Russian Friday – Vegetarian Borscht

This beet soup would probably be one of the first items that pops up if you google “Russian cuisine”. However, being more of a pastry person while growing up, I skipped all the borscht hype.  Eight months ago our family was invited to a Russian dinner that completely changed my attitude.  A few… quite a few.. disastrous attempts later I am finally proud to present my vegetarian version of this famous Russian dish.

Traditionally borscht is made with beef broth and beets (of course), and there are a million different ways to prepare it.  I found my favorite recipe on another US blog written by a Russian mom.  Here it’s modified to fit our tastes.  Though, if you are looking for the original meaty version, I cannot recommend a better place than Sofya’s blog!

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VEGETARIAN BORSCHT

INGREDIENTS:

  • 7 medium beets, leaves removed
  • 5 liters vegetable broth
  • 3 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium turnip, peeled and grated
  • 1,5 yellow onion, shelled, and finely cubed
  • 1 8-oz can tomato paste
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • ½ head of garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 1 small cabbage, finely shredded
  • 3-4 medium potatoes, cubed
  • Juice from 2 small lemons
  • 2 dry chili peppers
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves
  • 5 peppercorns
  • Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400⁰F/200⁰C.  Wrap the beets in foil, punching a few holes in each bundle.  Bake the beets for about 1-1.5 hours.

Pour vegetable broth into a large soup pot, and let it come to a boil. While the broth is warming up, preheat a frying pan, melt the butter on it, and sauté carrots, turnip, and onion in it until the vegetables are very soft and juicy (for about 10 minutes).  Add tomato paste, and steer, letting it to melt and incorporate.

Once the beets are baked, remove them from the foil, peel, and shred.

Dump the sautéed vegetables, beets, cabbage, potatoes, chili peppers, bay leaves, cloves, and peppercorns into the broth, and let boil for another 10 minutes.  When the potatoes are cooked, add lemon juice, salt, and garlic. Your goal is to find the perfect balance between sweet and sour when putting together the final ingredients.  My babushka actually adds sugar, if the beets are not sweet enough.  It’s all about pleasing your taste buds!

Make ahead: the vegetarian borscht will keep well in the freezer for up to 6 months.  Cool it, pour it in freezer-safe zip lock bags, and let lay flat in the freezer.  The meat version should be ok for up to 3 months.

To serve: garnish the soup with sour cream and dill.

 

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41 comments

    • Anastasia says:

      I hear you! When I was a kid my parents could not make me eat borscht at gunpoint! took about 20 years for the right taste buds to convert! You still have time ;-)

  1. Bob Vivant says:

    Anastasia, what beautiful photos! I love borsch, really anything made with beets. Our beet harvest is still a couple of months out. I can hardly wait to try your recipe with fresh beets!

  2. reflexenbandouliere says:

    Hi Anastasia. How many bowls do you do with 5 liters vegetable broth ? I obviously want to try it very quickly ^^
    Thanks to share this traditional recipe. Happy Easter Week-end.

  3. veggiegrettie says:

    I spent the summer between 7th and 8th grade at an international camp in Russia and they served borscht so much that I really developed a liking for it. I can;t wait to try your version!

    • Anastasia says:

      Привет! I’m always super excited to meet Russian… hmm.. Ukrainian bloggers! I LOVE your blog – so colorful and the photography is gorgeous! Cannot wait to read more of it!

  4. orples says:

    I love beets, so this looks great, except for that turnip … I assume it could be left out with little harm done? The rest of the recipe looks delicious.

  5. Anna says:

    Hey I found your blog looking for a Kulich recipe. I am an Italian-American mama who blogs too. Thanks for all the great recipes!

    Anna

  6. Masha says:

    OMG! I was lucky enough to be at Anastasia’s house on this lucky occasion and try this deliciousness. I put away two large bowls with her fresh bread and then was presented with yummy banana-chocolate chip muffins and THEN she send me away with a loaf of fresh bread for my family.. For those of you who don’t know Anastasia personally, she is the real deal: her house is warm, kids adorable, food all made from scratch and tasty, all without fancy equipment. As we Russians say: a plate of borscht served with a warm thought… I just made it up, but you get the point!

    • Anastasia says:

      Masha, thanks so much for the kind words ;-) my blushing! You know this post was inspired by your Christmas dinner – I never had a tasty borscht before you teamed up with your mom and made that deliciousness!

  7. Pingback: soups | Pearltrees
  8. The Townhouse Homesteaders says:

    Hi. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog! I nominated you today for the Versatile Blogger Award. Check out my post for the details. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas!

    • Diogo says:

      Good morning BrendanI am woinkrg as a Supporting Actor with one payslip away from joining Equity. I am starting at the bottom but as soon as I get the card’ I will be looking for small parts to start with. I know with SA its what is asked for but what annoys me is that after joining the Agency, how when I go on an assignment, people have not joined or signed a contract and paid to have photo’s done and yet they get constant work and I have done this thinking I would not get work. Not only is it unfair, but puts me in a position where I feel if I complain, I will be putting myself in a bad position which is why I have not. I have read your book which is great and I noticed that I have already do the some of things you talk about naturally. Thank you for that xx I am not yet an Actor and have only gained the B-Tec National with 16 Distinctions, 8 Merits and one pass. I have not been in a position to take up the work until now some time after my B-tec. I joined a local theatre and was totally ingnored as they are a click’ even after reading for every play, woinkrg as a lighting tech, painting sceans etc. I gave it my best and currently looking for another theatre to join. (Brush myself off and start again)! I live outside of London but was about to join an Agency there as well as where I live, but at this time, its the cost. The reason for this is how to get work on other projects like Downtown Abby etc. I know I have probably answered my own questions but it is good to talk. With kindest regardsThe old fossil

  9. Mark says:

    I’m not Russian at all..just a Midwestern USA guy.. but this recipe tempts me.
    I love beets, cabbage, potatoes, turnips. all things garlic & tomato/lemon.
    I will try this. My distant heritage is German/East European, and your recipe
    just calls to me, somehow. I wonder if Borsht is genetic.. ha! Mark

  10. Kayla says:

    Just made this and it’s sooo good! My friend from Ukraine makes borscht all the time and i haven’t seen her in a while so I was missing this soup :D

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