Ukrainian Vegetarian Borscht.... a pot full of vegetables! Let’s Lunch August 2013

When the Let's Lunch team posted their topic for this month 'Eat your Vegetables' in celebration of the launch of Joe Yonan's new book I was not sure where to start then Sydney's winter weather suddenly turned cold and what better than create a soup close to my heart.

When I was a young girl winter always meant a big pot of borscht would be it at home or my Baba's place... and it still instills a comfort that no other soup can replace.

Borscht may be a staple national dish in Ukraine every region and every home has their own 'special' recipe. Some are full of beetroot, others more carrots and cabbage, some have lots of tomatoes and only a little beetroot, some add pork, beef brisket, smoked pork sausage or speck, some add beans and others add barley.....though my Baba would always keep beetroot the hero.

A few little tips my Baba taught me were to initially cook the beets separately, then chop them and toss them in vinegar to keep their colour and add a little more vinegar just at the end which gives the soup a little tart zing that lifts the soup to a whole new level.

My baba would make her everyday borscht with her homemade pork rib stock that had been simmering for hours....however in keeping with the Let's Lunch theme, and in the name of speed, this creation is 'purely' vegetarian.

Baba....I hope I did your recipe proud xx

Ukrainian Vegetarian Borscht

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves 6

4 large beets (1 kg), trimmed, washed
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons rice bran oil
1 brown onion, peeled, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled, cut into matchsticks
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
3 large desiree potatoes, peeled, cut into 2.5 cm pieces
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 litres salt reduced vegetable stock
250g green cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup sour cream, to serve
  • Place the beetroot in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until tender. Drain. Set aside to cool slightly.  Peel beetroot (it will easily peel off but  prevent your hands becoming stained a vibrant pink I suggest using some kitchen or disposable gloves).  Thinly slice the beetroot , then cut into thin strips. Place in a large ceramic or glass bowl. Pour over 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Toss to combine. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a clean large saucepan over medium low heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes or until softened. Add tomatoes and cook,stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add beetroot mixture, potato and stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potato is almost tender.
  • Add cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until cabbage is tender. Stir in the remaining vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in half the dill. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Divide among serving bowls. Top with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with remaining dill. 

This was my post for this month's #LetsLunch, a monthly Twitter based food blogger's virtual lunch club.

If you'd like to join the LetsLunch group, go to Twitter and post a message with the hashtag #LetsLunch or post a comment below!

I’ve posted a link below to everyone else's #LetsLunch posts for this month and will continue to update them as they come in.

Annabelle‘s Farmer’s Market Gazpacho at Glass of Fancy
Cheryl’s Egg-Drop Broccoli at A Tiger in the Kitchen
Grace‘s Vegetable Tempura at HapaMama
Jill‘s Fusilli with Corn Sauce at Eating My Words 
Joe‘s Guaca-Chi at Joe Yonan
Linda‘s Chocolate-Zucchini Twinkies at Free Range Cookies
Linda‘s Gateway Brussels Sprouts at Spicebox Travels
Lisa‘s Totally “Free” Veggie Soup at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Pat‘s Umami-Laden Green Beans at The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook
Vivian‘s Kangkong (Water Spinach) with Fermented Beancurd, Chili and Garlic at Vivian Pei


ATigerInTheKitchen said... Best Blogger Tips

I love the look of that borscht! Great to have you back, Sonja! xx

ATigerInTheKitchen said... Best Blogger Tips

I love the look of that borscht -- great to have you back, Sonja! xx

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

What a healthy food. I love to try this Ukrainian Vegetarian Borscht.