Have you ever heard of Borscht?
Borscht. Thats a lot of consonants. Most people don’t even know how to pronounce it, let alone how to cook this wonderfully amazing, colorful soup. As a kid, I grew up eating borscht , which is a mixed vegetable soup that gets it bright color from being loaded with delicious red beets. Red beets are a great source of naturally occurring dietary nitrates, which can help dilate your blood vessels to improve blood flow, reduce your blood pressure, and increase your cognitive function. Dietary nitrates also help power your mitochondria which increases the health of your brain, all of your cells and can also increase athletic performance. Beets can also help reduce inflammation and improve digestion. Borscht is very popular in Belarusian culture, which is where my family is from. When I was young, I would always be extra dramatic about having to eat vegetables in the form of soup, but now as an adult, I can’t get enough of this stuff! Not only is the color such a pleasure to experience as I eat it, but the taste is just the most amazing mix of savory and sweet. The texture of the crunchy cabbage is just another element that really makes this soup so great. If you want to treat yourself, you can add a dollop of sour cream or unsweetened coconut yogurt, like COYO, for an extra creamy and rich addition to this lovely dish. Check out the recipe below:
Borscht - Makes 6-8 servings
3 medium potatoes
1 large carrot or 2 medium carrots
1 yellow onion
garlic cloves to taste (5-6)
1 carton vegetable stock
4 cups of water
2 cups of chopped green cabbage
1 can of tomatoes or 2 fresh tomatoes
3-4 red beets
sour cream or Coyo coconut yogurt (optional)
coconut oil or avocado oil (these have a higher smoke point - read more about that here)
1 large soup pot
Peel and rinse three medium potatoes. I used purple potatoes because I love how they look but you can use whichever you like best. Cut them into smaller pieces and put them in a big soup pot.
Add one carton of vegetable stock and begin to heat the mixture.
Add 4 cups of water to the soup pot.
While this is heating, chop up 2 cups of green cabbage and add to the pot, bring the entire mixture to a low boil and then simmer.
While mixture is heating:
1 onion chopped and sauteed until brown in coconut oil or avocado oil
Add chopped garlic (as much as you want, I used 5-6 cloves) towards the end of sautéing your onion for a few minutes. When slightly browned, and the potatoes are mostly cooked through, add the onion and garlic mixture to the simmering soup pot.
Peel and grate carrots (2 smaller or 1 large). Pan fry grated carrots just a little bit until their rawness fades and carrots soften, and maybe brown a little. Add carrots to soup pot.
At this point the soup liquid will be yellowish.
Add One can of tomatoes or 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped (if fresh, sauté for a few minutes until tomatoes soften and break apart) then add to the soup pot.
Peel and grate raw beets (3-4), pan fry grated beets a little bit until their rawness fades and beets soften and maybe brown a little. Add beets to soup pot
Watch the mixture of the soup turn a rich red color!
Simmer the mixture for at least ten minutes to make sure all the flavors come together.
Add Salt, lots of pepper, lemon and fresh dill to taste. (you can do lemon and dill as a topping for each bowl if you want since you don’t really want the lemon to cook and the dill is nice when its fresh, but its up to you!)
Pour into a bowl and add a dollup of sour cream or coconut yogurt if you’d like.
Nah Zdarovya ("to health" in Russian) and Enjoy!