Thursday, 15 September 2016

Vegetarian borscht

Russian food, Russian recipes, vegetarian soup

Shopping with my Mum is a dangerous thing, she encourages me to spend way too much. We're just back from traipsing through all the main shops in town, as I was looking for a new top. I'm going to London on Saturday to have a master-class on Southern Italian cooking, and I want to look "naice". Rather than buy one top, I bought three in White Stuff, especially that they have a 20% off event today. Did I really need three new tops? Probably not, but I blame my Mum for the shopping spree.
It's been lovely to have Mum staying with us this month, but the time is ticking, and in just over a week she'll be heading back home. We see each other once a year, and try to make the most of it when we are together.
Every time Mum comes for a visit, I ask her to cook some of my favourite dishes. This time Mum offered to cook a vegetarian borscht.

Russian soup recipe

Vegetarian borscht
3tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium carrots
2 medium beets
2 big potatoes
1 small parsnip
1 sweet pepper
1/2 small white cabbage
1/3 green Chinese cabbage
2 tomatoes
2tbsp tomato paste
1 cube of vegetable stock

Chop all the vegetables.

First add the chopped beets to the frying pan with 2tbsp of vegetable oil (sunflower or rapeseed).
Cook on low for about 10-15 minutes, sweating the veg and stirring frequently. This brings the sweetness out, and the beets acquire a deeper flavour.
I have mentioned already in the other borscht recipe posts that you might skip the frying bit and put all the sliced vegetables together, but you won't get the same depth of flavour. Remove the cooked beets and add them to the big cooking pot.
Repeat the process with the chopped carrots, add a bit more oil to the frying pan. Slightly fry them with the finely sliced parsnip and sweet pepper.
Plunge whole tomatoes in the boiling water, then into cold one, so that you can peel them easier. Chop the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to the pan with the tomato paste. Add the chopped cabbage and potatoes as well as the stock cube.
Pour enough water to cover all the veg and about 2cm over. Cook for about 20 minutes.

When cooking a borscht, I like to add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste. Though Cirio is an Italian brand famous for its tomato products, and this is a Russian recipe, Cirio tomato paste is an excellent ingredient for the Russian soup.

If you're an omnivore and don't care much for vegetarian recipes, I have a couple of posts for meat-based borscht which Mum cooks - see Mama's borscht (with chicken) and Mama's borscht with meatballs. Both are delicious.

Russian food recipes

Disclosure: I received a selection of Cirio products for using in recipes.


  1. How lovely to catch up with your mum - and she's a good influence on you, you deserve to treat yourself every now and then :) Lovely recipe too

    1. Thank you Cheryl! I was wearing one of the tops yesterday in London, but had to wear a chef's outfit and an apron on top to work in the kitchen. :)

  2. It is always lovely to catch up with your mum and you definitely deserved to treat yourself. The soup looks lovely. Looking forward to hearing more about the cooking day!