Surprise Box Challenge 1: Beets and Coconut

It’s here! Two weeks of phone calls and a WhatsApp group since my first post about the Surprise Box, the first delivery of Tachlit produce boxes was sitting behind the doors of dozens of families in the neighborhood. What I love about the Surprise Boxes, other than the delivery to the door, great price, and knowing that each paid delivery sponsors a free box for a poor family, is the balance of dependable staples (potatoes, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers) and the surprise!

15.5 kilograms of fresh produce: onions, potatoes, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, apples, pears, bananas, clementines, beets, and a coconut

This week’s quirkier items are a bag of beets and a fresh coconut. Beets are naturally sweet, low in calories, and high in fiber and folate. I do like the occasional beet salad, but what would I do with a whole kilogram of them? It’s cold and rainy in Israel this week, and cold and snowy for most of my readers. In short, soup season. As a kid, a summer staple was Gold’s beet borscht, which came in a jar and my parents served chilled with diced potatoes, cucumbers, hard-boiled eggs, and sour cream. I made my first homemade borscht for my parents on Passover, and it was surprisingly easy!

The heartier beet borscht recipes I found include cabbage. This would have been perfect a few hours before finding beets on my doorstep, when I made a hearty lentil-cabbage soup. Since I’m the only one in my family who will eat beets or lentil-cabbage soup, I just cooked up the beets and made a lentil-cabbage beet borscht. The flavors pair well naturally. The beets add natural sweetness to the lentil cabbage soup. With the protein from the lentils, I can add this to my list of one pot meals. [Tip: I peeled the beets in the sink for less mess.] Hooray for less time in the kitchen and more time with the kids!

Lentil Cabbage Beet Borscht
Hearty Lentil Cabbage Soup, sans beets

If borscht isn’t your thing, try this delicious Beet Bulgar Salad or sweet Honey-Glazed Roasted Carrots and Beets. Some of my favorite coconut recipes are these super-easy macaroons, coconut-almond granola bars, chocolate chip coconut squares, and this healthy chocolate cake. (My husband is coconut fan, and apparently I’ve become one, too!) I also like to put coconut milk in pumpkin soup and vegan ice cream. I think I’ll still save cracking open the whole coconut for a family activity.

Hearty Lentil Cabbage Beet Soup Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 cup dry green lentils
1 can tomato paste (580 g)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
3-4 cups shredded white cabbage
2 liters water or soup stock
1/2 kilo (1-2 large) beets, chopped


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Saute onion.
  2. Add carrots, lentils, spices, tomato paste, and beets. Stir.
  3. Add water and cook covered for a half hour.
  4. Add cabbage, stir, and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  5. Remove bay leaf before serving.
  6. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt.

*For lentil cabbage soup, follow the same recipe, leaving out the beets.

Stay warm!

About israelisalad

I'm an American-Israeli mother who loves to make healthy food from fresh ingredients, on a budget and with limited time. My site is full of easy, healthy recipes and insights into life in Israel.
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