The last few days were a little colder than expected so it made me want to make a warm and comforting soup, but we also just booked a weekend away to the beach so swimsuit season is in mind as well. This soup easily satisfies the desire for something hearty, while being extremely healthy. The pistou garnish adds an extra layer of freshness and pop of flavor.
Roasted Root Vegetable Soup
2 large red beets – scrubbed well and chopped into 1 inch pieces. You can peel them, but if they are scrubbed well it is not necessary, and you retain some of the nutrients.
2 golden beets – scrubbed well and chopped into 1 inch pieces.
2 carrots – scrubbed and cut into 1 inch pieces
5 garlic cloves – minced
1 large purple onion – chopped
1 parsnip – scrubbed and chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts only – chopped into 1 inch rings, washed well
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup fat free half and half (or cream if calories are not an concern) – optional
1/2 cup beet greens – washed well and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh mint
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Spread all of the veggies out on a foil lined baking sheet (the foil helps with clean up…roasted beets can get a little messy) and toss with the oil, vinegar, 4 cloves of garlic, rosemary, thyme and a good dash of salt and pepper. Roast for at least 1 hour until the veggies have softened and caramelized slightly. In the mean time chop the beet greens, herbs, pinenuts, remaining garlic clove, water, 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 tablespoon vinegar in a mini-chopper until well blended. Season with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and stir well. Set aside. After the vegetables have roasted and are soft scoop them into a medium Dutch oven and add the stock and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes. Working in batches, puree 3/4 of the soup in a blender (or with a hand mixer) until smooth. I like to keep some texture in my soup so I don’t puree the whole batch, but it can certainly be completely pureed until smooth. Add the half and half or cream, if desired. Keep the soup warm until ready to serve. Add a spoonful of pistou to the top of each bowl just before serving.