The original base for this bright red Polish and Russian soup was the cow parsnip. The Russian word ‘borshch’ means cow parsnip. Today, borscht is a beetroot soup, made with meat stock, cabbage, and frequently potatoes and other root vegetables. Source: Food Facts and Trivia
This recipe is taken from The Looney Spoons cookbook and altered to taste and to be more health conscious. Hope you enjoy it.
Borscht – beet soup
5 cups vegetable broth (low sodium, or make your own)
2 cups peeled, and cut beets (you can cube them in 1.5″ pieces, or julienne them or even grate them if you want – each will give a different texture to the soup, see how you like it – I like my chunky so I do cubes)
2 cups shredded cabbage (I use the purple stuff)
2 cups peeled and cubed parsnip or rutabaga (traditional recipes use white potatoes, we have substituted here, use what you like best or just leave them out and put in more beets and other veggies)
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped red onion
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar or Umeboshi (Ume) vinegar (made from plums)
2 TBSP tomato based chili sauce (or less if using hotter sauce, don’t overdue it)
1 TBSP organic Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 tsp dried marjoram (organic and non-irradiated preferably)
1/4 fresh ground black pepper
1/2 bunch of fresh dill, chopped and destemmed
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Optional: almond milk, plain goat yogurt or soft tofu
Method: combine all ingredients except dill, parsely and optional ones in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and gently boil for 15-20 minutes or until beets and vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally.
Add dill and parsley, cook 2-3 more minutes to combine flavors.
To serve, spoon into bowls and you can add a dash of almond milk or yogurt (if using tofu, mash it and make it smooth before adding a dollop to your bowl) to make it creamier if you wish. Traditionally it is served with sour cream – this is the non-dairy version.
The humble beet deserves more respect. Even their unfortunate Latin name, Beta vulgaris, suggests that they shouldn’t be allowed in the house. While they may not be as attractive as those glossy bell peppers or as popular as the potato, beets possess an impressive amount of nutrients, fiber and antioxidants. Not only that, but beneath that uninviting exterior lies a tasty and versatile flesh that can be prepared in myriad ways and served warm or cold. Give this hardworking vegetable a chance to show its stuff in your kitchen.
Star of the root vegetable world, beets are an excellent source of folates and a good source of potassium and vitamin C. They are sweeter than carrots or sweet corn and their mild, earthy flavor pairs well with vinegar, citrus, cheese and nuts. And the leaves are delicious in salads. In fact, the chard we know today was the forerunner to the modern beet. Borscht, a beet soup, is common in eastern Europe and Russia and was routinely taken into space by cosmonauts. In Australia, beet slices are commonly served on hamburgers, just like cucumber pickles are in the U.S. Source: Whole Foods Market
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Borscht Soup Recipe Photo Credit: Her View Photography