Soulful ABC soup — Apple, Beetroot and Carrot soup, topped with roasted seeds, dry cranberries and walnuts

Soulful ABC soup — Apple, Beetroot and Carrot soup, topped with roasted seeds, dry cranberries and walnuts

Wow, we stepped into April and are technically in spring! While everyone I heard and read from India has been complaining about the scorching summer temperatures, it seems we haven’t had enough of the wintery days here! We aren’t done yet. It had drizzled irksomely all of yesterday and its chilly today! But good Lordy, there’s some hope next week on. The weatherman predicts warm sunny days not long in sight! So well, this and more has also been reasons why my kitchen is still simmering soups…

A delicious new recipe is quite rewarding.  Agree. But the process of developing it isn’t always half as thrilling it may seem. It can be weird and whacky. Weird, wacky and wearying for some. At least for the resident guinea pigs…only this time, it was the Hubbyman!

I often do hearty soups for easy dinners on busy weekdays, especially for the kids…my 7 year old and my 20 months old tiny tot. And the making of this apple, beetroot and Carrot soup has been quite a story.

A few weeks back, I was working on some easy ways to have my children eat the godly beetroots. Idea in mind was the good ol’ mommy’s “blend-and-combine-with-your-kid’s-favorite-food” trick. Both my girls adore apples and carrots (oh yeah, ‘m so thankful for that!). Hence, choosing these ingredients came easy. Also, red goes with red and can make it easy to mask. But what on earth can really mask the beetroot red? Hmm, not that I had cared much…

Soulful ABC soup -- Apple, Beetroot and Carrot soup, topped with roasted seeds, dry cranberries and walnutsI cooked the fruit with the veggies, blended them together and seasoned minimally. It was as simple as an ABC! The kids and S seemed to have liked it. They licked clean off their bowls without a sign of complain. I liked it too. Well somewhat. Could it be made tastier? Are the proportions right? Should I adjust the spices a tad bit? Call it the often never ending cook’s dilemma? HubbyMan didn’t know what more to say. I was in need of some validation, and he quintessentially gave up! We were expecting guests over for dinner at ours the same weekend. I decided to serve them my new glorious red soup – only this time I was going to add a plump tomato in it.

Early that evening, I had set up the table with my formal mismatch fine porcelain that I’d been collecting since months. I laid the dinner table for 6. A charger dinner plate was neatly positioned in the center of each place setting, with a salad plate sitting on top. The appetizer plate was placed on each salad plates. Dinner and salad forks were sited on the left. The knife, dinner spoon and dessert spoons sat effortlessly arranged on the right.  Sparkling clean glasses for water and wine stood tall above the silverware on right. The napkins tucked in their rings with utmost care. Everything seemed perfect. When we were ready to host, S came around for a last curious look at the table…and his sight instinctively struck with something that seemed offbeat to him…very off-beat. It was my pretty hand painted Japanese soup bowls on the table that were gazing hard at him! “So we’ll have that lovely soup again tonight, uh?” he somewhat mumbled. I only managed a smile back.

We sat for dinner and quietly ate our soup, though one of our guests slurped it up. It tasted good with the chopped walnuts. Also with the roasted sunflower and pumpkins seeds mixed with some dried cranberries and placed as option-2 for soup topping. (ever since I bought a bag of this mixture from a store, I’ve been using this mixture on everything!) Topping number-3 was mildly tempered beetroot leaves, which were equally convincing. Our guests said they loved the tickling spicy punch in the soup. And why not? I had mixed in one heaped tablespoonful of ground pepper as I was heating the soup up!

But was this soup better than the 1st time? I wasn’t sure again! So, four more soup batches were produced over the course of next 3 weeks. Three more visiting families separately made it to my soup-tester’s list. Most of them wouldn’t stop thanking for how good the soup was. A couple others, who didn’t quite get themselves to believe they were actually eating beetroot, licked their bowls clean quietly, without any resent. I took that a silent appreciation in itself!

And though delicious every time, the soup saw a slight variation that I tried each of those days. I altered quantities of the fruit/veggies I added,  adjusted spices – I tried them all. But at the finale, it all boiled down to the basic K.I.S.S rule (no, by no means ‘m I spamming my blog post!). Rule, what? “Keep it simple, silly!!!” That’s what screamed to me, end of my month-long soup-trial. I finally settled and sticked to my base soup recipe that had just the right amounts of the ingredients to counter balance the contrasting tastes of the apple, beetroot and carrot, with minimal additives. This immensely enhances all the enticing natural flavors of the soup, without any spice overload or processing fuss.  

Soulful ABC soup -- Apple, Beetroot and Carrot soup, topped with roasted seeds, dry cranberries and walnutsAnd wasn’t that already an embellished “eat-your-beetroots-apple-and-carrots” ordeal for poor Mr. Man of the house? Kids didn’t seem to have been bothered one bit though. They don’t care eating a food the umpteenth time…not if it’s delicious and isn’t very chewy. And then you know how the strong red pigment in beetroots can be a great bio-marker of the body’s elimination test? Well, we certainly were five times more certain of our colon’s great health by now! And I promised my kin that this soup will disappear off our table for at least the next couple months…(err, I wouldn’t be a piker this time!) 

All said and done, this soup is an absolute delight in summers and winters alike. It can be had warm or cold, rain or shine, busy or not. You could sure make it for an elaborate party or if curling up on a couch alone with a good book/movie for company…now how awesome is that! Again, it’s super nutrition packed, simple, straight forward, one-pot, one-dish meal that you’ll fancy eating. I am providing an easy  pressure cooker method that dramatically reduces down the cooking time to under 30 minutes. Mantra is a quick boil, blend, eat and feel good! The recipe is ridiculously simple. There’s not any fat involved (no butter, no oils), so it can make a great low-carb diet. Omit the yogurt for a delicious Paleo or Vegan version. I believe in utilizing and reusing veggies in my kitchen. So didn’t throw away the good beetroot leaves that came along. I tossed them up lightly and tempered mildly to make a tasty soup topping. The soup also goes exceptionally well with a topping of roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds with dried cranberry…as well as with chopped walnuts.

Try this soup soon. This delicious bowlful should fit most diets in the best ways and is very rewarding, taste and health-wise.

RECIPE⇒

Makes 6 to 8 servings

For Soup you’ll need:

  • 2 sweet red Apples
  • 3 medium-small size Beetroots
  • 2 medium Carrots
  • 2-3 fat garlic cloves
  • 1 heaped tbsp Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • About 3 cups (24 oz or 700 ml) water or more

To make the soup:

  1. Peel, core and chop the apples. Wash, trim, scrub (or peel) and chop the carrots roughly. Wash the beetroots thoroughly, trim the ends, peel and slice them thin (so they cook well and soften).
  2. Dry roast the garlic cloves for a few quick seconds for added smoky flavor.
  3. In a clean pressure cooker, add the chopped apples, beetroots and carrots. Add 3 cups of water and pressure cook on high heat for up to 5 whistles. Alternatively, cook the chopped fruit and veggies with 3 cups of water on a slow cooker or a covered Dutch oven till they’re all cooked nice and mushy. You may have to add some more water interim during cooking, as needed.
  4. Take off from stove. If using pressure cooker, let the internal pressure release by itself. Let the soup mixture cool down a little.
  5. Transfer the soup mixture to a blender. Add dry roasted garlic and the Greek yogurt or sour cream. Add some salt and fresh ground pepper too. (I usually start with only 0.5 tsp of salt and at this stage). Blend them all together to a smooth fine soup. Check and adjust salt plus pepper. Alternatively, you can skip blending the yogurt/sour cream here, and can serve your soup with some whipped yogurt or sour cream instead!
  6. If the soup is too thick and needs to be thinned down, transfer the soup back to the cooker or Dutch oven, add water to attain desired consistency and simmer for about 1-2 minutes, and check/adjust salt plus pepper. (I skip this step, since I do this soup in my pressure cooker.) Otherwise, transfer them directly to a soup tureen or into your soup plates. Enjoy your divine bowl of goodness with the fun ‘n’ healthy toppings suggested below.

For the topping:

  • Mix some dry roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds with dried cranberries (I used a ready-mix bag from Costco)
  • And/or chopped walnuts
  • And/or with the deliciously seasoned and cooked Beetroot leaves**

**Trim and discard stems from beetroot leaves (keeping the very tender ones). Cut away any damaged are of the leaves. Thoroughly wash them to get rid of all the dirt and grit. Shred or chop them. Chop or mince a couple garlic cloves. Melt some butter on medium heat and add minced garlic. Let them fry for a quick couple seconds (so they don’t burn). Add the shredded leaves and tender stem. Saute for a minute. Cover cook till done. Adjust salt. Top on the soup along with the roasted seeds, walnut bits and dried cranberries! 

NOTES: To make this soup paleo or vegan diet compliant, omit the Greek yogurt or sour cream during blending, but add some fresh lime juice to taste before serving. Also replace butter with light olive oil to temper/season the beetroot leaves topping.

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