Greens 'n' All Beet Soup ♥

A gorgeous bowl of soup, with no waste since it includes the beets, the stems and the greensOkay, confession time. When fresh beets come home with me, more times than not, the greens go to waste. (I know!) All my good intentions get soft around the edges and then turn to a stinky gooey mess -- just like the greens themselves, rotting in the produce bin.

So this recipe that combines both the greens and the beets in a single soup? Yes, it got my attention. The added bonus? The stems are used too!

And I'm so glad -- the soup is entirely delicious. The greens are there but honestly, what you're paying attention to is those beet batons. And since it cooks only just until the vegetables are tender to the tooth, it's nothing at all like my recipe for traditional borscht, even last summer's cold and creamy borscht.

FERGUSON FARMERS MARKET For St. Louisans: The beets came from the Ferguson Farmers Market in North County, which the Riverfront Times recently named as the 'best farmers market in St. Louis'. I've only been once but really liked it. The 'farmers' are better described as 'growers' -- they live nearby and keep gardens of maybe three or four acres. Parking is easy, it's dog friendly (important, people!) and the craft and kids booths were lots of fun. Every 30 minutes, they were raffling off something, I never did figure out what but it added to the fun. Vegetable-wise, late in the season, I came home with piles of peppers, some gorgeous beans, green tomatoes, two kinds of turnips, the beets, an eggplant or two. The prices seem "way" more reasonable than my experience this year at Tower Grove, Maplewood, (especially) Clayton and even my own hometown market, Kirkwood. I spent $8 and change for everything (and more) in this photo -- at my other markets, $8 doesn't go far. It's a hike for me, north of UMSL and I70, but worth an occasional trip. Still, is Ferguson the best farmers market in St. Louis? Hmm. I'll go so far as to say that it just may well deserve the title of St. Louis' best neighborhood farmers market.

HOW to CLEAN & STORE GREENS Just home from the market, I felt so homemaker-ish, cleaning all these vegetables, washing all the greens. But it really worked -- three days later, when I was ready to make the soup, the greens were in near-perfect condition. Here's what I did: I soaked them in cool water in the sink for a few minutes, sloshing them around every once in awhile to loosen dirt. Then I rinsed them under running water, making sure to get water into the crevices. I threw away a few leaves, ones that were already soft. I let them drain in a colander for maybe an hour, then slipped them into a plastic bag but didn't close it tightly, then refrigerated. This worked like a charm -- but I'd appreciate readers' tips, too, if you have them.


~ more beet recipes ~

including these favorites
~ Beet Pesto ~
~ Beets with Feta ~

~ one year ago this week Warm Root Salad in Horseradish Vinaigrette ~
~ two years ago today Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup ~


Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time to table: 90 minutes
Makes 10 cups

6 cups beef stock (I used cubes & water)

1 bay leaf
2 pounds fresh beets, including about 8 small to medium beets plus their greens and stems
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 medium red cabbage, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 carrots, cut on the diagonal (I used 1 cup, next time will do two)
15 ounces canned diced tomatoes (whoops! missed this -- and I don't think I'd use it another time, it would change the total concentration of beet flavor, I think)
1/4 cup fresh dill, just the feathery parts, stems removed
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice or a gentle vinegar (I used sherry vinegar)

In the microwave, bring the beef stock to a boil. (I do this in the microwave in two-cup increments. The step can be skipped if you're not in a hurry, it speeds up the cooking just a tad.) Add it to a very large pot or Dutch oven as it's hot. Add the bay leaf.

Trim the root and stem ends off the beets. Peel with a vegetable peeler, then cut into slices, then into batons. Add to the pot. Trim the stems, cut into maybe 1/2-inch lengths and add to the pot. Chop the greens -- but put these aside for the moment.

Add the onion, cabbage, tomatoes, dill, salt and pepper to the pot. Add the greens. (Much to my surprise, this didn't overcook the greens at all.) Bring to a boil, cover, adjust heat to maintain a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes til beets are the desired texture.

Stir in the sugar and lemon juice or vinegar. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt and fresh dill -- then lap it up!

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Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Well, you're ahead of me now. I've not used the greens. This recipe does make you pay attention, it would be nice to think I used them.
    Looks like excellent soup. It's even got a lovely fall color.

  2. I wash my greens the same way, but after they have drained, and while there's still a small bit of moisture clinging to them, I wrap them in a paper towel and put them in a ziploc bag (sealed). I do the same with lettuce and herbs, and they keep for up to a week that way.

  3. I've used beet greens for a 'sag aloo' (replacing spinach with beet greens), but haven't used them in a beet soup yet. Great idea, however!

  4. There's a new vegetable storage bag called Evert-Fresh Green Bags ( which will "prolong the life of fruits, vegetables and cut flowers." I have some but haven't tried them yet. This should be a lifesaver for my veggies! Love the soup -- it looks so satisfying.

  5. Yum yum yum! I think I've made this for the past 3 out of 4 fall beet seasons!

    This time I used half roasted beets (that I'd frozen from a CSA bunch that didn't get dealt with until the greens were too far gone), half fresh beets, and a potato to round up to 2 pounds. I think I probably doubled the red cabbage as well.

    I wasn't paying much attention to the directions and was in 'soup mode' so I sautéed the onions, cabbage, and root veggies for a while before adding the broth, bay leaf, and seasonings. After they'd simmered until tender, I used my immersion blender to make it more smooth and tossed the semi-pureed soup on top of the chopped greens in the slow cooker on low. There it sat until everyone returned from their activities and we sat down to dinner together.



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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna