Vegan Ukrainian Borshch

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Lest you think that I misspelled Borscht, please note that this is a Ukrainian version of the famous Southern Russian soup. There are many recipes for this famous soup and the ingredients vary widely. It is however based on red beets, sometimes called beetroot. Red cabbage is also frequently used in this dish. Other common ingredients regularly found are onions, celery, carrots, turnips, parsnips, tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, sour cream, and beef.


Vegetable broth here replaces the traditional beef that is simmered to create a beef broth with meat for garnish. Red lentils are added to give vegans some added protein. If you wish to make the soup have a brighter color withhold a small amount of the beets and grate them rather than cutting into strips. Add the grated beets when adding the tomatoes, cabbage, and horseradish. Always Taste at the end to evaluate if the soup needs more salt or broth then Tranform with salt and/or broth if needed and balance with a bit of acidic red wine vinegar to brighten the flavor.

I use a food processor with attachment to cut the vegetables into 2-inch by ¼-inch strips

4  servings

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1 tablespoon sunflower seed oil

1 cup red onions, finely diced

1 small jalapeño pepper, cored, seeded, minced

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

3 cups vegetable broth or more as needed

¾ pound red beets, cut into 2-inch by ¼-inch strips (withhold a small portion to grate if desired)

1 small carrot, peeled, cut into 2-inch by ¼-inch strips

1 small turnip, cut into 2-inch by ¼-inch strips

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon caraway seeds

2 small purple or red potatoes, peeled, small diced

1 Roma tomato, seeded, cut into 2-inch by ¼-inch strips

½ cup split red lentils

¼ pound red cabbage, shredded in 2-inch strips

1 teaspoon horseradish

¼ cup sour cream (optional)

4 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped


1.     Heat the oil in a two-quart saucepan. Add the onion and jalapeño. Cook until light brown. Add the vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze.

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2.     Add the broth, beets, carrot, turnip, salt, and caraway. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Partially cover and cook for thirty to forty minutes until tender. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, lentils, cabbage, and horseradish. If the soup becomes too thick add more broth. Cook for fifteen to twenty minutes longer. Taste, Think, Transform with salt and/or red wine vinegar to taste.

3.     Distribute to four soup bowls. Top with optional sour cream and dill. Serve hot.

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