Cold beetroot soup is something that will always scream summer to me. Beetroot soup, also known as borscht soup, is a dish that has so many variations. Some borscht recipes use tomatoes and typically have a sour component to them, usually in the form of sour cream. Growing up my mom always made beetroot soup with beef bones but vegetarian borscht soup is a breeze. Cold borscht was made to be vegan – it makes for a beautiful, clean red broth! Cold beetroot soup is perfect for hot weather because it cools you off like no other. Vegan borscht is refreshing, simple to make and light enough not to slow you down. I like a bowl with a green salad or grilled vegetables for a small dinner or I have my chilled borscht with a few boiled baby potatoes and salted cucumber slices.
So we’ve established that cold beetroot soup is the perfect summertime soup and it’s the perfect vegan soup. Now the only question is how to make borscht. Again there are so many different variations. Borscht is a soup that is made all across Eastern Europe and each region does it a little differently. Personally I like my soup quite sour, with ample beetroot and tops, cabbage and dill. Simple is better for a chilled soup because you want a bright crisp flavor. For my hot borscht soup I use more seasonings because you’ll need a more developed tasting broth when the soup is warm. For chilled soup keep it simple, otherwise the soup will taste bland and the flavors will get muddled. Kind of counter intuitive but trust me.
The cook time isn’t too long. That’s good for keeping your house cool! I don’t add the dill and vinegar until about halfway through cooking to keep their flavors in tact. This soup is a great detox soup. Cabbage is fantastic for detoxifying your skin in particular. Like most Brassica vegetables (broccoli & brussel sprouts are a few others) cabbage contains quite a bit of sulphur which increases cell permeability. This means the bad gunk gets drawn out of your skin quicker than normal. Cabbage and beets also contain large amounts of fiber and vitamin C. Beets are also high in carotenoids. Carotenoids give beets their pretty reddish pink colors and give your borsch a dose of antioxidants. For extra detoxing power I stir in a spoonful of raw sauerkraut just before digging in for its tangy flavor and probiotics. Enjoy your tasty, cooling bowl of pink goodness!
Cold Beetroot Soup (Borscht)
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 3 small beets including stems and leaves
- 1/2 small cabbage
- 8 cups vegetable stock, water or a combination of both
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 fresh dill loosley packed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Chop onion, beetroot, beet stems and greens and cabbage into small slices, about 1/4" across. Reserve beet greens and cabbage. Add onion and beetroot to a stock pot over medium heat with 2 tbsp vegetable broth. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cabbage, vegetable stock and salt and pepper and bring up to a rolling boil. Once boiling reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar and dill and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Serve chilled. Add additional dill before serving as garnish if desired.