Whole-Beet and Parsnip Borscht with Dukkah from visiting teacher Jeanne Kelley - Rancho La Puerta
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Whole-Beet and Parsnip Borscht with Dukkah from visiting teacher Jeanne Kelley

It’s time to get a little nutty with this dukkah salad topper and whole beet borscht. If you’re looking for a soup and salad combo, the blend of seeds, nuts, and spices of the dukkah on the salad and the smoothness of the borscht are fun bedfellows. Or mix it up and add the dukkah to your borscht. No matter how you use it, it’s a beautiful trifecta of soup, salad, and almondy crunch texture.

Whole-Beet and Parsnip Borscht from the hands on cooking class with Jeanne Kelley.

Top this soup with yogurt and either fresh dill or chopped fresh thyme, depending on what’s available at the market and what suits your taste.

Makes 6 servings

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons coarsely crushed coriander seeds

1 large onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

14-16 ounce can or 2 cups diced tomatoes

1 3/4 to 2 pounds large beets (about 1 large beet or 2 small bunches), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

7 cups (or more) water

1-pound parsnips (about 4 large), peeled and trimmed

2 bay leaves, preferably fresh

2 cups beet greens

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Plain yogurt, for serving

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill or 4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat.
  2. Sprinkle the coriander seeds over the bottom of the pan and let stand until they sizzle and begin to turn golden brown, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the onion and sauté until tender and golden, about 12 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes break down and thicken slightly, about 6 minutes.
  5. Stir in the beets, water and parsnips and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and continue to simmer until the beets are very tender, about 30 minutes.
  6. With a hand-held or conventional blender, in batches, if necessary, puree the soup until smooth, adding more water, 1/4 cup at a time, if the puree is too thick.
  7. Return the soup to the pot and bring it to a simmer. Add the beet greens and cook until the greens are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and season to taste with salt. (Borscht can be prepared 4 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
  8. Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with dollops of yogurt and the chopped dill, dividing it evenly. Serve with a generous grind of black pepper.

Dukkah from the hands on cooking class with Jeanne Kelley.

Dukkha is an Egyptian nut-spice condiment that’s eaten with bread and olive oil. This version is made with almonds, but pistachios, hazelnuts or sunflower seeds can be used in place of the almonds. Use it to add texture and flavor to soups or salads.

8 servings

Makes about ½ cup

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1½ teaspoons fennel seeds

1/3 cup almonds, roasted

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper

½ teaspoon sea salt


For the Dukkha:

  1. Stir the coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds together in a heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until toasted and fragrant. Cool.
  2. Transfer the spices to a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder and coarsely grind.
  3. Add the almonds, sesame seeds, Aleppo pepper, and salt and grind until the almonds are broken into small pieces. (The Dukkah can be prepared up to 4 days ahead.)

Jeanne Kelley is an award-winning author of six cookbooks. A food writer, culinary educator and food stylist, she was a contributing editor at Bon Appetit magazine for twenty years. Jeanne is an edible garden expert who specializes in seasonal and sustainable cooking. Her articles have appeared frequently in the Los Angeles Times food section, Fine Cooking and Cooking Light magazines.