This traditional hearty Eastern European soup is made from vibrant beets—which is what gives it its lovely ruby colour and stains everything in your kitchen pink—and it is the perfect comfort food for a cold night, but equally great if you need a filling and nourishing meal.
Borscht is a nutritious and antioxidant rich soup. Beets are packed full of manganese, potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamin C, and as such is particularly good for reducing water retention and bloating, which many women experience during their menstrual cycle, and for improving blood flow. It's thought to be a good natural remedy for anemia, so it's also great for those eating vegetarian or vegan diets.
Because it is a staple across Eastern Europe, every family—and region—has their own recipe for making borscht. You can add potatoes, celery, mushrooms, carrots, string beans and cabbage —or any veggie you fancy— with a dash of lemon or vinegar, for a filling meal that is the perfect mix of sweet, sour, and earthy. On warmer summer days it can also be eaten chilled. If I'm feeling particularly festive I'll also add a bit of vodka to the borscht, because it gives it a kick and sometimes you've just gotta live on the edge.
Usually eaten with a dollop of sour cream— which when mixed in makes the soup a magenta colour— we made vegan cashew cream instead and it's even better. Garnish with dill, and serve with a thick slice of rye bread.
3 medium beets peeled and grated
4 tbsp olive oil
4 cups vegan chicken broth or vegetable broth + 6 cups water