Soup of the Week: Beet Soup with Three Legumes

When I was moving out of my last place, I rescued a cook book from our giveaway pile: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. I knew that it had a reputation for being a great book, so I snatched it up and brought it to my current apartment. I've pulled it out occasionally, especially when I get odd vegetables from my CSA and I don't know what to do with them. I recently hauled it out for ideas of what to do with beets. And then I started leafing through the pages. And, guess what? It's full of just the type of recipes I like: healthy and simple, with a spotlight on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.

I found about 10 soup recipes that sounded good, but ended up going with this one to start because, to me, it sounded delicious. (I know a lot of people would think it sounds gross. But, people, get on the train. Beets are tasty!)

Last week's soup was so quick, and this one is the opposite. It takes a while since it requires cooking beans. But, I feel like I just ate a bowlful of a lovely fall day.

Beet Soup with Three Legumes

1/2 cup red kidney beans, soaked 4 hours or overnight*
4 medium beets, peeled and diced
1/3 cup lentils
1 cup cooked chickpeas
2 cups chopped beet greens or other greens (I used kale.)
Salt and pepper
1 bunch scallions chopped, including greens
2 cups coarsely chopped spinach
1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped
*I assume you could use canned kidney beans, which would cut the cooking time considerably.

The Garnish
3 T butter
1 onion, roughly chopped
1/4 t turmeric
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chopped mint (I used about 1 T of dried mint.)
1/2 cup yogurt

Drain the beans, cover them with 5 cups water, and boil hard in a medium pot for 10 minutes. Lower heat and simmer, partially covered, until soft, about 1 1/4 hours. Set aside.

Put the beets, lentils and 7 cups water in a soup pot. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes. Add the kidney beans with 2 cups of their liquid, the chickpeas, greens, and 2 teaspoons salt; simmer until the greens are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions, spinach, and parsley; cook until the spinach is wilted and bright green. Taste for salt and turn off the heat.

For the garnish, melt the butter in a small skillet over lowe heat. Add the onion, turmeric, cayenne, and mint; cook until the onion is soft, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle the soup into bowls. Add a spoonful of garnish and yogurt to each bowl.

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