the taste space

Six Shades of Red Soup (Beet, Potato and Red Lentil Soup with Dill)

Posted in Soups by janet @ the taste space on June 1, 2011


Despite being of Central and Eastern European descent, I actually don’t cook many German or Ukrainian dishes (mainly special treats, though). However, Rob’s parents are very keen on traditional Polish food, and when they came to visit last weekend to help with the burgeoning garden, I wanted to create a meal that everyone would enjoy.

I knew the raw kale salad with beets was a hit over Easter, so I figured I would pick a dish that had similar familiar ingredients: beets, potatoes and dill. That may sound so boring and bland, but I knew I hit jackpot when I spotted the Six Shades of Red Soup in Color Me Vegan (original recipe posted here). It was a virtually fat-free soup filled with red lentils, red potatoes, beets, (red) onion, dill and the perfect twist: red miso. The sixth shade of red was from vegetable juice, which I omitted. I also increased the dill and pureed half the soup for a creamier consistency.


As you can see, this was a beautiful soup.  It deepened in colour overnight and the flavours melded wonderfully. It was creamy, yet chunky, with sweetness from the beets but structure from the potatoes with a hint of dill and a depthness brought from the red miso.

I am happy to report that it met the approval of the traditional Polish folk. Not your traditional borscht, different, but in a  good way, is how they put it and invited me to make it again anytime. Me, redo a recipe? By request from special people only!

This made a ton of soup, with generous servings, so I was able to enjoy the leftovers. The soup doubled as a perfect meal while cycling last weekend. With the long distances, I prefer to eat more liquid-based foods (ie, soup! homemade sports drink! smoothies!) and this hit the spot. It was light on my stomach and jammed full of vegetables and miso providing sodium and potassium, which is important to replenish when exercising.


This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Served with Love and to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes, founded by Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments and hosted by Jacqueline.

Beet, Potato and Lentil Soup with Dill

10 cups water
2 cups red lentils, picked through and rinsed
550g red potatoes, washed and chopped (I used the small ones)
1 large beet, peeled and diced (250g)
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, finely chopped (370g)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo chili flakes
2 tablespoon finely chopped dill
1/4 to 1/2 cup red miso paste, depending on how strong it is (I used 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup vegetable juice (optional, did not use it)
Finely chopped dill as garnish (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Add the water, lentils, potatoes, beets, onion, carrots, garlic, and chili flakes to a large soup pot. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Keep covered while cooking and skim off any foam that collects at the top. When you think the foam has subsided (check around 10 minutes in), add the dill.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, thoroughly combine the miso with some warm broth. When the soup is done, remove from heat, stir in the miso mixture. If a creamier texture is desired, removed half the soup and puree it with a hand blender. Return to soup and serve topped with a sprinkling of fresh dill. If reheating, do not let the soup come to a boil to preserve the health benefits of the miso.

Serves 8.

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15 Responses

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  1. Nancy said, on June 1, 2011 at 7:58 AM

    this is such a creative combination! so healthy and hearty. and i have been all about the fresh dill lately, amazing how that little herb livens things up :)

  2. Tasha said, on June 1, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    Such a vibrant and tasty sounding soup. I’m certain I’ve never had lentils and beets paired together!

  3. Priya said, on June 1, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    Soup looks marvellous, simply irresistible..

  4. Sissi said, on June 1, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    It looks so good I would love to steal your soup from the screen! Here the temperature lowered in two days from almost 30 to hardly 10°C and the wind is blowing so strong I’m afraid my balcony herbs will fall! In short, a perfect time for a lentil soup. (Meanwhile I have prepared a lemongrass-green curry soup today to warm myself a bit).
    I have never put dill with lentils, sound like an excellent idea and visually appealing.
    By the way, I know many Germans, Poles, Hungarians who get really crazy hearing they are from Eastern Europe (“Central” is the correct world, since they don’t want to be mixed up with the Russians ;-) ).

    • Saveur said, on June 1, 2011 at 3:46 PM

      Hey Sissi, We had humid 32C yesterday (41C with the humidex) but thankfully it has cooled off to a reasonable 20C today with lots of wind. I understand how the weather totally affects what you’d like to eat. I had so many smoothies yesterday!

      Thanks for the tip re: the European geography. :)

      • Sissi said, on June 1, 2011 at 4:09 PM

        In fact, not only outside of Europe, but in all the Western European countries Poles, Hungarians and other nations from the Central Europe are often called as being from Eastern Europe and they have sometimes very angry reactions :-)
        I remember once having said that Mexico was in the Southern America (I naively thought every country below the US was in the Southern America!). The Mexican girl wasn’t very happy :-(

  5. Jacqueline said, on June 1, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Awwwww, thank you so much for leaving an entry on linky. I was so worried that no one would bother. And….. such a lovely soup too. Thank you again, I do appreciate it. x

  6. Joanne said, on June 1, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    Good enough to save the BF’s parents…means it must have been amazing! It’s also a striking reminder that I need to learn to love beets. Stat.

    • Saveur said, on June 2, 2011 at 12:29 PM

      Beets have totally grown on me.. I like them raw in salads, roasted in salads and boiled in soups! They are definitely the most colourful vegetable around, too. :)

  7. DebinHawaii said, on June 6, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    What a unique soup–it looks delicious. I am learning to enjoy beets and this looks like something I would really enjoy. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays. ;-)

  8. Caffettiera said, on July 8, 2011 at 4:06 AM

    I’ve never made borsch, but I’ve always wanted to. This version is closer to what I normally cook, with the beet a bit tamed by lentils and miso. I will try it for sure.

  9. srac said, on July 8, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    I’m trying to count the colours and the number keeps varying – v good looking soup!

  10. Ashley said, on July 10, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    I remember you telling me about this soup and must say it looks and sounds AMAZING! I love the combination of beets and lentils.

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