Borscht and I have never gotten along, but I've become good friends with this cheerful soup. The fresh ginger adds brightness, while the cayenne pepper packs some heat. Though delicious right away, this soup tastes even better the next day. You could serve it cold or at room temperature, but its flavors are fullest when heated through.
Makes 4 servings
3 red beets (about 1 to 1 1/4 pound)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (15-ounce) can light coconut milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and peel the beets and sweet potato, and cut into 1-inch pieces. (You may want to wear gloves, as the beets may stain your hands.) Place beets and sweet potato on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and black pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned and tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onions and celery and saute 5 to 7 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Transfer the cooked beets and potato to the pot. Add the broth, lime juice, ginger, cilantro and cayenne pepper and stir well. Cook for 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before pureeing. Working in batches, add soup and coconut milk to a blender and puree until smooth. For a velvety smooth consistency, you can strain the soup through a sieve. I like a few tiny bumps, so I leave it as is. Season with salt and pepper to taste.