02/13/2013 09:14 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Vegetarian Borscht

Beets are an issue in our house. The issue is this: I am the only one who will eat them. But more than that, sometimes I just NEED some BEETS. Plus, they make the prettiest color ever! Sometimes I take care of my need for beets with my Pickled Red Beet Eggs. But other times, I need borscht.

I first had borscht when my sister made it when I was younger. She made it from some hippie paperback cookbook that's long since been lost. I've tried meat-based borscht in restaurants--and even made it once--but there is a cleanness and purity to vegetarian borscht that feeds my slightly Eastern European soul. (My grandfather was from Poland and my grandmother was from Lithuania, and my other grandparents were from Germany, so I guess it's more than a slightly Eastern European soul.) So I made this yesterday and it was perfect.

What's also perfect is that it's hard to get it wrong. You can play with this ingredients list and change quantities and the soup will still feed your soul and your need for beets. It's a rather healthy way to get through a winter day.

Vegetarian Borscht

  • 3 beets
  • 3 small onions
  • 1 small head savoy or napa cabbage
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 potatoes (skin on)
  • 3 tomatoes or 1 15-ounce can tomatoes
  • 3 cloves
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable bullion
  • Salt
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Fresh parsley and/or dill
  • Plain yogurt for garnish
  1. Get a big soup pot and put the oil in. Chop the onions and garlic and start cooking. I like to shred the beets and carrots with a hand shredder, but everything else gets chopped and thrown into the pot. No special order is required, but I like to get everything a little cooked together before adding the water and the spices.
  2. After all the veggies are in the pot and stirred up a bit, add the water, the vegetable bullion (or just add more salt), salt, garlic cloves, lemon juice, bay leaves, and a handful of chopped parsley and dill if you have them on hand.
  3. This soup does not need to cook a long time--an hour at most!
  4. Add a spoonful of plain yogurt to each bowl when you serve it. If you have fresh dill, add a bit of that, too.
Variations are endless. Plus, you can freeze the extra or give a jar of it to a friend who also likes beets.


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