Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook: Borscht Recipe

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Category : October, Recipes, Soups, Vegetarian

BorschtFor a sample of Debra Daniels Zeller’s work in The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook: 200 Recipes That Celebrate the Flavors of Oregon and Washington (see my review of this cookbook), this Borscht recipe is reprinted by permission from the book. There were a few ingredients which were not local, so I’ve added notes about adaptations I made to substitute local ingredients. The results were both lovely and delectable. The surprising (to me) use of potato to thicken the beet soup gave it a smooth, creamy texture without the use of cream. Give it a try! 

Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook: Borscht Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe reprinted by permission from The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook by Debra Daniels Zeller; adapted for local ingredients by Whatcom Locavore.
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or safflower oil (I used butter homemade with cream from Fresh Breeze Organic Dairy, Lynden)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (Full Bloom Farm, Lummi Island)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced (Boxx Berry Farm, Ferndale)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (I didn't have local celery, so I used daikon radish from my home garden, Lummi Island)
  • 1 or 2 carrots, diced (home garden, Lummi Island)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste (I used 2 home canned Roma tomatoes, crushed, from Terra Verde Garden, Everson)
  • 5 cups water or vegetable stock (or half of each)
  • 3 cups sliced beets, tops removed, not peeled (Terra Verde Garden, Everson)
  • ½ Tbsp chopped fresh dill or ½ tsp dried (Boxx Berry Farm, Ferndale)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper (I used a tiny pinch of habanero pepper powder from a friend's garden, Lummi Island)
  • 1 medium baked potato, skin removed (Full Bloom Farm, Lummi Island)
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (I used apple cider vinegar from BelleWood Acres, Lynden)
  • Zest from 1 lemon, finely chopped (I omitted this)
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp sugar (I used 2 tsp honey, Red Barn Lavender, Ferndale)
  • sour cream or plain yogurt (optional) (yogurt from Grace Harbor Farms, Custer)
  • Parsley sprigs (omitted)
  1. Heat a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil and onion, stir, cover and sweat the onions until soft. Add the garlic, celery, and carrots, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the tomato paste and mix well, continuing to cook for another minute or so.
  2. Gradually add the water or stock, beets, and dill. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Puree 1 cup of the soup with the potato, lemon juice, and zest. Stir back into the soup pot along with sugar to taste. Adjust the seasonings. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt if desired. Garnish each serving with a parsley sprig.


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