ajoblanco (whitegarlic). Have you ever tried that one?

  • August 5, 2011 at 11:24 am: db

    Making this very soon– looks and sounds like a perfect warm weather soup!! Thanks.

  • August 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm: JL goes Vegan

    This is gorgeous. Love the Sriracha swirl. (by the way, tried Sriracha on grilled corn on the cob last night..what have I been waiting for? Yum)

  • August 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm: Apron Appeal

    I’ve been thinking a lot about coconut milk lately as far as “creaming” up my cream soups…I’ve been worried the taste will come trhough…After seeing this, I think I’ll try it. I just don’t know that I can live without my potato soup this fall.

  • August 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm: Kristi

    This is a beautiful looking soup – great “plating!” How do you think it would work with red beets? I have some in the fridge staring at me . . .

  • August 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm: Emily

    This looks amazing, and I love your description of the beet and squash after hours! Business time. I’ll make it this weekend!

  • August 6, 2011 at 10:52 pm: Renee Rose

    Isa, I cannot say I am a committed vegan but I dabble often. After 15 + years in the culinary industry I think your approach to food is fun and refreshing. I must say though I was surprised to find a Post Punk Kitchen since our catering company is Post Punk Cafe, and am extremely curious how your name came about?

  • August 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm: FoodFeud

    I couldn’t find golden beets either but I used mostly chiogga beets with sweet potato. It was delicious! And sriracha is the best topping – for taste and ease of making cute faces on top! If only I could always trust other cooks and their bizarre flavor pairings. Thanks, Isa

  • August 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm: Suburban Snow White

    I just can’t get over the color. Holy cow.

  • August 8, 2011 at 12:03 am: Ann Marie

    just made this for dinner tonight…fantastic!!!

  • August 9, 2011 at 2:50 am: meagan

    just made this for dinner too … AMAZING!!!!!

  • August 10, 2011 at 7:32 pm: Jennifer

    can’t wait to make this!
    I got one of these:
    …initially just for roasting beets in the summer because I hate leaving the oven on too. It works great and also gets a lot of use making dry beans, curries, etc too

  • August 11, 2011 at 11:10 am: Sam @ H.V.R

    Beets are great! Thank you for sharing… :) I’m going to try this one soon!

  • August 18, 2011 at 8:49 pm: Zoe

    Cool. I love unusual dishes like this. They’re so much more fun than regular mainstream food. I love quirky soups like these. :)

  • August 28, 2011 at 11:56 pm: Kay

    Wow! So amazing! There was a good deal on ‘candy’ beets (kinda between regular and golden beets) at the farmer’s market today, so I made it with them. So delicious!!! I can’t hardly wait for it to chill all the way through!

  • June 17, 2013 at 10:04 pm: Tofulish

    “Golden beets taste like the old reliable red beet went out dancing with a butternut squash way past curfew.” Best food writing ever.

    • June 18, 2013 at 2:29 am: IsaChandra

      Finally someone appreciates me!

  • October 2, 2013 at 3:44 am: Lisa

    We made this last year for our supper club, and I’ve been waiting for golden beets to show up again so I can try it myself…so excited to have found them today! I can’t wait to have this soup again!!