Christmas is now well over and we’re all stuffed and chunky I suppose! So now is time for some healthy dishes. Having said that though, there is a Christmas classic (well for Eastern Europe definitely!) that I always love making again and again in winter time (especially at freezing times like this!) and that’s the wonderful and heart-warming borscht or beet soup; it’s healthy, nutritious and tastes like pure bliss on a cold day! (Plus you get the opportunity of giving your loved ones a health scare the next day they go to the loo… priceless! :D)
Now to the recipe… For my version, I use no meat and instead of the usual beans and cabbage, I put in green beans and Brussels sprouts; it looks prettier with a bit more green, don’t you think? 🙂 I love beetroot and also Brussels sprout which has a bad rep everywhere, so this is a great way to use them and feed your family the healthy way!
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- This is a vegan version of the recipe, but feel free to use whatever stock you prefer (we won’t judge, promise). The traditional recipe uses beef stock and sausage meat (fried with the onions at the beginning).
- I prefer to cook my own beets from fresh and then use the juice in the recipe (step 1), but you could use pre-cooked beets from the supermarkets. In that case, skip the first step and just add a bit more water to the soup when you add the stock. If you decide to go down that route, here’s a warning from a Polish friend of mine: it might not be red enough! 😀 (you can cheat with beet concentrate which you can buy in Eastern European food shops)
- Remember to ALWAYS use disposable gloves when handling beets as they stain!
- As a garnish, dill is used. You can use fresh or dried, it’s entirely up to you.
- chefs knife and chopping board
- disposable gloves (highly recommended for handling beetroot)
- 1 small pan (for the beets if cooking from fresh)
- 1 large pan
- jug for the stock (I make my own, that’s why!)
- 450g beetroot (if using pre-cooked, just dice them into cubes)
- 2 tbsp vegetable/rapeseed oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 4 tomatoes, chopped (could use chopped tomatoes from the tin/pack)
- 400g green beans
- 400g Brussels sprout
- 2 large carrots, grated (about 200g)
- 1.5 litre vegetable stock
- 3 tbs red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- to serve: 30g fresh dill, chopped (or 2 tsp dried dill)
- Wash the beets, chop the top and the bottom off. Place in a pan and cover with cold water. Place on medium heat and allow to come to a simmer. Put the lid on, reduce the heat and cook for 40 minutes until cooked. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Reserve the juice, discard the skin of the beets and set everything aside.
- In a large pan over medium heat, pour in the oil. When hot, add the onions and sweat them for 5 minutes until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and stir. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the beetroot, green beans, sprouts and carrots, stir well. Once fully mixed, add stock (should cover everything, so if not enough add more water/stock) and bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat. Cook for 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add vinegar/lemon juice and season to taste.
Serve hot and garnish with some dill.