I’m not Ukrainian, but I live in an area where a lot of people come from Ukrainian or Eastern European backgrounds. My dad grew up in rural Saskatchewan and Manitoba and, even though his family was German, ate a lot of dishes like borscht as a kid. We didn’t have a whole lot of stuff like this when I was growing up but I’ve always loved beets. Borscht is kind of like the ultimate beet dish. It’s fast, it’s super easy, and healthy. Beets also make your pee pink, and that’s neat. Everyone likes pink pee (unless you haven’t been eating beets. Then it’s bad).
This borscht isn’t very traditional, but it tastes like it is. It’s made without the normal load of butter for frying the vegetables and all the veggies (minus the tomatoes) are shredded together in a food processor before throwing them into the pot. No one wants to cut this many vegetables by hand, and you won’t stain your fingers pink! I sort of like that about beets, but lots of people prefer their original skin colour. The result is a bright pink soup packed with fibre and deliciousness without being too heavy handed with the beets. The kale adds some great nutritional punch. You can use whatever you have on hand, and feel free to sub stuff.
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Yields a whole whack of soup
2 cups beets
1 cup carrots
1 cup onion
1 cup potato
1 cup tomato, diced*
2 cups kale
3 stalks celery
1 cup zucchini
3 cloves garlic
8 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons fresh, dried, or frozen dill
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and scrub your vegetables well, peeling if not organic or if they have thick skins. Put the tomato to the side. Throw all the other veggies through the shredder in your food processor and then dice the tomato by hand.
Heat a large pot over medium heat with a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil. Don’t worry about the coconut flavour, you can’t taste it in the final product. Once it’s hot, add all the vegetables. Cook down for a few minutes or until they start to sweat.
Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the temperature and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Add the dill, salt, and pepper. Serve hot with a dollop of vegan yogurt or sour cream. A great homemade vegan sour cream recipe can be found here.
Any leftovers will freeze beautifully and make great future lunches.
You can certainly use equal parts canned tomato if you don’t have fresh.