Beetroot and coconut soup

As winter really gathers us in its descent, embracing bright foods that are colourful, warming and earthy is something I always enjoy. It can be tempting to gravitate towards the heavy, the dense and the sweet… but if we can catch ourselves and keep things light occasionally amid the density of the seasonal dishes we usually crave at this time of year, our bodies will always be grateful.

For me, ginger is a wonderful ally to have all season (and all year round), and brings a unique warmth and kick to anything it touches. Grated into hot chocolate, porridge, salads, dahls and soups, it keeps our immune systems supported and fights antioxidant inflammation and systemic cellular damage caused by free radicals. It brings a heat to the plate, and to our bodies, and you can never have too much. Sasha is getting friendly with it too, and this soup is gentle enough in flavour for little ones and grown ups alike. The beetroot is not only beautiful but also offers strong liver support, aiding our detoxification pathways at a time where seasonal traditions can lead us into an array of excesses that place the body under more strain than usual. Re-balancing, earthy and grounding, fresh beets are a great winter regular.

This freezes well, something which is always good in helping us batch cook and stay supported nutritionally whatever is or isn’t in the larder, and the options for toppings are endless. For a heartier bowl, I like to add brown rice and even a little halloumi, but the richness of the coconut makes it naturally filling and full of plenty of healthy fats as well.

Enjoy x

Serves 4

5 medium to large beetroot (about 500g), peeled and cut into large chunks

1 large red onion

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tsp coconut oil (or olive)

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

750ml vegetable or chicken stock

black pepper and sea salt to season

1 can coconut milk

a handful of chopped parsley

coconut cream / yoghurt to serve

(optional black sesame or nigella seeds to garnish)

In a large pan on a medium heat, sauté the beets, onion and garlic in the coconut oil for five minutes until golden brown. Then add the cumin and turmeric, brown for a further two to three minutes, before adding the stock, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the beetroot is soft.

Then, transfer to a blender and whizz until smooth.

Serve warm with coconut cream or yoghurt, a sprinkle of parsley, seeds and some extra black pepper.

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