The first time I subscribed to a CSA – community-supported agriculture – produce box back in Chicago many years ago, was the first time I was introduced to raw beets.
And, genuinely, I was so excited to start cooking with them!
When any professional chef or home cook welcomes a new ingredient into the kitchen, the first thing to do is to learn how it can be perfectly cooked in the most basic, simple format.
Specifically for raw beets, in order to concentrate their natural earthiness and sweetness and coax their crunchy flesh into a pleasingly tender texture, roasting is the definite way to go.
Pureed into creamy, silky soups!
If you’re already a beet lover, like I’ve become since that fateful first CSA box, this roasted red beet soup will be right up your alley.
Every bowlful is designed to showcase and celebrate the brilliant root’s deep color, as well as its distinctly clean, fresh-from-the-ground flavors.
Seductively smooth and subtly sweet, this rosy red romance in a bowl demonstrates the versatility of roasted beets.
It embraces beautiful simplicity – both in the cooking methods and in the final presentation.
The only time-consuming step with this method is roasting the roots, but you can do that a few days ahead of time while you get some chores done around the house.
Roasting and then adding them to the other ingredients – instead of adding them raw – not only speeds up the soup-cooking process, but also imparts the deepened flavor that roasting graciously yields.
This dish is earthy and comforting, with a velvety texture due to the smart combo of adding dairy products and pureeing the soup in a high-speed blender.
We already made it twice in the last week in my house, first because we had some leftover roasted beets from dinner salads the other night, and later because we love it so much and wanted more!
Whether you’re looking for a vibrant pick-me-up on a cold night, or a hearty, beet-y dinner that’s both delicious and full of nutrients, this is the one to try.Print
Sweet and earthy, our creamy roasted red beet soup relies on a few tricks to achieve the ultimate velvety texture.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 large shallot, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 large clove garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 2 large roasted beets, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups)
- 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
- Sour cream or creme fraiche, for topping (optional)
- Fresh parsley, for topping (optional)
- In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and 1/2 teaspoon salt and saute while stirring frequently until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue stirring frequently just until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the beets and pour the stock into the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Continue simmering for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Working in batches, carefully ladle the contents into a high-speed blender, only filling it no more than halfway full. Place the lid on the blender and puree the mixture until completely smooth. Pour the pureed mixture into a large, clean bowl and repeat with the remaining mixture.
- Pour the pureed soup through a fine-mesh strainer over the same pot you initially cooked the mixture in. Dispose of any solids remaining in the strainer.
- Return the pot to the stovetop, whisk in the half-in-half, and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the soup has thickened just slightly. If you prefer a thinner soup add more stock or water. For a thicker soup, continue cooking in 10-minute increments.
- Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the black pepper, adjusting the seasonings to taste. Divide the soup among four bowls, and garnish with small dollops of sour cream or creme fraiche and chopped parsley. Serve and enjoy while hot.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Vegetable
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Soup
Keywords: beet, soup, roasted, creamy
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Roast the Beets
If you haven’t done so already, prepare and roast the beets according to our simple recipe.
To get roughly three cups of peeled, chopped beets, you’ll need to roast two large beets, or four small ones.
The texture of the soup will vary just slightly if you use more or less beets – with slightly more beets, the soup will be thicker. With slightly less, the soup will be thinner.
Don’t forget to first wash and scrub them in order to remove any dirt and debris – these root veggies can be covered!
You can cook and refrigerate the beets as far as two days in advance – leave them out at room temperature as you prepare the other ingredients in Step 2.
Step 2 – Prep Remaining Ingredients
Measure out the salt and pepper. Freshly cracked is best for the strongest, boldest, and freshest flavors – using a salt and pepper mill for grinding and cracking will make a big difference!
Measure out the stock and half-in-half. Choose a vegetable stock to keep this dish vegetarian. Chicken stock will impart a deeper, meatier flavor. Consider using our recipe for low-sodium chicken stock to control the salt levels.
If you prefer a few simple garnishes, a little sour cream or creme fraiche will provide a tart, acidic finish. And fresh parsley’s grassiness will also work well with the earthy beets. Set out both ingredients, if using.
Rinse and thoroughly dry the parsley – you can use the leaves whole, or rough chop them.
Step 3 – Saute the Shallot and Garlic
In a large pot, one that will be able to hold at least 3 quarts, melt the butter over medium heat. Watch it carefully – you don’t want it to brown or potentially burn.
Add the chopped shallot and 1/2 teaspoon salt and saute, stirring frequently. Let the shallot turn a lightly golden color – this will take about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and continue stirring frequently just until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Don’t let it burn!
Step 4 – Simmer the Stock and Beets
Add the chopped beets to the pot with the shallot and garlic, then pour in the stock.
Raise the heat to bring the stock to a boil, then reduce it to a gentle simmer. Continue simmering this mix, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.
You don’t want to reduce the liquid too drastically, since you’ll need the liquid for quick and efficient pureeing results in the next step.
Step 5 – Puree
Work carefully in this step – the liquid will be hot!
Ladle the contents into a high-speed blender, but only fill it no more than halfway full. You don’t want to overfill the blender, or else the liquid will splatter out when processing. With a hot liquid, you should only partially fill it to prevent messes and kitchen injuries!
Many updated blender models have a vented lid feature, as well as recommended fill measurements, for safe processing of hot ingredients. Be sure to look for these features if you are buying a new appliance.
Place the lid on the blender, and puree the mixture until it is completely smooth.
Pour the pureed mixture into a large, clean bowl and repeat the blending process with the remaining mixture.
If a blender is not an option, you can also use an immersion blender, blending directly in the pot.
Step 6 – Strain
While not completely necessary, straining the pureed mixture removes any remaining small solids, and yields a particularly smooth end result.
Pour the pureed mixture through a fine-mesh strainer back into the original pot – no need to dirty another pot here, when the original one is empty already!
Dispose of any solids that remain in the strainer.
Step 7 – Add Dairy and Cook
Return the pot back to the stovetop, and whisk in the half-in-half.
Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Once at a simmer, continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the soup has thickened just slightly.
At this time, check the texture of the soup before serving. If you want it to be thinner, add more stock or water. If you want it to be thicker, continue cooking for 10-minute increments until you reach the desired thickness level.
Step 8 – Garnish and Serve
Divide and ladle the soup among four bowls. If using garnishes, dollop the sour cream or crème fraiche on the top, and sprinkle with some fresh parsley.
Supper is served – enjoy every spoonful while it’s still hot! We like serving ours with a side of crusty sourdough bread slices.
Use Other Veggies for More Inspiration
It’s worth mentioning that you can create other flavor-packed soups using the same techniques in this recipe!
Once you have the method down – from simmering to pureeing to straining, you’ll be able to confidently craft a comforting, creamy dinner idea ready when the time comes.
Do you have some leftover roasted broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or root vegetables from a side dish the other night? Making a pureed soup finished with a little milk or cream is a delicious method to salvage these ingredients without wasting your money or your food.
What are your favorite vegetables to enjoy as the base for creamy soups? We’d love to know. Leave a comment below!
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. With additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone. Originally published February 20, 2014. Last updated January 23, 2024.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.