amy chaplin

celebrating the art of eating well

Buckwheat beet soup with spicy horseradish

POSTED ON October 31, 2015

beet soup 3


Since my book came out I’ve had the opportunity to connect with so many talented authors, cooks and bloggers — some I’ve followed for a long time and others are new discoveries. And, making these connections has been one of the most rewarding aspects of becoming an author. Recently I received a copy of Simply Ancient Grains: Fresh and Flavorful Whole Grain Recipes for Living Well by Maria Speck (10 Speed Press). I’m always thrilled to discover someone who is as passionate about whole grains as me. Just as the modern world is discovering the beauty, flavor and health benefits of ancient grains there is also a growing number of people who are cutting them out of their diets. This notion simply doesn’t make sense to me (or Maria). The vast variety of grains available today, with their delicious flavors and textures offer sustainable nourishment and provide us with the energy and nutrients we need to propel us through our lives.

Here is Maria’s recent article for The Washington Post “Your grain-free diet isn’t natural, good for you or good for the planet”


beet soup


Simply Ancient Grains is mostly vegetarian with lots of original ways to add ancient grains to your daily meals. I chose this buckwheat beet soup mainly because of the gorgeous, rich, red color and what I had in my fridge: beets and a trusty tub of Anita’s coconut yogurt, which I used in place of the Greek yogurt for the horseradish cream. I must admit I was planning to skip it as I wasn’t sure I’d find fresh horseradish (close by) and I didn’t fancy buying a jar of the prepared version knowing the rest wouldn’t be eaten. But don’t think of skipping it! You really need the brightness and head clearing heat of the horseradish to enliven the beets and buckwheat. The soup manages to be both light and satisfying, and best of all, it’s really simple to make.


beet soup 4


Buckwheat and beet soup with spicy horseradish

Recipe from:

Simply Ancient Grains: Fresh and Flavorful Whole Grain Recipes for Living Well (10 Speed Press 2015) by Maria Speck

A few notes on the recipe:

The recipe calls for dried thyme and savory, if you don’t have savory, Maria suggests using ½ teaspoon more dried thyme. I had neither so I used a tablespoon of fresh chopped thyme and think I’d increase it a bit next time. I soaked the buckwheat overnight and rinsed and drained it well before adding it to the soup.

I used water instead of stock and left out the 1 to 2 teaspoons honey. You can add it when you add the beets if you like.

For the horseradish cream: I’m giving directions for using fresh horseradish but if you use the prepared horseradish use 3 tablespoons with it’s liquid and leave out the vinegar. It’s best to make this about 30 minutes ahead so the flavors have time to meld.

Serves 4


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 medium red onion, chopped

¾ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

2 cloves garlic, minced (I used a couple more)

¾ teaspoon dried thyme

¾ teaspoon dried savory or ½ teaspoon more dried thyme

¾ cup buckwheat groats (not kasha), see head notes

4 cups vegetable broth or filtered water

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups raw shredded red beets (about 1 large or 2 small)

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, I used 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

Horseradish yogurt:

¾ cup thick yogurt, I used coconut yogurt

3 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish

1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper


To make the soup, heat a large, heavy pan over medium heat. Swirl in the oil and add the onion, ¼ teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion just starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and savory and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Watch closely so as not to burn the spices.

Stir in the buckwheat and cook, stirring occasionally until the grains take on some color, about 2 minutes. Add the broth or water (it will splatter!), the remaining salt, and pepper and bring to a boil, scraping bottom to release any toasted bits. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the buckwheat is tender, about 15 minutes.


Meanwhile make the horseradish yogurt topping: Combine the yogurt, horseradish, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl and beat until smooth, using a fork. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.


To finish, stir in the beats and about 1 cup of water to get the consistency you like. Remove pot from heat, cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes for the vegetables to soften. Add the vinegar and taste for seasoning. Depending on the sweetness of your beets you can add a little honey or more vinegar, salt and or pepper, but don’t fret over the seasoning too much, as the topping will bring the flavors together!


Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with a dollop of yogurt topping and serve.


beet soup 5

POSTED IN Gluten free, Soup

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  • Marian says:

    Can you speak about the dishware you are using for your photography in this post? As a ceramicist, I’m not only interested in what we eat, but also the vessels that hold our meals and how those vessels become a part of our bodies. The vessels shown in your photos, for example, are bright white – did they get stained by the beets? Are they handmade or sourced from a manufacturer? Did anyone actually eat from them or were they only used for the photo shoot? Porcelain? Stoneware?
    Thank you for your time, -marian.

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Hi Marian,

      I use mostly Astier De Vallette they are a friend company who make the most whimsical , beautful pottery that seems to make food look amazing. We ate the soup after we shot it and they bowls didn’t stain….I have a photo of the bowls after on instagram. There is another one there from Hearth Ceramics in San Fransisco and also one from a new favorite called Clam Lab which are all handmade.

      Hope that helps!
      Amy x

  • valentina says:

    I’ve just made this recipe and it’s so delicious. I’ve got a 1 kg of buckwheat groat and I’ve been experimenting with it. So this recipe was a double winner. I’m sure I’ll be making it quite a lot this autumn/winter season. I didn’t have dried thyme so used fresh. Next time I might try it with the dry one to compare.

  • I like to shred beets and keep them on hand for the week to add to grains and salads or saute in a sauce. Once the step of shredding is out of the way there are so many possibilities and this soup could not be easier or more appealing. I think I may have to change my plans f or a meal later this week to make this!

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Hi Katie,

      What a great idea! I have to say the shredding part was the messiest and most work…although you only need two cups but if it was done it would really a mess-free snap!

      Do you find they last for 4 or 5 days or do they loose falvor at that point?

      Amy x

      • My god, this soup was amazing. So unique, nothing like I’ve had before. Thanks for sharing Amy! I loved the coconut horseradish cream too. I would have thought the coconut yogurt would overpower but it didn’t.
        For quicker work and less risk of staining everything I usually shred beets in the food processor. And no I don’t find their flavor changes too much after a few days in the fridge, given they’re stored in an airtight container. But it’s even less of an issue for me if I’ll end up warming or cooking them, as in this soup.

  • Hi Amy!! I wanted to leave you a note because I just received “At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen” in the mail, and have spent the entire evening pouring over every recipe! I can already tell it will be a staple in my kitchen. I love all of the nutritional information you provide with the recipes, and the insight into your pantry staples was fantastic! I need to go stock up on all kinds of seaweed now 😉 You’re such an inspiration and I’m so grateful to have your lovely cookbook in my home!


    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Hi Sarah,

      Thank you so much for writing! I’m so happy to hear you’ve found so much inspiration in the book…really makes me happy to hear!

      Happy cooking and pantry stocking!

      Amy x

  • This soup looks so warm and cozy! Beets and buckwheat go always well together 🙂

  • love this beautiful use for beets, buckwheat and horseradish, and whadda know i just purchased some fresh buckwheat the other day. thank you for sharing your gifts. xo

  • Michele T says:

    This soup is wonderful. I made it for the second time for Christmas dinner with my big family and everyone loved it, even my four year old nephew. The horseradish sauce is so delicious, I want to always have it on hand and use it with many other things. Thanks for providing a delicious and healthy meal that I can share with my picky family!

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