Nearly Borscht

Several countries lay claim to inventing this delectable beet soup. In some cultures it must be made with beef broth, while in others it’s strictly vegetarian, sometimes it is made with dill, occasionally it has tomato paste and it is almost always served with sour cream on top. My own introduction to this bright red soup was Christmas eve dinner in Poland. A clear salty-sour broth with ravioli type dumplings; I was instantly in love! It was one of the most memorable meals I have ever had. It could have been the fact that every other dish that night involved some sort of pickled herring but I believe it was the discovery of what the polish call barszcz. My own version of borscht is unique in that it uses pumpkin puree and Brussels sprouts instead of cabbage. It is also not topped with sour cream because I wanted to keep it vegan. Feel free to add sour cream to yours, but I think you’ll find it unnecessary. You could always top it with a little of my vegan tzatziki if you’re feeling adventurous.

Makes: 8 appetizers or 4 main courses

Preparation time: 30m
Cooking time: 30m
Total time: 1h50m


  • 1 red beet (soft-ball sized - 3.5” diameter)
  • 1 medium boiling potato (like Yukon gold or red-skinned)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 10 Brussels sprouts
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (or part vegetable/stock part water)

Equipment: roasting dish, aluminum foil, large saucepan, box grater, blender


  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF/220ºC.
  2. Wash the beet and wrap it in aluminum foil. Roast the beet for 1 hour, then remove from the oven and let it cool in the foil for 30 minutes. For more detailed instructions see my post on INLINE-LINK-START title="How To: Roast Beets" href="../../../howtos/how-to-roast-beets" target="_blank">How To: Roast Beets. INLINE-LINK-END
  3. Meanwhile, wash, peel, and grate the potato and carrot using the large holes on a box grater. This side is often referred to as large-hole shredder and should produce strips that are about 1/4” wide and an inch long. Shred all of the potato and carrot then set aside in a large bowl.
  4. Wash the Brussels sprouts and remove the damaged outer leaves. Hold them at the root end and chop off the top into 1/4” ribbons. You want these to resemble the shredded potatoes and carrots in size. Add to potato bowl.
  5. Dice the onion. Add to potato bowl.
  6. Put 3 cups vegetable stock into a blender along with the pumpkin puree and lemon juice.
  7. Once it is cool enough to hold without burning yourself, remove the skin from the from the beet, it should rub off easily now. Then chop the beet into quarters and add it to the blender.
  8. Blend on high until smooth.
  9. Pour the beet purée into a large saucepan and add the contents of the potato bowl, as well as the rest of the vegetable stock. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes).
  10. Remove from the heat, stir in the dill and serve hot.