Borscht with Vegan Sour Cream

Yum…beets!

And this recipe beats them all! I’m sure I’ll be able to fit another beet related pun in here somewhere…

This is a pretty simple recipe that has a ton of flavor, is fairly quick to prepare, and is hearty in the winter months. It’s a slight twist on traditional borscht, which is usually just beets and cabbage and is served cold.

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Soup (45 min serves 4-6)
1 medium onion3 cloves garlic3 red beets3 medium potatoes or turnips (turnips will keep better if you’re storing this for a few days)
3 medium carrots1 bunch dill (about 2 cups chopped and loosely packed)
salt
pepper

Vegan sour cream
½ c silken tofu
1/4 c olive oil

1/4 t citric acid (can use 1 T each of lemon juice and vinegar instead but it will be more liquidy)

 

The key with this recipe is that all the flavor is coming from the beets and dill, which make an excellent combination.

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Cube everything to bite-sized pieces. Start by sauteing onions and garlic on medium low heat. Add beets, carrots and potatoes. The idea is not to brown them as much as to caramelize some of the sugars from the onion and beets. I cover and let cook for about ten minutes, then add the dill. Dry dill is ok if it’s all you have, but the fresh dill makes a difference.

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Cover with water and simmer until the beets are just soft enough to poke with a fork. About 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. I add a small amount of cayenne too because I add cayenne to just about everything I make.

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While it’s cooking, mix all sour cream ingredients in a blender to emulsify. I happened to have granulated citric acid from my bygone cheese making days and this worked perfectly to solve the problem I’ve had with most other recipes that use vinegar and lemon juice, which leaves it to thin.

I was also really excited to get some Indian pink/black salt the other day. I’d been looking for it for months at Wholefoods, reluctant to buy it online. I finally biked across town 4 miles to The Spice & Tea Exchange in Georgetown. Then, the next day I did my weekly grocery shopping and there at Wholefoods, 3 different kinds of pink salt. Grrr….Anyway, I tried it out in the sour cream because I thought it would give it a bit of minerally slickness and slight eggy/creamy flavor (and I was excited to use it). Word to the wise, you don’t need much! It was fine, and I would use it again in the “cream,” but really, just a tiny portion of the regular salt is enough! It did help cover the tofu flavor though. I’ll experiment with different salts and report back.

Serve hot or cold with real, substitute, or imaginary sour cream. The sour flavor is a must for balancing the sweetness of this soup, but if you like it sweet that’s ok too, everyone marches to a different beat.

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