Our favorite healthy option for a Halloween party spread comes from top-rated private chef (and Thumbtack Pro) Michelle Fitzgerald, owner of Let’s Eat Sonoma.
Featuring beets and black lentils, this creepy-looking take on otherwise healthy borscht stew is literally called a “bowl of death.” It’ll make you feel like you did something really dangerous, without dosing your system with enough sugar to lay you out for a week.
Recipe: Bowl of Death
Serves six to eight.
- 4 medium beets (about 1.5 pounds)
- 3 leeks
- 3 medium carrots
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 head of cabbage
- 2 tablespoons knob ghee
- Pinch of salt
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 Tbsp. dried, plus more for garnish if desired
- 1 teaspoon dried juniper berries (about 12)
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup dried black beluga lentils
- 8-10 cups vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- Cracked multi-color black peppercorns to taste
- Hand grater
Bring water to a boil in a large pot and boil beets, peel on, until cooked all the way through (they should be easy to stab through with a knife or fork). When the beets are done, dunk them in cold water for at least 10 minutes. Remove them from the water, peel them and slice with a hand grater. Be careful not to over-grate the beets; they may get mushy.
While the beets are boiling, wash and slice the leeks (white parts only) into rounds. Slice the carrots into coins. Mince the garlic. Shred the cabbage and set it aside.
In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the knob ghee. Add leeks and salt and cook until tender, about five minutes. Add garlic, cook two minutes until fragrant. Add bay leaves, thyme, juniper berries, caraway, tomato paste, and mustard, stirring to coat the leeks and garlic.
Add the beets, carrots, lentils, and vegetable broth (start with 8 cups and add more as needed). Reserve the cabbage.
Bring the stew to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until the lentils are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add cabbage and vinegar, stir, and let cook for another 5 minutes.
Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with fresh thyme and plenty of cracked black pepper.
This post is part of our 2017 Halloween recipe series. For more food and drink recipes, see all the stories here.