Recipe: Bright & Lively Beet Borscht

Bright & Lively Beet Borscht | IPOM

It’s definitely here. As winter creeps upon us and chills our insides, it is important to stay warm from the inside out. This is the time of year that I reach for thick leggings versus pants, as I need extra layers of warmth like I need extra heat in my belly. This borscht recipe is one of my all time favorite ways to seek comfort, and I’ve been making it for the family ever since I’ve been lucky enough to have one (it’s been a few years).

A frugal favorite that is loaded with healthy veggies, this recipe stands the test of time by a mile.

Bright & Lively Beet Borcht | IPOM

Some might argue what actually makes borscht its authentic Ukrainian self (if that is actually its true origin). The cabbage? The beets? The dill?

In fact, I can never really decide what is even the best part of this soup. At the end of the day the combo of comforting soft potato, sweet and tender green cabbage, roasted sweet beets, zingy tomato, chopped carrots, and fresh dill make me swoon. Not to mention the sight of such a combination is about the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

An elderly Ukrainian friend (who we bought our house from) once shared her recipe with me and that is where I learned the best trick ever to making a great borscht: not too much beet, and what you do add, make sure they are sweet. So we roast them. Of course!

Bright & Lively Beet Borcht | IPOM

The Less:

Less heavy dairy based soups means more light, satisfying texture. Fewer beans means less starch and potential bloating and indigestion. Fewer meat-based hearty soups and stews means more fiber-loaded fueling, so warm and cozy comes at a comfortable cost.

The More:

More vegetable-based main courses means more fiber, vitamins, and fun. More beets in your diet means more sweetness and needed iron. More lively bright foods means more mood enhancing meal times, because what fun is eating without color?

Bright & Lively Beet Borcht | IPOM

Bright & Lively Beet Borscht:
  • (2) small-medium red beets for roasting, or one larger one
  • (3) tbsp olive oil
  • (1) tbsp salt
  • (2) cups yellow onion, chopped small (2 small or one large)
  • (3-4) medium carrots, peeled or unpeeled & chopped small (2 cups chopped)
  • (3) medium yellow fleshed potatoes, peeled and chopped small (3 cups chopped)
  • (3) cups canned tomatoes (1 796 ml can)
  • (4-5) cups water
  • (4+) cups chopped green or savoy cabbage, washed & chopped small
  • (4) tbsp honey
  • (1) tsp salt
  • (1/2) tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • (2-3) tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • (1) bunch fresh dill, or (2) tbsp dried dill

To start, heat the oven to 350 degrees. To roast beets, simply wrap them in foil one layer thick (no washing required) and prick them with a fork several times. Put the in the heated oven for 45-60 minutes or until tender when pushed. This step can be done days in advance of making this soup and the beets will keep well in the foil or in a container for up to a week or more.

Once the beets are done, put them in a bowl in the sink, unwrap each as you go and one by one with cold water running, rub the skins off the beets with your hands. They will simply slide right off under the water! Chop the beets into a 1/2 to on 1 inch dice and set aside. To prepare the vegetables, peel and chop each veggie before starting, taking care to chop into a small dice, about 1/2 inch if possible, or bigger as your patience, skill, and desire dictates.

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onions and (3) tbsp salt and cook the onions until soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook, stirring, for a further 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes & (4) cups water and turn the heat to high. Bring the water to a boil and turn the heat down. Simmer the soup for 8-10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are just tender. Add the cabbage and cook a further 6-8 minutes, until all of the veggies are soft and starting to meld together.

To finish, add the chopped beets, honey, black pepper & remaining salt to taste. Stir and cook a few more minutes on medium heat until well blended and tasting amazing.

Next, using a blender, blend up to half of the soup to a smooth consistency (feel free to add up to a cup more of extra water to get the blending going), leaving the rest in its chunky form. Pour the blended soup into the pot and stir all to combine. Stir in the chopped dill & cider vinegar at the end and taste to correct seasonings, reserving some to sprinkle on each bowl.

To serve, scoop into bowls and garnish with dill and more freshly ground black pepper & a small drop or two of cider vinegar. To me, the zing of the vinegar adds the most wonderful flavor boosting acidity and I highly recommend trying it this way.

That is one thing I did not learn from my Ukrainian friend, but I am sure I picked up that little tidbit somewhere or from someone along the way ;)

Bright & Lively Beet Borscht | IPOM

Enjoy this super cozy and super nutritious soup on a cold night when you need a little love in your tummy. Snuggle up with a hot bowl and enjoy, these cold nights won’t last forever, and we want to remember them fondly when we are picnicking in the grass next summer :)

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66 Comments on “Recipe: Bright & Lively Beet Borscht”

  1. This Sydney Life

    Shira – I’m bookmarking this one – for sure! Borscht is one of LM’s favourites. My favourite soup dates back to my childhood and is a root vegetable soup my Mum still makes for me. Now that you have reminded me, I may have to dig out the recipe from Mum’s collection when I go home for Christmas. Watch this space, my friend!

    1. Shira

      J – now this is a recipe it sounds like I should have! Root veggies in soup sounds to die for :) I’ll be watching! I’ve had many great versions of borscht – this combo is my fave and the veggies can be grated too :) Thanks J! XO

  2. Somer

    All right, it’s high time I try borscht. I trust your recipe will be delicious, because your recipes always are. Cozying up with my last bowl of minestrone tonight. I made it again after yesterday’s post. It’s even better today.

    1. Shira

      You should totally try borscht Somer! You would love it. As for your soup, it’s SO on my list – it looks amazing and has everything I love :) Soon! xx

  3. My French Heaven

    Incredible pictures! I never liked beets that much, but I am really ready to try now. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Shira

      Thanks! And thanks for stopping by! You can actually hardly taste the beets in here with all other goodness, they are just great for the color! :)

  4. Heidi @ lightlycrunchy

    I love borscht, but have never tried roasting the beets before. I’ve never had potatoes in the recipe I make either – this sounds like something I’d enjoy more than mine. I’ll have to give it a try soon – I wish I’d kept some beets this year – I gave then all away.

    1. Shira

      Lucky those recipients of your beets Heidi – I would have loved some of yours! :) There are so many variations on borscht, this is by far my fave and the potatoes are so good in there!

    1. Shira

      Thanks Marina! I’m glad! I’ve got to pay homage to the great women in my life that taught me simple cooking – this is one of those great recipes :) How is LA?

    1. Shira

      Thanks for the recipe share – that looks wonderful! Best of luck with this recipe – it is so open to your variations, enjoy! :)

  5. the heart & art

    i’m married to a polish man and borscht is almost considered a basic food group. he absolutely loves it of course, and he got me into it. everyone has their own unique way of cooking it, and it’s always great to see variations of it. i’m curious and excited to try your recipe. it certainly sounds (and looks) delicious. in addition, i would also like to share this on my blog!

    1. Shira

      Fabulous! If it can get by a polish man, then I know it is good, so do keep me posted :) I am such a huge fan of all of these foods and have enjoyed this soup for many years – it is so true about the many variations on this classic. Keep me posted – cheers! :)

    1. Shira

      Thanks for asking Lorraine! Of course silly me I forgot to mention – that was a swirl of cashew cream to keep the dish vegan. A substitute for the normal sour cream :) Great question!

  6. Villy

    I didn’t even know you can use beets in soup! It looks, yet again, delicious Shira! Beets are extremely healthy, I should remember to eat them more often..

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  8. Gabby @ the veggie nook

    Yum Shira! I love all the other additions with the beets- I bet this is so warming and hearty!

    My favourite winter soup is most definitely split pea soup, which I just happened to do a post on as well ;)

  9. Heather

    Simple, pretty soups are the best! We tend to love off of soups this time of year, I do love split pea or a vegan hunters stew – honestly any veggie soup is a favorite! I haven’t made borscht but I have made a beet maitake stew with turmeric quinoa that was pretty good :) I love all the veggies in borscht, I need to put this on my must make list!

    1. Shira

      Yes Heather – if you like beets in soup this is a must, and the combo together is really a win! I think I’ve got to get going on a split pea soup though, that is twice now it has been mentioned! X

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  11. Richa

    i love beet more for the color than taste.. look at how gorgeous the borscht looks. who wouldnt want that on the table :) its the season for hot lentil/veggie soups and i cant have enough of them:)

  12. Ji

    Just made your borscht and now waiting for the hubby to get home so we can enjoy it together for dinner. I don’t know if I can wait that long… It’s soooo good! Thanks for the beautiful recipe <3

  13. spree

    THis has to be one of the prettiest soups my eyes have ever spied! Love all the nutrition you packed into this one, Shira, allowing the beats to stain everything crimson! (Did you drizzle with creme fraiche or something? Looks like maybe you did…and I will too!) I can’t imagine a better soup for December! xx

    1. Shira

      Hi Anna! Would you believe it hardly tastes of beets at all? There are a mere 2 small beets in a whole pot – just enough to bring the lovely hue to the bowls :) The rest of the veggies take the stage here awash in a beautiful wash of red…I hope you try it! XO

      1. Anna @ The Guiltless Life

        That’s true – I always think beets are such a strong flavour but with all the other veg I can see how they just stay in there as a complement. Thanks Shira, I just made a pot of tomato soup but beet soup is on my list next!

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