Pureed Beet Soup With Tahini and Herbed Pistachios 4.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Feb 18, 2020

Add some color to your winter eating with this delicious, flavorful soup. Ruby red and redolent with herbs, lemon and tahini, the soup can be adapted any number of ways. Want to swap out tahini for cream? Go for it. Craving a heartier broth as a base instead of water? Use vegetable, chicken or even beef broth instead. Not a fan of pistachios? Try walnuts, pine nuts or earthy-sweet pecans. Use whatever herbs you have on hand. In fact, the soup is an excellent way to make sure those half-used bunches of fresh herbs don't go to waste.

Make Ahead: The pistachios can be roasted and kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days ahead.

Storage Notes: The soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • For the soup
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 large carrot, diced (1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 pounds beets, trimmed, scrubbed and diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, dill and cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons), plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
  • 7 cups water
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • For the pistachios
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) raw shelled pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, dill and cilantro


Position the baking rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Make the soup: In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute.

Add the carrot, beets and herbs and stir to combine. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Add the water and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat so the soup is at a simmer, partially cover the pot and cook until the beets are soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Taste -- the soup should be tart and well-seasoned -- and add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if desired.

Add the tahini and the remaining 4 tablespoons oil and, using an immersion blender, puree the soup to your desired consistency. You may want it to be completely smooth or a little chunkier.

Make the pistachios: While the soup is simmering, on a small, rimmed baking sheet, toss the pistachios with the oil, salt, turmeric and crushed red pepper flakes, if using, until combined and toast, 8 to 10 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool completely. The nuts can be prepared to this point for up to 2 days ahead.

Place the nuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped. Gradually, add the herbs and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Generously garnish with the herbed pistachios, drizzle with more olive oil, and serve.

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Recipe Source

From food writer Olga Massov.

Tested by Olga Massov.

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