It’s here! Two weeks of phone calls and a WhatsApp group since my first post about the Surprise Box, the first delivery of Tachlit produce boxes was sitting behind the doors of dozens of families in the neighborhood. What I love about the Surprise Boxes, other than the delivery to the door, great price, and knowing that each paid delivery sponsors a free box for a poor family, is the balance of dependable staples (potatoes, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers) and the surprise!
This week’s quirkier items are a bag of beets and a fresh coconut. Beets are naturally sweet, low in calories, and high in fiber and folate. I do like the occasional beet salad, but what would I do with a whole kilogram of them? It’s cold and rainy in Israel this week, and cold and snowy for most of my readers. In short, soup season. As a kid, a summer staple was Gold’s beet borscht, which came in a jar and my parents served chilled with diced potatoes, cucumbers, hard-boiled eggs, and sour cream. I made my first homemade borscht for my parents on Passover, and it was surprisingly easy!
The heartier beet borscht recipes I found include cabbage. This would have been perfect a few hours before finding beets on my doorstep, when I made a hearty lentil-cabbage soup. Since I’m the only one in my family who will eat beets or lentil-cabbage soup, I just cooked up the beets and made a lentil-cabbage beet borscht. The flavors pair well naturally. The beets add natural sweetness to the lentil cabbage soup. With the protein from the lentils, I can add this to my list of one pot meals. [Tip: I peeled the beets in the sink for less mess.] Hooray for less time in the kitchen and more time with the kids!
If borscht isn’t your thing, try this delicious Beet Bulgar Salad or sweet Honey-Glazed Roasted Carrots and Beets. Some of my favorite coconut recipes are these super-easy macaroons, coconut-almond granola bars, chocolate chip coconut squares, and this healthy chocolate cake. (My husband is coconut fan, and apparently I’ve become one, too!) I also like to put coconut milk in pumpkin soup and vegan ice cream. I think I’ll still save cracking open the whole coconut for a family activity.
Hearty Lentil Cabbage Beet Soup Recipe
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 cup dry green lentils
1 can tomato paste (580 g)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
3-4 cups shredded white cabbage
2 liters water or soup stock
1/2 kilo (1-2 large) beets, chopped
- Heat olive oil in a large pot. Saute onion.
- Add carrots, lentils, spices, tomato paste, and beets. Stir.
- Add water and cook covered for a half hour.
- Add cabbage, stir, and simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf before serving.
- Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt.
*For lentil cabbage soup, follow the same recipe, leaving out the beets.