I love making fresh soups, because other than eating veggies straight-up, I find that a homemade soup is the best way to bring-out the great flavor of fresh vegetables. Nothing is more comforting, and yet the effort to make homemade soup is pretty minimal. Plus, I’m always shocked to see what grocery stores and specialty shops charge for “homemade” soup. You can easily make 3-4 times the amount for the same price… and then freeze it away for a busy/rainy/lazy day.
This week, I had a lot of fresh beetroot on hand so I decided to make beetroot soup (Borscht) for the first time.
According to Wikipedia:
Borscht (also borsch, bortsch, borstch, borsh, borshch, or barszcz, Russian and Ukrainian: борщ) is a soup of Ukrainian origin that is popular in many Eastern and Central European countries. In most of these countries, it is made with beetroot as the main ingredient, giving it a deep reddish-purple color. In some countries tomato may occur as the main ingredient, while beetroot acts as a secondary ingredient. Other, non-beet varieties also exist, such as the tomato paste-based orange borscht and the green borscht (sorrel soup).
Anyway, as I was washing and prepping the beets, they started reminding me of something…
Adorable, right? Anyway, here are a few notes about the soup…
- I just used fresh diced beetroot instead of grating it and/or roasting it first.
- Some recipes that I came across called for cabbage (about 1/2 a head), and/or tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, but I stuck with a beetroot base. At the very end I decided to add some cannellini beans and green peas. Determine your combination based on whether you plan on pureeing or serving it straight-up (I wouldn’t puree if you have a bunch of different veggies in there as it might turn into a brown gooey mess).
- I ended-up blending half of the soup and leaving the other half chunky, but it could be left chunky too. If you grated the beetroots initially, I think it would have a really nice consistency straight-up.
- I substituted vegetable broth for beef/chicken – hey, sometimes ethics trump tradition!
- I used 3 cups of broth, which made a pretty thick soup/stew. You may want to double to 6 cups to make a lighter soup.
- I didn’t have any caraway seeds on hand, so the taste was pretty mellow, but I would definitely add them if I had them.
- Fresh dill is a must for this recipe (You can never go wrong with fresh herbs)!
- You can serve this hot or cold – although I would probably puree it if you plan on serving it cold.
- You may want to wear gloves when peeling/cutting the beets. Otherwise, you can rub your hands with a bit of lemon juice to remove any stains.
Vegan Borscht (Beetroot Soup)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped (my garlic cloves were huge so I only used 2)
- 6 medium beets, skin peeled, and diced
- 3 cups vegetable broth (this makes a thick stew – use 6 cups if you want it really soupy)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
- 3 tablespoons fresh dill
- 1 can cannellini beans (optional)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas (optional)
- vegan sour cream, for garnish
- Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the beets and saute for another 5 minutes.
- Add broth, cover the pot and simmer until the beets are tender, about 40 minutes.
- If using, stir in the beans and peas and cook another 5 minutes.
- Season with lemon juice, caraway seeds, salt, pepper and dill.
- If pureeing, let the soup cool a little bit before pureeing with regular or immersion blender.
- Serve soup garnished with sour cream and fresh dill. Can be served hot or cold.