A Very Untraditional Borscht…

Posted by on Jan 18, 2015 in Recipes | 0 comments

One of my worst character traits is that I’m impulsive. That often means when I go to the farmers market I get carried away. I buy far too many things because they look pretty, or because I think “I can make a great x with that” without actually thinking about how much produce I’m buying and realistically what I’ll be able to do with it within a week. This soup is the result of one such farmers market buying spree. I had a ridiculous number of beets of all kinds that were in desperate need of being used. So I roasted them and made this delicious and heartwarming, but not quite traditional, borscht. 

Borscht!

Borscht!

I never ate borscht growing up, despite my Ukrainian roots. But I grew to love borscht because of my friend Marina, who would often cook up a nice big pot of it and would sometimes graciously share it with me. And whenever I went to Kyiv, I’d seek out vegan versions.

Why is it untraditional? First, it’s a roasted beet borscht. In most versions, the beets are boiled. I think the roasted beets gives the flavor extra complexity. I also add a few ingredients to add some umami to the dish, like tamari and miso, which balance the sweetness of the beets nicely. Finally, this really is a beet soup. I don’t use cabbage or potatoes, like most others do. And the results? Absolutely delicious.

Borscht
Serves 2
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Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 large beets, peeled & chopped into small pieces (should yield about 2 1/2 - 3 cups)
  2. Olive oil, for roasting & sautéing
  3. 5 sprigs of thyme (divided)
  4. 1 onion, diced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  7. 1 tbsp tamari
  8. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  9. 2 tbsps miso (I used a mellow red miso)
  10. 2 bay leaves
  11. 1-2 tbsps fresh dill leaves (or 1-2 tsps dried)
  12. 3-4 cups water
  13. 2 tbsps cashew cream
  14. Salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place beets, 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and thyme in a bowl and toss until the beets are lightly coated by the oil.
  3. Spread out on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until beets are soft and starting to brown.
  5. Remove from oven and set aside.
  6. When beets are cooked, heat another 1/2 tbsp of oil in a dutch oven or other large heavy-bottomed pot.
  7. Sauté onions for 3-5 minutes until soft.
  8. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds or so until fragrant.
  9. Deglaze pot with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.
  10. Add 3 cups of water (or a little more if the soup is too thick), beets, bay leaves, remaining thyme and tamari.
  11. Bring to a boil then turn down and simmer for 10-15 minutes until flavors have combined.
  12. Add half a cup of water to a bowl along with the miso, and stir until the miso has dissolved and there are no lumps.
  13. Turn the heat off and stir in the miso mixture and fresh dill.
  14. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  15. Using an immersion blender, carefully blend the soup a little (not too much) to add a little creaminess to the broth Or, carefully transfer 1/3 of the soup to a blender, blend, and return it to the pot.
  16. Dish into two big soup bowls.
  17. Add a tbsp of cashew cream to each.
  18. Garnish with a little extra fresh dill, if you like.
Notes
  1. If you are using dried dill, add the dill to the pot at the same time as the bay leaves.
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
 For my cashew cream recipe, click here. Alternatively, you could use store-bought vegan sour cream. 

Super yummy with cornbread biscuits! But that's not really traditional either, right?

Super yummy with cornbread biscuits!

This is the very definition of comfort food. Perfect for cold winter nights!

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