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Vegetarian Borscht

By , from the Culinate Kitchen collection
Serves 8 to 10
Total Time 1½ hours


Recently a friend shared her bounty of garden vegetables — beets, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage — which inspired me to make borscht. The recipe I followed (adapted from an old issue of Saveur) was not as good as I remembered, until I tinkered with it. The Spanish paprika heightens both the color and flavor, adding an element of je ne sais quoi.


~ Olive or vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks with leaves, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 large (about 4 cups) beets, peeled and chopped
½ medium cabbage, thinly sliced
7 cups water
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, chopped, with juice
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. sweet Spanish paprika
½ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
1 tsp. honey
~ Juice of ½ lemon
~ Salt and pepper
~ Sour cream, for garnish


  1. Pour enough oil into a large stockpot to cover the bottom. Over medium-low heat, sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add carrots, celery, garlic, beets, and cabbage. Cover and cook, lowering heat if necessary, until tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put the water and potatoes, with a generous pinch of salt, in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the potato-cooking water.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, bay leaf, paprika, two-thirds of the chopped dill, honey, and lemon juice to the stockpot. Stir to combine, then add the potatoes and the potato-cooking water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the flavors are combined and all the vegetables are tender.
  4. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice if you like. To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls and top each with a dollop of sour cream and the remaining chopped dill.

This content is from the Culinate Kitchen collection.

There are 4 comments on this item
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0% recommend this recipe
1. by heidirobb on Dec 7, 2007 at 9:19 AM PST

My “je ne sais quois” is the addition of some ground cloves - which might work in tandem with the Spanish paprika, I do think.

2. by Carrie Floyd on Dec 7, 2007 at 12:44 PM PST

I just tasted the most delicious pickled beets—seasoned with cloves. Next time I make borscht, I’m going to add a pinch of ground cloves, too. Thanks for the suggestion!

3. by heidirobb on Dec 11, 2007 at 8:25 AM PST

Oooh, please do find the recipe for the pickled beets!

4. by Carrie Floyd on Nov 15, 2013 at 1:54 PM PST

On Culinate: Simple Pickled Beets.

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