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 :)

  • What is your favorite winter soup?
  • Got a borscht recipe to share?

Wishing you a most wonderful few days, we are busy preparing as the next Not So Fast class is going full steam ahead in just two days, we’ll be cozying up with the kids and that rocking red lentil soup. Just when you thought we couldn’t get any warmer….

Yours in Less,

66 Comments

Filed under Soup, Vegan

66 Responses to Recipe: Bright & Lively Beet Borscht

  1. 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!

    • 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. Natures candy..a favorite forever!! I LOVE beets!! This looks so good, and I love all the veggies that are in there!

  3. Oh this sounds just wonderful, I LOVE beets! and this just made me LOL because I just saw that the person right above me also *LOVES* beets :D

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

    • 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!

  7. That looks really, really delicious! Great colour, Shira! Shame I hate beets :D

  8. So beautiful Shira! A lovely Christmas dish to brighten up the table. Not too mention I love beets!

  9. If this recipe is from your Ukranian friend.. it’s got to be excellent! I want to just scroll up and down, over and over, to see the pretty red in your photos!

  10. I loved reading about your Not So Fast initiative, and hope that your classes are going well! What an amazing work you are doing :)

  11. I love that you’re making a traditional Eastern European dish. Reminds me of my mum’s Russian home cooking! Go Shira! You’re a force!

  12. I’ve never tried this before – beets and cabbage are not my normal go-to ingredients, especially when thinking of soups… but I think it’s time I give it a go!

  13. this looks lovely! i’m always excited to try another borscht recipe. i’m currently a peace corps volunteer in ukraine — where borscht is life. : )

    here’s my version: http://borschtandbabushkas.com/2012/10/04/borscht-borscht-baby/

  14. We just received a lot of carrots and beets from our CSA share. I wanted to make borscht – never made it before. You read my mind! I will give your recipe a try! Normally I am not a fan of sweet soup – but I like beets and I like soup. So we shall see!

    This is one of my favourite soups: http://tomorrowswisdom.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/my-favourite-soup-almond-butter-soup/

  15. 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!

    • 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! :)

  16. Lorraine

    Whats the white garnish on top in the last picture, cream?

    • 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!

  17. 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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  19. 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 ;)

  20. 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!

    • 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

  21. Wow that looks amazing, Shira! So vibrant!!! I love soups :) That might be one of my favorite things about winter!

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  23. 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:)

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. It has the colours of fall..a favorite forever!! I LOVE beets too!This looks so gorgeously good, …simply love it

  27. OK, so I love roasted beets but am not sure if I can handle a whole bowl of beets which is why I have never tried borscht. But your photos make it look very inviting. Does it taste of just pure beets?

    • 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

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  29. most beautiful and colorful soup I’ve ever seen xD Can’t wait to realize this recipe at home one day, this must be perfect for cozy days ^^

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