Vegan Borscht - everything you wanted to know about making this classic Ukrainian Soup. Picky kids approved, healthy recipe that won't skimp on flavor. I make this easy Red Borscht every week and I'm confident you'll love it too.
I know a thing or two about making Vegan Borscht.
I'm Ukrainian and this red beet soup is literally a symbol of Ukrainian cuisine.
When I lived in Ukraine, a hearty homemade Borscht was constantly on our weekly rotation. Probably, even more often than that.
After I switched to a plant-based diet, Borscht was the easiest thing to "veganize".
This simple soup features so many good-for-you vegetables and beans that it absolutely doesn't need a meat.
It's a hearty soup that you can serve as a standalone meal.
But before we go into all the details on how to make the best Vegan Borscht, let me get this straight.
If you hear someone saying they make an authentic Borsch recipe, don't ever believe that person and walk away.
Well, I'm kidding of course, but do you know that every respectable Ukrainian homemaker will claim her Borsch is authentic?
It always funny to read Ukrainian/Russian cooking forums where all ladies fight till they prove their Borscht is the most authentic one.
Here, I'm not going to claim my vegan Borscht is authentic. Because the truth is - no one knows a truly authentic recipe.
There are certain ingredients that you must absolutely use in order to call it Borscht, but other than that every homemaker has her own spin on this hearty and delicious soup.
Is my Borsch delicious?
You betcha. In fact, my vegan Borscht is the only recipe you need.
Believe me if I say I tried countless of Borsch recipes and I many of these recipes at home.
But the version that I'm giving you today is my favorite.
Why This Recipe Works
- I've been making it for years. It's a hundred times tried, tested and perfected;
- my vegan Borscht features simple ingredients, you might already have them in your pantry;
- it's healthy. One bowl of my Borscht will keep you full and satisfied for hours;
- the recipe includes a few easy but important tips from my mom. They're sure to make your Borscht even more delicious;
Here's an overview of the specific ingredients for this recipe. For the exact ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card below.
- Flour is used to thicken the mixture of sauteed vegetables. It's what my mom taught me to do long time ago and I've been adding flour ever since. The quantity of flour is very small but in the end it will make your Borscht just slightly thicker and will almost bind the ingredients together. I use a regular all-purpose flour, but you can replace it with gluten-free flour;
- Sugar is used to balance out the acidity in my vegan Borscht and intensify the taste of it; Again, this is what my mom taught me. You'll need just a teaspoon of sugar. I used coconut sugar, but you can use brown sugar, organic cane sugar, Maple syrup or skip this ingredient if you want;
- Vinegar and lemon juice. The first ingredient is used to add some acidity to Borscht. The second ingredient which is lemon juice (not pictured on the photo) is used at the every end to make Borscht "just right". It's a final step in the whole process where you adjust the seasoning and also making sure it has a good level of acidity. You can actually skip the vinegar and use lemon juice in both instances;
- Broth. So, my vegan Borscht is loaded with vegetable. Because of that, broth is not mandatory. You can absolutely make it with water. If I have time, I'll make vegetable broth, if not, I'll use water and my Borscht will still be delicious.
1. Start off with cooking the beets for Borscht. Wash and cut beets in half. Place a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water and steam beets on a medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Remove beets with the tongs and cool down. Using a paper towel peel the skin and shred the beets on a large hole grater.
2. While you cook the beets, heat olive oil in a large pot and over medium heat. Add onion and carrot and cook stirring occasionally until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, slice the cabbage. Using a long knife or a mandoline slicer, thinly slice the cabbage.
4. Sprinkle flour over the sauteed vegetables and stir for one minute. Add cabbage, sugar, vinegar, tomato paste and 1 cup of vegetable broth. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes.
5. Increase heat to medium, add cubed potatoes and the remaining 5 cups of vegetable broth. Stir, bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
6. Add shredded beets, kidney beans with all their liquid, salt and pepper. Cook until potatoes are soft, about 5-10 more minutes.
7. Turn off the heat, adjust the seasoning and add lemon juice, garlic pushed through a garlic press and fresh dill. Enjoy with vegan sour cream!
💭 Expert tips
Now, here are a few things worth mentioning about vegan Ukrainian Borscht.
1. I strongly recommend you making a big pot of it. It is so good, you want to eat today, tomorrow and perhaps even the day after tomorrow.
A good, heavy-duty Dutch-oven is your friend.
In Ukraine, homemakers usually make huge pot of vegetarian Borsch and eat it the whole week and I'm not kidding.
2. Borscht always - always tastes even better on the next day.
Since it has many ingredients, over night they meld and merry together to create an ultimate Ukrainian comfort dish, full of aroma and taste.
This is the truth my friend, which brings us to the first point - make a big pot of it so that you can enjoy this yummy Ukrainian Red Borsch or Cabbage Borscht with vegan "Smetana" (sour cream in Ukrainian) several days in a row.
3. You can also make Borscht in your crockpot. Here's my Slow-Cooker Borscht recipe that I make very often. It's a tad different from this recipe but still very delicious.
📖 Frequently Asked Questions
We can say so. Historically, the major ingredients of Borscht have always been beets and cabbage. All other ingredients depended on the wealth of the household.
So if the family was poor, Borscht consisted of vegetables only. To add some richness, a homemaker would make "zazharka" (onion and carrot sauteed in oil) or "salo" (cured pork fat) and add it to Borscht.
When Borscht was served for special occasions or holidays, women would make it with meat, mostly with beef.
Despite many debated over the origin of Borscht, it is nevertheless considered an authentic Ukrainian dish. Russian most popular soup is Shchi which main ingredient is cabbage.
Borscht is believed to be an adaptation of Shchi but with the addition of beets.
It tastes like a very hearty and rich savory soup with a lot of texture. Beets and tomatoes contribute to a slight sweetness of vegan Borscht. Lemon juice adds acidity which balances out the sweetness.
Some Borscht recipes call for sautéing the cabbage in sour cream. In that case, the Borscht will have a noticeably creamy aftertaste.
Absolutely. The amount of vegetables that go into Borscht, make this soup healthy, wholesome and suitable for anyone who tries to eat clean.
Usually, vegan Borcht is served with rye bread, garlic cloves and/or green onions. If you want to make it even richer, serve it with a dollop of vegan sour cream.
Some vegan recipes call for making your own cashew sour cream. Unless, you already have it in your refrigerator, I wouldn't bother with making it. Borscht tastes absolutely delicious on its own.
♨️ Storing Tips
Vegan Borscht should be stored in the airtight container or the same pot where it was cooked in the refrigerator. Properly stored it will keep fresh for 4-5 days.
🍲 Similar Recipes
If you make this recipe, please leave a comment below and star rating in a recipe cad. I always appreciate a feedback. Leave me a comment below and rate it. Also, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
Vegan Borscht Recipe
Click on the highlighted links to purchase the ingredients.
- 2 medium beets
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely minced
- 1 large carrot peeled shredded
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour replace with GF flour if you want
- 1 ½ c cabbage
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar replace with Maple syrup, brown sugar or omit
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp Balsamic or Apple Cider Vinegar
- 6 cups vegetable broth or water
- 3 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
- 1 can kidney beans undrained
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 5 cloves garlic
- ¼ c dill chopped
- 6 tbsp vegan sour cream for serving, optional
- Wash and cut beets in half. Place a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water and steam beets on a medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Remove beets with the tongs and cool down.* (See the notes about the alternative method)Using a paper towel peel the skin and shred the beets on a large hole grater.
- Heat olive oil in a large Dutch Oven and over medium heat. Add onion and carrot and cook stirring occasionally until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, slice the cabbage. Using a long knife or a mandoline slicer, thinly slice the cabbage.
- Sprinkle flour over the sauteed vegetables and stir for one minute. Add cabbage, sugar, vinegar, tomato paste and 1 cup of vegetable broth. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes.
- Increase heat to medium, add cubed potatoes and the remaining 5 cups of vegetable broth. Stir, bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add shredded beets, kidney beans with all their liquid, salt and pepper. Cook until potatoes are soft, about 5-10 more minutes.
- Turn off the heat, adjust the seasoning (add more salt or pepper if you need to). Add lemon juice, garlic pushed through a garlic press and dill.
- Serve vegan Borscht with a dollop of vegan sour cream.
- Cooking beets. You can also roast the beets. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Wrap each beet in a foil and roast until tender when pierced with a knife, about 50-60 minutes, depending on a size. Alternatively, If you own a slow cooker with a steam function, you can fill the bowl of a slow cooker with 2 cups of water, place the steaming rack inside and steam beets for 15 minutes or until tender.
- I strongly recommend you making a big pot of Borscht. It is so good, you want to eat today, tomorrow and perhaps even the day after tomorrow. A good, heavy-duty Dutch-oven is your friend. In Ukraine, homemakers usually make huge pot of Borsch and eat it the whole week and I'm not kidding.
- Borscht always - always tastes even better on the next day. Since it has many ingredients, over night they meld and merry together to create an ultimate Ukrainian comfort dish, full of aroma and taste. So if you try Borscht on the next time, you'll be amazed at how rich it tastes.