For many cancer patients, including those undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment, the painful side effects sometimes associated with treatment can make eating difficult. In addition to changes in appetite, the mouth tenderness, difficulty swallowing or sores can make food unappetizing and the notion of eating unappealing. For these patients, a calorie-dense, nutrient-packed soup can be a real blessing. For many patients, soft, easy-to-swallow foods like soup can help keep the body strong in its fight against disease, while preventing weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration and muscle wasting.
But when the summer months arrive, a hot bowl of soup is typically the last thing on most of our minds, as we work to stay cool and cook meals that don’t heat up the kitchen. Our summertime version of a classic Eastern European beet borscht soup is served chilled, but packs the same nutritive punch of the original. The soup gets its distinctive pink color from beets, which are a nutritional powerhouse; beets contain high levels of potassium, betaine, magnesium, folate and Vitamin C, along with a good dose of nitrates. Beets may also help reduce blood pressure
and anemia, and improve circulation and cognitive function. Studies have explored
how beets may contribute to improved athletic performance by enhancing blood flow, which improves the delivery of fuel to muscles.
Chilled Summer Superfood Beet Borscht
- 2 pounds beets, washed and scrubbed
- 1 cup cucumber, grated
- 3 scallion stalks, white and light green parts only, chopped
- 3 tablespoons dill, chopped
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1 large lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large stock pot, cover whole beets with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer, uncovered, until beets are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Remove beets from liquid using a pair of tongs, and strain cooking liquid into a large measuring cup. Set aside beets and reserved cooking liquid to cool completely.
Once beets and liquid have cooled, peel beets and grate or julienne using a sharp knife. In a large bowl, combine cooked beets, shredded cucumber, chopped scallions, dill, sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine, then add one cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Stir again, and add more cooking liquid as needed to achieve desired consistency. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving, then top with additional sour cream and sprigs of dill.