I grew up on Russian Borscht and I love it! (pronounced “borsh-ch”, no “t” sound even though many say it that way) It’s a warm and delicious soup; perfect for a cold hard day. Vegetarian Russian Borscht is also a great dish to feed your family if you’re trying to get healthier in the New Year. The only indulgence with this soup is the sour cream or bread you would enjoy with it. I would assume that Borscht is one of the first foods that would come to most people’s minds thinking of Russian food. It is definitely a well loved dish of Russian and Ukrainian families all over the world.
As with most Eastern European dishes I have on this site a lot of my inspiration has come from both Russian and Ukrainian variations of the dish. Even though I grew up speaking Russian my mother was born in the Ukraine in the primarily Russian speaking city of Odessa, so a lot of her dishes along with my maternal Grandmother’s were heavily influenced by both cultures. As you’ll see elsewhere, not to get political the two cultures have more similarities than not. Borscht is a popular soup for both nationalities with minor differences.
Borscht Soup Prep
As with almost any Russian dish the prep work is a bit lengthy. I don’t know many Russian recipes that don’t involve a lot of peeling and chopping of vegetables along with other ingredients. One thing I do find easy and actually kind of fun with the prep work for borscht is cutting the beets into matchsticks. It’s not a requirement for borscht by any means, but it one of the most preferred ways to present borscht. Once you know how to do it it makes the borscht making process easier. Here is a great little video showing the easiest way to cut beets into matchsticks.
Vegetarian Borscht Soup
Many borscht soups I grew up with had meat in it, but as with any other cultures a vegetarian option is always desirable. I like both versions, but I would say over the years, with my travels and borscht tastings from Russian homes to restaurants I’ve always enjoyed a good vegetarian version of this soup. It just appeals to the masses and is less hassle to make as well.
Give this vegetarian Russian Borscht a try and let me know what you think!