plant fuel, Vegan Slow-Carb Diet

Borscht with Tofu Sour Cream

So, last week’s Foodshare stash had beets in it for maybe the second or third time ever. To be honest, the infrequency is fine by me, since they’re generally not a source of inspiration. After a week passed of them sitting in the fridge, though, I felt I had to do something with them in the spirit of “waste not, want not.” So I Googled “beets recipes” and up came several Borscht recipes in the results.

Borscht, if you’re unfamiliar, is a Russian beet soup with variations throughout Eastern Europe, which means that it’s pretty flexible as long as the criteria of “beets” and “soup” are met. You can Google it for yourself and instantly know as much as I do about Borscht as of this posting. Anyhoo…

Instinct told me that the recipe on Epicurious was the simplest and most reliable recipe to show up first, so I used it as a starting point and made a few tweaks as described below. Win!

Nutritional benefits for vegan runners

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s talk about why Borscht when I could have just roasted the beets in the oven.

So many reasons!

One, beets are high in vitamin C, magnesium and folate, among other things, according to Medical Daily.

Two, carrots (also in the Foodshare stash) are high in beta carotene, which we all know is good for your eyeballs. Ain’t no good running night races or ultras if your headlamp doesn’t make up for your poor eyesight.

Three, onions (also in the stash; is anyone detecting a clean-out-the-fridge theme yet?), a staple in diets the world over, are a source of both vitamin C and the anti-inflammatory compound quercetin. (The link provides info about quercetin supplements, but why pay extra for those if you can just get what you need from your food?)

And last but not least, cabbage. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, the superfood benefits from cabbage alone – high fiber, 54 percent of your daily vitamin C and 85 percent of your daily vitamin K from just one 22-calorie serving – make Borscht and any other recipe featuring cabbage a nutritional slam dunk.

So with no further ado, let’s get to the how!

Here are the ingredients I used for the Borscht and the sour cream:


For the soup

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

5 celery stalks, thinly sliced

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

1 pound carrots, shredded

5 small to medium sized beets, peeled and shredded

6 cups of vegetable broth

Ground sage to taste (optional)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional, but it’s a great vegan source of B-12!)

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/2 head of cabbage, cored and shredded

3 tbsp dried dill or to taste

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

For the sour cream

1 block firm or extra firm tofu, rinsed and patted dry

Juice of one lemon

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Salt to taste


Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a 6 qt pot over medium heat.

Add and sautee the celery and onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, run carrots through a food processor using the shred blade (or grate by hand) and peel the beets.

Add and sautee the shredded carrots, covered, for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, run the peeled beets through a food processor using the shred blade (or grate by hand).

Transfer the cooked veggies to a bowl and add the other tbsp of olive oil to the pot. Add the beets and sautee for a minute or two.

Stir in the broth, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer the beets for two minutes, then add back the cooked veggies and add the shredded cabbage, sage, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, cloves and dill. Stir, cover and cook until all veggies are tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sour cream by blending ingredients in food processor until smooth. Transfer to a small serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Stir vinegar into soup. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with a dollop of the sour cream and a light sprinkling of fresh or dried parsley.

A green salad and/or the bread of your choice will make this a complete meal. So that I could share this with a gluten-sensitive co-worker, I opted for this super-easy chickpea flour bread recipe from Hidden Veggies (sausage variation) with the following tweaks:

  • Double the flour
  • Only 1.25 cups of water for the double batch (the batter will still be relatively thin)
  • 2 tsp baking soda for a lighter, breadier result
  • 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes total.

The chickpea bread is a great nutritional complement to the soup with its additional punch of protein, iron and B-12 (from the nutritional yeast, which I highly recommend using).

So now that autumn (soup weather) is here, give this recipe a try the next time you have beets sitting unloved in your fridge and/or a need to fuel your vegan runner lifestyle with these nutrients!

And if you have made this, let me know how it turned out in the comments below!


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