This modern, vegan version of a traditional classic borscht is super flavourful, warming and brimming with anti-inflammatory properties.
What is Borscht?
Borscht! Borscht! Borscht! What’s not to like about this so very flavourful, earthy and deeply fullfilling spectactle of a soup? Traditionally made with beetroot, potatoes and some form of beef stock, borscht is a classic kitchen recipe associated with the cuisine of eastern and central Europe (especially Russia, Poland, and the Ukraine). Here we will cook a delicious vegan version of this all-time hearty favourite.
What is beetroot food for?
Beetroot is good for the liver:
They contain antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, and iron. These compounds help protect the liver from inflammation and oxidative stress while enhancing its ability to remove toxins from the body. Beets’ juice has traditionally been used as a remedy to activate liver enzymes and to increase bile, which helps the liver’s detox function. They are also high in compounds that have been shown to reduce inflammation, protect against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of liver damage.
Beets can reduce inflammation:
Their juice contains anti-inflammatory compounds called betalains. Many studies have shown that betalains help modulate inflammatory reactions, especially in inflammatory diseases. Beetroots therefor make a great choice for people with inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia.
Beetroots can help reduce blood pressure:
Beets naturally contain large quantities of nitrates, which the body converts into nitric oxide. This compound dilates the blood vessels, which improves blood flow and lowers overall blood pressure.
Beets can help prevent anemia:
Beetroots are also rich in iron, an essential component of red blood cells. Without iron, red blood cells cannot transport oxygen around the body. People who have low iron levels can sometimes develop a condition called iron deficiency anemia. Adding sources of iron to the diet can reduce the risk of this condition.
Feeling Vata: This soup is great for you. Packed full of root vegetables to ground lofty Vata especially during winter times or whenever you feel a little out of sorts. Cabbage can be ok for Vata if cooked and not eaten too often, however if you know that cabbage gets you really gassy, then you can leave out the cabbage and cook the soup without it.
Feeling Pitta: Beetroots pacify pitta so this is a very good soup for you. If you’re feeling very Pitta leave out the garlic. Ensure you use the white and not the red onion as red onions can aggravate pitta.
Feeling Kapha: As this soup is full of root vegetables which can aggravate an already heavy Kapha, this is not the best soup for you to enjoy when your Kapha is high. A healing mung bean soup is much more pacifying for your dosha and easier for you to digest, leaving you feeling less heavy. However if you do want to enjoy a bit of beetroot goodness, than use much less of the beetroots and carrots and use more of the cabbage (can also be substituted with white cabbage). Use very little or no salt but you can add more black pepper and more of the lemon juice.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
- 1 medium white or red onion
- 6 beetroots, diced cooked (I use the pre-cooked ones from the supermarket)
- 1 small piece of celeriac diced
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 4 large potatoes diced
- 700 gr red cabbage sliced into fine strips
- 1 tsp black caraway ground in pestle and mortar
- 4 carrots sliced
- 2 bayleaves
- 2 tbsp parsley chopped
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 1,25 liter vegetable broth without added fats or additives, and no added yeast or MSG or natural flavourings
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- juice of ½ a lemon
- Fry the onion and the garlic in the oil on low to medium heat for a few minutes until softened.
- Add the diced potatoes and fry lightly along with the onion and garlic mix for a few minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add the celery stalks, the beetroot and the celeriac. I always add the juice from the pack of the cooked beetroot (if using raw beetroot cook these first for 30 – 40 min and then add to this mix). Keep cooking on medium heat and stir frequently for around five minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
- Add the cabbage and the black caraway.
- Add the remaining vegetables, bay leaves, the tomato paste and salt and pepper.
- Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through. Stir several times. Season to taste with salt (but try and go easy with it as this is a healing soup. Try and avoid the salt altogether if you can).
- After 20 mins have passed, try the soup to see if all the vegetables are cooked through and tender. If so, take the soup off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
- Now you are ready to serve and eat your soup! Voila!