Vegan Roasted Beet & Balsamic Borscht

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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This is a really easy & fresh & light dish.  It will likely render your kitchen a crime scene so be sure to wear an apron.  Most borscht is vegan so that isn’t really of note here – but I thought I’d point it out.  I topped mine with Greek yogurt.  You could use a vegan alternative or sour cream or creme fraiche.  Or nothing.  If you do not add any creamy element – this is a guiltless soup.  The only thing in it with any calories worth talking about is a little olive oil but this make a lot of soup so the amount that ends up in a serving is very low.  You could lower it further by boiling the beets rather than roasting them but I think roasting adds a nice flavor.  This can be served hot or cold, too, which is a nice option to have.  I pureed the bulk of the soup & reserved a few cubes of beets for texture.  You could leave it chunky or puree it completely.  Your call!


Vegan Roasted Beet & Balsamic Borscht

4 HUGE beets (or 10-12 small ones) – halved or quartered

4 carrots – chopped

4 celery stalks – chopped

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

2 bay leaves

6 cups vegetable stock

2 tsp Marmite (optional)

1 TBS good quality balsamic vinegar

olive oil


fresh dill – as garnish

Greek yogurt (or vegan option or sour cream or creme fraiche) for garnish



Toss the beets in a bit of olive oil & salt & pepper liberally.  Roast on a foil-lined pan at 400 degrees for about an hour – or until easily pierced with a fork.  Set aside to cool.


Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a large stock pot.  Saute the onion, celery & carrots over medium heat for about ten minutes or until they soften.  Add the bay leaves & garlic and saute another 2-3 minutes.  Add the stock & the marmite (if using) & simmer over medium-low heat.


Peel half the beets & reserve the skins.  Cube the peeled beets and set aside.


Chop the other half of the beets coarsely.   Add the skins & unpeeled beets to the soup pot.   Simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves & discard.  I used an immersion blender & pureed the soup.  You can do this in batches in a blender but be careful you do not get burned & be more careful that you don’t splatter magenta soup everywhere.


Once pureed to your liking – add the reserved cubed beets & stir in the balsamic vinegar.  Season with S&P.

To serve – garnish liberally with yogurt (or whatever you are using) and lots & lots of dill.  Eat it up!  Then curse the inevitable pink splatter you find in your kitchen hours after you were sure you cleaned the last of it.