I grew up on 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 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. I hope you enjoy this Russian Borscht Recipe as much as I do.
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 recipes 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 Recipe Prep
As with almost any Russian recipe the prep work is a bit lengthy. There aren't many Russian recipes that don't involve a lot of peeling and chopping of vegetables and other ingredients. One thing I do find easy and actually kind of fun about making Russian borscht is cutting the beets into matchsticks. It's not a requirement for borscht, but it one of the most preferred ways to present borscht. Once you know how to do it it makes the borscht recipe 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 Borscht recipe a try and let me know what you think!
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Vegetarian Russian/ Ukrainian Borscht Soup
This recipe makes a nice big pot of borscht soup. Borscht freezes well for future enjoyment and it is even better the next day!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
- Category: Soup
- Cuisine: Eastern European
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb beets (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 5 large garlic cloves, minced
- 8 oz. carrot (2-3 small), peeled and cut into about ⅛ " half circles
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 ¼ cup water, divided (using ¼ cup 1st, then 4 cups)
- 1 small green cabbage, shredded
- 4 cups low/no sodium vegetable stock/broth
- 5 Tbsp concentrated tomato paste (I love the Italian kind in a tube)
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 ½ tsp of salt, divided
- ¾ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 lb. white potatoes, diced into ½ inch cubes
- 2-3 tablespoon lemon juice (start with 2 Tbsp and add another if you like)
- 2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped (or ½ Tbsp dried dill)
- Heat dutch oven or large pot on medium heat and add olive oil.
- Once olive oil heated add onions and garlic and cook about 5 minutes.
- Then add beets, carrots, ¼ cup water along with about ½ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine, cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Now add the the cabbage, broth, remaining water, tomato paste, sugar, bay leaves and remaining 1 teaspoon salt, return to a boil, cover and simmer on low for another 30 minutes, stirring a couple times.
- Add the potatoes, return to a boil, cover and simmer for another hour, stirring a couple times. (If the soup is too thick for your liking you can add more liquid, but I think it's great thick and chunky)
- Once the potatoes are knife tender add the dill along with the lemon juice and cook another 5 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper at this point as well. If you like the soup a little tangier add another tablespoon of lemon juice.
Ideally served with a dollop of real sour cream (Optional for those not eating dairy), maybe a little fresh dill or even a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Serving Size: 10-12
Keywords: Borscht, Russian Borscht, Ukrainian Borscht, Vegetarian, Borscht Recipe
This presentation is like candy for the eyes. And the soup itself is a huge favorite in our kitchen.
Thank you! I love this soup and it's so good for you!