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Hearty, earthy and warming, this vegan/plant-based borscht (beet soup if you’re not familiar with the word Borscht!) is good for the soul. I’ve tried to keep it as close as possible to the classic version I grew up eating with my Polish grandparents…. just without the beef broth and meat, of course.
I do have to say, I think this loaded veggie version is almost better than my Nana’s authentic Borscht recipe (don’t tell her I said so).
It’s a healthy comfort food that will give you that stick-to-your-ribs feeling while also being packed full of vitamins, antioxidants and flavour.
What is Borscht
Borscht is a hearty soup that is primarily made of beets/beet roots along with a mix of other root vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots. The beets give it a deep, earthy flavour and its vibrant red colour.
I grew up eating homemade borscht regularly with both sets of my Polish grandparents. I was always under the impression it was in fact a Polish dish.
I imagine anyone who grew up eating homemade Borscht will claim that their family’s version is an authentic version. Don’t believe them! Just kidding….but I have a feeling Borscht is one of those dishes that changes from one household to the next.
I grew up eating a Borscht that was 80% beets with a little bit of shredded carrots and cubed potatoes as the other vegetables. But I’ve seen countless other recipes claiming that peas and cabbage are a staple in their familiy’s Borscht recipes.
So, while I do claim this is the best vegan Borscht recipe, use this as a guide and tweak the ingredients as you wish to make it your own!
What Are The Best Types of Beets To Use For Borscht
There are so many great beet varieties out there for Canadian growers to choose from for their gardens. And really, any red beet works to make Borscht.
They are definitely a rookie-friendly beet variety if you are a beginner gardener. I waited until November to harvest them because they become even sweeter after a few light frosts as they convert their starch stores into sugars.
A few of my other fav beet varieties for both growing and making Borscht are:
Early Wonder Beets – ready to harvest in the Spring, great big beet leaves that are also edible.
Cylindra Beets – an Heirloom variety that is large and long in size. Their large shape means fewer are needed for recipes!
Why You’ll Love This Easy Vegan Borscht Recipe
I’m confident you’ll love my easy vegan borscht recipe for a few reasons.
First off, it is a relatively quick and easy soup to make. From start to finish it takes about 60-75 minutes. I consider it the ideal meal to whip up on a Sunday night and enjoy throughout the week
Next is the number of veggies packed into it. This healthy Borscht recipe is full of:
Folic Acid beets
….the list goes on and on!
You’ll also love that it has a satisfying umami flavour while being low in sodium. The onions, garlic and oil give the soup tons of flavour without requiring much salt or seasoning.
Now, this is maybe the thing that makes it the best Borscht recipe….it’s versatile.
You can easily substitute the veggies based on your preferences. It is a simple soup recipe but can be made more complex with additional ingredients.
Finally, it can be garnished with whatever you like. Traditionally, or the way I grew up eating it, Borscht is garnished with a dollop of sour cream (vegan sour cream in this case!) and some fresh dill.
Other toppings include whipping cream, Greek yogurt or shredded cheese.
How To Properly Cook Beets for Borscht
First, wash beets and then cut off both ends, removing the leaves as well as the end root tip. Put beets in a steamer basket and place it on top of a pot filled halfway with water. Cover steamer. Turn stove to high heat and once water begins to boil, steam beets for 10-12 minutes.
This step speeds up the overall cooking time of your Borscht.
You are not completely cooking your beets here, just pre-boiling them.
This is a key step that ensures all your vegetables are evenly cooked in the soup since beets take quite a long time to soften, longer than carrots and potatoes.
Once beets are done steaming, remove and set aside to cool before peeling and dicing into small cubes.
How To Thicken Borscht Broth
To thicken your broth and also intensify the red colour of the soup, add 1 cup of your cooked Borscht to a high powered blender.
Be sure to blend both vegetables and broth. The vegetables will add the thickness to the broth.
This is the last step of the recipe. Wait until your broth is completely cooked before blending.
I use a Vitamix for this, but a food processor or other high-powered blender will also work.
If you make this recipe, let me know how it goes! Rate it, leave a comment and tag a photo @fromsoiltosoul on Instagram.
1/4cup of vegetable oil (I prefer olive or avocado oil)
1/4cup of tomato paste
1 tsp of sugar or maple syrup
2 tsp of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp of salt
2 tsp of pepper
1. Wash beets and then cut off both ends, removing the leaves as well as the end root tip.
2. Put beets in a steamer basket and place it on top of a pot filled halfway with water. Cover steamer. Bring stove to high heat and once water begins to boil, let beets steam for 10-12 minutes. *Note: This step speeds up your overall cooking time as it pre-boils and softens your beets before they’re added to the soup. You are not fully cooking your beets here. You can choose to skip this step and instead boil beets in soup for longer, but it may result in your other veggies being mushy.
3. While beets steam, finely dice your onions and garlic. Add to a large soup pot with vegetable oil and sauté for 5-8 minutes or until translucent.Reduce heat to medium-low to gently simmer.
4. Return to the beets, remove from steamer and set aside to cool. While beets cool, dice potatoes and grate carrots to add to the onions and garlic mixture. Stir to combine. Add in 1/2 cup of water to keep vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
5. Beets should now be cool enough to peel and dice. If they are still hot to touch, use a pair of tongs to hold the beets in place while you peel. Otherwise, you can use an old dishtowel to hold in place, but keep in mind it will easily stain with red beet juice. Once diced, add beets to soup pot.
7. Increase stove heat to high and bring to a boil. Keep an eye on your soup, stirring often and being careful it doesn’t boil over. Let boil for 5 minutes, then reduce to a low heat. Cover and let simmer for another 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
8. Once beets are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork, turn off heat. Keep soup on element to stay warm.
9. Stir in apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
10. *Optional* To thicken soup and intensify red colour, remove 1 cup of soup (liquid and vegetables) and blend in a high powered blender (a Vitamix is what I use and suggest) for 10-15 seconds or until puréed. Then add back into soup pot and stir to combine.
11. Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with fresh dill and additional sat and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh bread. And enjoy!
If you find soup is too sweet for your taste, balance it out with additional acidity (apple cider vinegar or lemon juice). On the other hand, if you find it is too acidic, add more sweeter (sugar or maple syrup).