I love borscht and grew up eating the Manischewitz version out of a large glass jar, cold with a dollop of sour cream. Then I discovered the “real thing” – Russian style borscht made with carrots, beets, cabbage, dill, mushrooms and potatoes, served warmed as a comforting winter soup thanks to Barbara Kafka’s classic cookbook, Soup, A Way of Life.
I remember her recipe for Vegetarian Borscht as being very labor intensive. I made a triple batch and it literally took me all afternoon to chop those vegetables! I was exhausted by the time the borscht was done, but it was so worth it.
I wanted to recreate that soup and health up the borscht a bit. Due to my food sensitivities, I omitted the cabbage and the white potatoes. Instead, I substituted kale and purple potatoes, both of which are much more nutrient dense. I also used powdered stevia instead of sugar, reduced the amount of salt, and used no fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
My son Nathan, who is almost 12, loved the borscht. He had it for dinner the other night. The next day he had it for breakfast and took the borscht to school.
Vegetarian Borscht with Kale
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 7 medium beets, peeled, quartered, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
- 1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
- 1 very small or 1/2 large celery root (about 3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 pounds purple potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 bunch kale, choped in 1-inch pieces
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 medium bunch dill, fronds only, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup powdered stevia
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1-2 small containers no fat Greek yogurt
- Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup hot water for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid, and squeeze out the excess liquid. Strain all the soaking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve. Reserve the liquid (there should be 1 cup) and the mushrooms separately.
- In a larege stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes until the onions start to caramelize.
- Add the beets, carrots, parsnip, celery root, 8 cups water, and the mushroom soaking liquid. Bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the potatoes, garlic, kale and sundried tomatoes.
- Return soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the reconstituted mushrooms and simmer for 5 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.
- Remove soup from the stove top. Stir in the dill, stevia, vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Pour soup into bowls and add a dollop of Greek yogurt.
- Serving size: 579 g
- Calories: 215
- Calories from Fat: 37
- Total Fat: 4.1g
- Saturated fat: 0.6g
- Unsaturated fat: 3.5g
- Sodium: 1020mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 39.9g
- Sugar: 12.8g
- Fiber: 8.5g
- Protein: 6.6g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Note: nutritional information is based on borscht without the Greek yogurt.
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