Russian-Style Red Beet Borscht

russian borscht
Leyla Shamayeva, MS, RD
Total Time 75 min
Prep 15 min, Cook 60 min
Yield 6 2-cup servings (224 calories)

The deep red and purple hues of beets, a root vegetable that's available year-round, offer more than a pretty color to dishes. They come packed with phytonutrients called betalains—antioxidants that fight to reduce inflammation in your body. Paired with a variety of other colorful veggies like onions, bell peppers, carrots, and cabbage, this classic borscht recipe is a mixture of good-for-you ingredients that show off just a taste of what Russian-style cuisine has to offer.

The dish is also completely vegetarian, perfect for a Meatless Monday meal that'll help you lower your intake of saturated fat for the week, and your cholesterol and heart disease risk in turn.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, small chopped
  • 2 small beets, peeled and shredded
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 small head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 2 cups parsley, chopped (about 1 small bunch)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream, optional, for serving

Preparation

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Sautee until onion is starting to become translucent.
  2. Add shredded beets and carrots and continue to sautee another 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add tomato sauce and stir until well incorporated. Continue to heat for another 2 minutes, then turn the heat off.
  4. Add shredded cabbage and salt and pepper to a separate large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes.
  1. Add the halved potatoes to the pot of cabbage. Cook, covered, until the potato is about halfway cooked.
  2. Transfer the sautee mixture to the pot with the cabbage. Add parsley, bay leaves, and crushed garlic. Boil for another 2 to 3 minutes and turn off the heat.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

This is a vegetarian (and vegan, if you leave out the sour cream) dish. The ingredients listed are classic in traditional cookings. However, you can also add in chunks of cooked, cubed beef for additional protein and a meatier texture.

Cooking and Serving Tips

This dish is filling enough on its own, served with a slice of warm whole wheat bread. The variety of vegetables included offer an enriching, healthy meal. You can serve this dish hot or cold. The sour cream provides a nice creaminess and presentation, but is completely optional. You can use Greek yogurt instead.

You'll likely find beets sold in a bunch with the greens attached.

Some supermarkets may stock them loose. Regardless, choose beets that are firm with smooth skin. If they come with greens, cut them off about an inch above where they attach to the beet (you can use them and any leftover beets to make goat cheese ravioli). Don't wash the beets until you're ready to grate them.

Scrubbing them well help get rid of any clinging dirt.

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