Vegan DoukhoborStyle Borscht Soup


Doukhobor Borscht is a really unique and special food from my childhood, so I’m really excited to be able to share this vegan version with you! This borscht is a popular dish served in the Doukhobor communities and cities throughout the Kootenay Region in British Columbia (where I’m originally from) and southern Saskatchewan. The Doukhobors are traditionally vegetarians with an eclectic mix of cultural foods. Many of their dishes are based on Russian and Slavic dishes (like this recipe for borscht) that have been adapted and influenced by the Doukhobors adoption of vegetarianism and exposure to North American food culture. Doukhobor – Wikipedia article

Typically, borscht refers to a bright purple-red beet soup made with cabbage and beef broth which is served cold. Doukhobor borscht is very different from typical borscht, and it is amazing. Unlike most varieties of borscht, Doukhobor borscht is vegetarian, loaded with butter and heavy cream, and always served hot. The beet isn’t a main ingredient, it’s primarily used for colour and then discarded before the soup is served.

My main objective with this recipe was to veganize it without losing the characteristic flavour and creaminess of vegetarian Doukhobor borscht. Once I began to really look at the recipe I decided to try to simplify it too. Making traditional Doukhobor borscht is a notoriously complicated, labour intensive, multi-pot process. You have to pay extremely close attention to the recipe and the steps because many of the ingredients will be split up 2-3 times, prepared differently, and added at different times. While this type of borscht had always been one of my favourite foods, I’d only made it a handful of times because it always felt like such a big undertaking.

Not only was I able to make this soup healthier and vegan, I also made it a lot easier by halving the recipe, combing a few steps, and reducing the amount of pots required to just 2. This borscht still tastes just as good as the original and only takes a little over an hour to make!

I suggest first trying this soup the traditional Doukhobor way using the exact methods and ingredients I’ve suggested. The borscht is best served HOT with fresh bakery bread, Earth Balance butter, and crunchy dill pickles. Feel free to add a dollop of high-quality or homemade vegan sour cream to the center of your bowl.

Gluten free, nut free, soy free, no sugar added, low sugar.

Important notes:

Read through the recipe in it’s entirety before getting started. Wash, prepare, and measure all of your ingredients before getting started with the cooking.

Chill a can of coconut milk overnight in the fridge. When it’s ready to be used turn it upside down, open it, and use only the solid cream from the top. Discard or reserve the liquid for smoothies.

Pay close attention to the ingredient amounts used in each step. Some ingredients, like the 3 cups of cabbage, are split up and used in separate steps (1½ cups are fried in step 3, and the remaining 1½ cups are added to the soup raw, in step 5.)

Make sure to remove any hard center leaves and leaf stems from the cabbage before you begin shredding it. If you don’t remove the stems and hard leaves the cabbage tends to take over and give the soup a mealy texture.

Make sure all of the vegetables are cut into small, uniform pieces (unless otherwise specified.)

Use a high quality vegan margarine or Earth Balance and don’t substitute with other vegetable oils. The buttery flavour of the Earth Balance is integral to this recipe. To make this recipe soy free, use Soy Free Earth Balance.

What You’ll Need

  1. 2 cups (500ml)  diced canned tomatoes, drained (one 28oz. can)
  2. 1/2 cup (125ml) white onion, diced
  3. 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp (90ml) Earth Balance (or high quality vegan margarine)
  4. 10 cups (2500ml) water
  5. 2½-3 tsp (12.5-15ml) salt
  6. 2 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
  7. 1 small beet, peeled
  8. 1/4 cup (60ml) carrots, chopped
  9. 1/4 cup (60ml) celery, chopped
  10. 3 cups green cabbage, de-stemmed and shredded
  11. 1/4 cup (60ml) carrots, grated
  12. 1/2 cup potatoes, peeled and diced
  13. 1/2 cup (125ml) green bell pepper, diced
  14. 1/2 cup (125ml) green onion, sliced
  15. 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
  16. 2/3 cup (160ml) coconut cream (chilled overnight)
  17. 2 tsp sriracha hot sauce

Yield: 2 litres | Serves: 4-6

Supplies: measuring cups & spoons, slotted spoon, bowls, potato masher, wooden spoon, chef’s knife, paring knife, vegetable peeler, cutting board, large frying pan, and a large pot.

Prepping the Ingredients

Begin by draining the canned tomatoes using a fine mesh sieve. Put the sieve into a bowl and allow the tomatoes to continue draining while you prepare the rest of the vegetables. The more water you can remove from the tomatoes, the less time you’ll have to spend simmering them in step 1.

It’s important that all of your vegetables are cut into small, uniform pieces. None of your vegetables should be any larger than a chickpea in size (unless otherwise specified.)

Shredding the cabbage: Begin by peeling off any damaged outer leaves. Lay the cabbage with the stem side up and use your chef’s knife to halve it through the center of the stem. Lay your cabbage halves with the cut sides facing up and remove the stems by making deep v-cuts around each of the stems. Discard the 2 large stem chunks. Begin peeling apart the outer leaves of the cabbage halves, cutting out and discarding the tough stems from individual leaves. Discard the very tough center leaves. Layer the soft, de-stemmed cabbage leaves into a pile and very finely slice them using your large chef’s knife.

Peel the beet and set aside.

Directions

1. In a large pot, bring 10 cups of water to a boil over high heat – as soon as your water comes to a boil skip down to step 2. While you wait for the water to heat up you can begin cooking your tomatoes.

Preheat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is preheated, add 1 tbsp of Earth Balance and 1/4 cup of diced white onion. Cook for about 30 seconds and add the drained tomatoes. Use a potato masher to mash the tomatoes in the pan thoroughly. Simmer over medium-high heat until all of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture becomes thick. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Rinse out your frying pan and place it back on the heat.

2. After your pot of water has come to a boil, add 2½ tsp of salt, the halved potatoes, 1/4 cup of chopped carrot, 1/4 cup chopped celery, the whole beet, and ½ of the simmered tomato mixture from earlier.

3. In the frying pan used in the 1st step, add 1/4 cup of Earth Balance, 1/4 cup white onion, 1/4 cup grated carrots, 1/4 cup green onion, 1/4 cup green pepper, and 1½ cups of shredded cabbage. Sauté until the cabbage is tender and translucent but not browned. Set aside in a separate bowl.

4. Check on the boiling potatoes after they’ve been cooking for 15-20 minutes. When they’re tender, remove them from the soup using a slotted spoon. You’ll know the potatoes are tender when you can easily slide a fork into the center. Mash the potatoes with 1 tbsp of Earth Balance, 1/3 cup of coconut cream, 1/4 cup of green pepper, 1/4 cup of green onion, and 1/3 cup of dill. Set aside.

5. Add 1/2 cup of diced potatoes, 1 1/2 cups of raw shredded cabbage, 2/3 cup of coconut cream, and 2 tsp of sriracha to the pot. Bring to a boil. Stir in the mashed potatoes, the remainder or the tomatoes from step 1, and the fried vegetables from step 3. Bring the soup back to a boil and then reduce to medium-low heat to simmer. Remove the whole beet and discard.

6. Gently simmer the soup over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes. If necessary, add a little bit of water to achieve your desired consistency. The bowl of borscht below shows the ideal consistency of the soup – it’s best served with bread for dipping so you’ll want to make sure there’s a good broth to vegetable ratio. Taste and adjust the salt to your preference, feel free to add some fresh cracked pepper or extra dill. This soup is best served the at least a few hours later or the next day.

Serving

To serve, reheat the soup in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it reaches a simmer. If the soup has thickened overnight, you can add a touch more water. Taste it and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Serve the hot borscht with fresh bread and Earth Balance with some crunchy dill pickles. Add a dollop of vegan sour cream for a creamier bowl, or some extra sriracha for a delicious, spicy broth.

Storage & Reheating

Store for 5 days in the fridge. Reheat in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Thin with water if needed and make any necessary adjustments to the seasonings.

Print

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups (500ml) diced canned tomatoes, drained (one 28oz. can)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) white onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp (90ml) Earth Balance (or high quality vegan margarine)
  • 10 cups (2500ml) water
  • 2½–3 tsp (12.5-15ml) salt
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 1 small beet, peeled
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) celery, chopped
  • 3 cups green cabbage, de-stemmed and shredded
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) green onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) coconut cream (chilled overnight)
  • 2 tsp sriracha hot sauce

Instructions :

  1. Read through the recipe in it’s entirety before getting started. Wash, prepare, and measure all of your ingredients before getting started with the cooking.
  2. Chill a can of coconut milk overnight in the fridge. When it’s ready to be used turn it upside down, open it, and use only the solid cream from the top. Discard or reserve the liquid for smoothies.
  3. Pay close attention to the ingredient amounts used in each step. Some ingredients, like the 3 cups of cabbage, are split up and used in separate steps (1½ cups are fried in step 3, and the remaining 1½ cups are added to the soup raw, in step 5.)
  4. Make sure to remove any hard center leaves and leaf stems from the cabbage before you begin shredding it. If you don’t remove the stems and hard leaves the cabbage tends to take over and give the soup a mealy texture.
  5. Make sure all of the vegetables are cut into small, uniform pieces (unless otherwise specified.)
  6. Use a high quality vegan margarine or Earth Balance and don’t substitute with other vegetable oils. The buttery flavour of the Earth Balance is integral to this recipe. To make this recipe soy free, use Soy Free Earth Balance.
  7. In a large pot, bring 10 cups of water to a boil over high heat – as soon as your water comes to a boil skip down to step 2. While you wait for the water to heat up you can begin cooking your tomatoes. Preheat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is preheated, add 1 tbsp of Earth Balance and 1/4 cup of diced white onion. Cook for about 30 seconds and add the drained tomatoes. Use a potato masher to mash the tomatoes in the pan thoroughly. Simmer over medium-high heat until all of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture becomes thick. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Rinse out your frying pan and place it back on the heat.
  8. After your pot of water has come to a boil, add 2½ tsp of salt, the halved potatoes, 1/4 cup of chopped carrot, 1/4 cup chopped celery, the whole beet, and ½ of the simmered tomato mixture from earlier.
  9. In the frying pan used in the 1st step, add 1/4 cup of Earth Balance, 1/4 cup white onion, 1/4 cup grated carrots, 1/4 cup green onion, 1/4 cup green pepper, and 1½ cups of shredded cabbage. Sauté until the cabbage is tender and translucent but not browned. Set aside in a separate bowl.
  10. Check on the boiling potatoes after they’ve been cooking for 15-20 minutes. When they’re tender, remove them from the soup using a slotted spoon. You’ll know the potatoes are tender when you can easily slide a fork into the center. Mash the potatoes with 1 tbsp of Earth Balance, 1/3 cup of coconut cream, 1/4 cup of green pepper, 1/4 cup of green onion, and 1/3 cup of dill. Set aside.
  11. Add 1/2 cup of diced potatoes, 1 1/2 cups of raw shredded cabbage, 1/3 cup of coconut cream, and 2 tsp of sriracha to the pot. Bring to a boil. Stir in the mashed potatoes, the remainder or the tomatoes from step 1, and the fried vegetables from step 3. Bring the soup back to a boil and then reduce to medium-low heat to simmer. Remove the whole beet and discard.
  12. Gently simmer the soup over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes. If necessary, add a little bit of water to achieve your desired consistency. The bowl of borscht below shows the ideal consistency of the soup – it’s best served with bread for dipping so you’ll want to make sure there’s a good broth to vegetable ratio. Taste and adjust the salt to your preference, feel free to add some fresh cracked pepper or extra dill. This soup is best served the at least a few hours later or the next day.
  13. To serve, reheat the soup in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it reaches a simmer. If the soup has thickened overnight, you can add a touch more water. Taste it and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  14. Serve the hot borscht with fresh bread and Earth Balance with some crunchy dill pickles. Add a dollop of vegan sour cream for a creamier bowl, or some extra sriracha for a delicious, spicy broth.

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