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Beet Soup

Above is a beet soup made with grated beets and no greens and below it a beet soup with julienne sliced beets and greens. Same recipe, but different beet prep. The recipe makes about 4 1/2 quarts.

I have made many variations of beet soup, also known as borsht. Borsht is a Russian soup that’s a mixture of vegetables including beets, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and possibly other veggies. The bright color of beets gets muted when cooked with other vegetables, so I like to make this beet soup with only beets, tomatoes and some onion in a vegetable broth with added spices. It’s really so simple. 

And the big surprise is that this beet soup tastes delish hot or cold! Cold soup in the summer is so refreshing! 

We had dinner in Chicago at the Russian Tea Time. It’s much more than a tea room. Their menu is full of hearty Eastern European fare! Their borsht was a beautiful red of grated beets and carrots which inspired me to develop this recipe for Beet Soup! 

Ingredients

8 medium to large beets

8-16 cups vegetable or chicken stock, low salt if possible if using store bought stock. Stock is better than broth! Better Than Bouillon is good too. Use 8 cups water to make a thicker heartier soup. Use 16 cups water makes a lighter soup, my preference

2 – 28 oz cans diced tomatoes in juice, not sauce!

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

5 large bay leaves

8 large cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

10 whole allspice or more

10 whole coriander seeds or more

1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes. This adds a fair amount of heat. Use less if you don’t want it hot.

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 small bunch fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried dill, but fresh is much better

Salt if desired

Instructions

  • Trim off stems and leaves from beets. Reserve the stems. Use the leaves to make a Beet Salad. Look up my recipe. Or cut the greens in julienne strips and add to the soup at the very end.
  • Wash the stems and cut them into 1/2 –  1 inch lengths. Set aside.

  • Soak beets in water and scrub clean.
  • Peel beets with a vegetable peeler. Grate them with a food processor or Kitchen Aid attachment or slice and then cut into julienne strips. Set aside in a bowl.
  • Meanwhile, in a large 12 quart stock pot, heat the stock. 
  • Add onion and tomatoes to the stock.
  • Add bay leaves, garlic, allspice, coriander, and hot pepper flakes. Cover and bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. 
  • Add the beets and stems to the soup. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 10 minutes.

Here is the beet soup made with julienne strips of beets and the greens

  • Add sugar, red wine vinegar, and dill. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. 
  • Add greens if you like. 
  • Cool and store in the frig for a full 24 hours so the flavors meld. 
  • Float sour cream or plain yogurt on each bowl if you like. But you’ll lose some of the bright red color! This is traditional, but not necessarily always used.
  • Or serve it ice cold in the summer!
  • Voila!

This beet soup is made with julienne strips of beets and the greens.



Empty bowls of beet soup offer a beautiful color that’s even pleasing to look at!

Beet Greens Salad


I love to make borsht or beet soup, but I don’t always want to add the beet greens to the soup. And greens still attached to the root vegetable are so very fresh! Beet greens are a great source of calcium which we need to treat and prevent osteoporosis. And they are full of antioxidants!

 This is quick and simple. Serve it cold as a salad or hot as a vegetable. Both are prepared the same.

  • Cut the leaves and stems from the beets
  • Wash well in water and drain
  • Place greens on a cutting board 

Beet greens quickly cool down in ice water

  • Cut off the stems and reserve for soup if you like, or use them here. Cut the stems in 1 inch or bite size pieces.
  • Cut the greens into 3 inch sections, perpendicular to the stems
  • Heat on the stove a large pot with 1/4 cup water
  • Place greens into the hot water
  • Toss greens a few seconds until slightly wilted.
  • Remove from pot with a slotted spoon
  • Place in a large container of ice water for 5 – 10 seconds or until cooled
  • Lift greens out of the water with your hands or slotted spoon and drain in a colander
  • To prepare the salad place 1/2 – 1 cup of the greens on a small plate
  • Drizzle over the greens good quality olive oil and white balsamic vinegar
  • Sprinkle with flaked sea salt
  • Voila! Your salad is ready
  • You can heat this in the microwave if you would like to serve hot.
  • Greens cook done a lot, so plan on 3 – 4 cups of raw greens serving one person.

If you let this sit in the frig, some of the red color will bleed. You can add this to the serving plate if you want more red color.