Fall is definitely in the air as we start to experience shorter days and colder nights. All of these shifts and changes have me reaching for my cozy sweaters along with warm and nourishing soups and teas. The inspiration for this particular recipe came from the bounty of root vegetables in our weekly CSA bag, along with a strong family history of consuming beets. My grandmother came from a large Russian family, and I have many fond memories of tucking into her perogies, blintzes and borscht. As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised if beets were an integral part of my DNA, given my strong Russian roots!
Traditionally our family borscht recipes were made with beef. Since meat has not been part of our diet for a while now, and I was tempted to take this on as a personal challenge to see if I could make an equally delicious plant based version. Therefore, I have included a stock recipe that helps up the flavour profile and makes use of all parts of the veggies included. I am often surprised at how much grit beets can accumulate, especially when they arrive directly from the farm, which makes a throughout washing (multiple times perhaps!) an absolute must.
While turmeric may not be a traditionally Russian food, it contains lots of immune boosting properties so I decided to deviate from tradition and add it to the recipe. I also included a medicinal mushroom blend, which is very fitting as Russia is one of the major locations for harvesting Chaga mushrooms! Chaga’s immune boosting properties make it the perfect addition to teas and soups to help carry you through all of the colds and flus that invariably crop up during fall and winter months.
If I have the time, I love to put the stock into a slow cooker and let it simmer on low for 4+ hours. If I am low on time, cooking the stock in a pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot) for 15 minutes is a great option. And as an added bonus it tastes even better the next day!
Back To My Roots Borscht
2 Tbsp avocado oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 small head of cabbage, finely sliced
8 cups Borscht Stock (see below)
1 small zucchini, finely sliced
2 potatoes, cubed
4 beets, cubed
1 tsp caraway seeds
¼ cup fresh dill (1½ Tbsp dry)
1 cup beet greens, thickly sliced
½ lemon, juiced
Salt and Pepper
First heat oil over medium heat. Then add onion, garlic, carrot, celery, cabbage, and a pinch of salt and sauté until soft. When soft, add broth, zucchini, potatoes, beets and caraway seeds. Bring to a boil, lower heat and then let simmer for 30 minutes. Finally, serve immediately or cool to room temperature and store in the fridge for later use.
1 Tbsp Harmonic Arts 5 Mushroom Blend (or medicinal mushrooms of choice)
1 Tbsp Harmonic Arts Sea Veg Blend
1 twig fresh Rosemary
2 twigs fresh thyme
1 handful fresh parsley
1 handful fresh dill
1 tsp caraway seeds
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 small zucchini
1 green onion, roughly chopped
½ head garlic, roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots roughly chopped
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 tsp peppercorns
1 purple top turnip, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery
2 bay leaves
Handful beet green stalks
1 piece fresh turmeric (or 1 tsp dried)
10 cups water
First bring stock ingredients to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer on the stovetop for 1½–2 hours (or bring to full pressure in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes). Finally, strain vegetables and reserve stock.