Roasted Beet Borscht

We had an international pot-luck at work today. I chose to make something that I’ve never made before, and haven’t had since I was a kid. (My dad made it a couple of times. As I recall I didn’t like it, but then again – it was probably one of those “eeewww something different” things all kids do.)

I saw a good recipe for borscht on a food network show, (which is when I said to myself “I know, I’ll make THAT for the pot-luck!”) and grabbed the exact recipe from their website. The only modification I made was to substitute vegetable broth for chicken stock. I wanted to give as many people as possible the chance to try it, so I thought going vegetarian would be a good idea.

The soup was very well received. I’ve had several compliments and a couple of people have asked for the recipe. I’ve sent it out to those that have asked, and I figured I should blog it too.

Here is my (Vegetarian) Roasted Beet Borscht
(can I really call it mine if all I did was change one ingredient?)

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

What You Need:

  • 1 pound beets
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable broth, heated
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Sour cream, for garnish

What You Do:

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Scrub the beets and put them on a large piece of aluminum foil; season with salt and pepper, add 3 thyme sprigs, and drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Bake until the beets are tender, about 1 hour. Set aside. When the beets are cool enough to handle but still warm, slip off their skins, and chop them into large chunks.

In a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Put in the onion, carrots, garlic, and remaining 3 thyme sprigs and cook until softened and just starting to color, about 10 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs. Put the chopped beets into a blender and add the cooked vegetables and most of the stock. Blend until smooth, add more stock if the puree is too thick. Add the vinegar and honey; season with salt and pepper. Blend again to incorporate flavors. Borscht can be served hot or cold.

To make the garnish, grate the apple on the large holes of a box grater and mix in the dill. Serve in bowls, garnished with a big dollop of sour cream and topped with the apple and dill mixture.

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Robert Belknap has been writing online sporadically since 2001. See the colophon for more details.

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