Along with avocados, beets are another one of those ingredients I wish I had incorporated into my diet much earlier in life. Besides being packed with nutrients, I really love the slightly sweet but still earthy flavor. I know some people think they taste like dirt, but perhaps that’s because they haven’t had them cooked properly. 😉
Beets are delicious when roasted, however thanks to my Polish boyfriend’s family, I do enjoy using them in a vibrant soup, as well. I entered a challenge on another platform where the theme was “apples”, so I made up this riff on a borscht to incorporate the apples in a savory way. I had a hunch that the sweetness from the apples would pair well with the beets and parsnips. Luckily, my intuition led me in the right direction.
The soup came out better than I could have imagined! I used Mutzu apples, so it was not overwhelmingly sweet. The onions and herbs added a nice savory note to balance out the flavors. Adding the apple cider vinegar to finish it off was the final touch to really bridge all of the ingredients together.
The only problem with beet soup is making sure to be very careful not to spill! Just chopping them up can stain your fingers for a day or two, but it’s a small price to pay to enjoy the rich flavors of fresh fall produce. I have used the pre-cooked beets in a pinch, but they just are not quite the same as preparing them from scratch.
As usual, I like to pull out all of my ingredients at the beginning and do my chopping at one time. It just makes it easier when you are putting it all together, but if you are a little bit faster with the knife you can probably chop as you go. I also did not peel my beets, apples or parsnips for this recipe since I knew they would be blended up in the end. A lot of the fiber and some other nutrients are found in the skin, as well.
Vegan Autumn Borscht
Makes 8 Servings
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 parsnips, ends trimmed and roughly chopped
- 6-7 small beets, ends trimmed and roughly chopped
- 2 apples, cored and roughly chopped
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed and drained
- 8 cups water or vegetable broth
- 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Place your onion and celery in a large stockpot over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Next, add your herbs–oregano through the bay leaf–and cook for just a minute to release the flavors.
Add in all of the remaining ingredients with the exception of the apple cider vinegar and mix together. Turn up the heat to bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce down to low. Partially cover with the lid and let simmer for 30-35 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Once the soup is cooked through, remove the bay leaf. Pour in the apple cider vinegar and puree using an immersion blender or in small batches in a regular stand blender. Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.
Traditionally in many Eastern European countries borscht is served with a dollop of sour cream. There are a few vegan sour cream or yogurt options if you want to keep it totally plant-based!
The final product was so smooth and glossy, it was hard to photograph! Hopefully it looks good enough to give it a try. Let me know what you guys think!