In her Ironman World Championship winning press conference, Mirinda Carfrae mentioned how she drank beet juice a few hours before the big race. You'll have to watch the video to see how that turned out! We talked about why athletes like Rinny are downing this earthy drink in this beet juice post from last fall. Lately, I've also have been working beets into my daily training fuel in a different way, thanks to a tip from my Dad.
My mom and dad spent a total of 6 weeks with me in New Paltz over the summer. When my dad arrived in June, he was immediately reminded of the summers the family would escape the Brooklyn heat and head upstate for fresh country air. The first day he went out and bought fresh picked strawberries and sour cream and served this for dessert, as his grandmother did on hot Catskills evenings. When I brought a bunch of beets home from the CSA, he begged me to make another favorite, chilled borscht.
With a half ironman looming over my head, I was too consumed with training to take on any cooking projects. So we just talked about the beet soup instead. A few weeks after the 'rents returned to Maryland, my Dad sent me a link to a borscht recipe. Thinking "enough with the beets already," I read over the recipe and realized with it's endurance boosting beets, anti-inflammatory vinegar, and protein packed greek yogurt, it had the makings for a perfect Athlete Food.
Now that the half ironman is over and I have a few weeks until the next one, I've been regularly making a big batch of this soup and storing it in a Nalgene bottle in the refrigerator. It's my go to between workouts stand-in-front-of-the-fridge meal. For a sit down meal, I garnish it up and serve it with a big chopped salad.
Beet (the Competition) Soup
adapted from www.kveller.com & Lorna Sass's Pureed Summer Borscht)
For the soup:
2 pounds washed beets, unpeeled
up to 5 cups of water
¼ cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 small onion, chopped
½ cup greek yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
walnuts, toasted and chopped
Roast Beets: wrap unreeled beets, 2-3 at a time, in an aluminum foil pouches and roast approximately 1 hour in a 375 degree oven. Allow beets to cool and then remove skins. To create less of a mess, keep beets on top of the foil while you remove the skins. The skins should easily come off using your hands. **This step can be done a day or two ahead of time.
Cook onions in 1 teaspoon of olive oil until they are translucent, but not browned, 3-4 minutes.
In a small bowl combine the vinegar, yogurt, cooked onions, lemon juice, salt and sugar.
Place half the roasted beets in a blender or food processor. Add half of the yogurt mixture and blend for 30 sec to combine. Then gradually add water until the soup becomes a smooth puree. Transfer to a container. Repeat with second half of beets. **We do this in two batches to prevent overflowing the blender. No one want to clean up spilled borscht!
Chill for at least 15 minutes.
Garnish with feta cheese, toasted walnuts and fresh chives.