Hearty Vegetarian Borscht

(from kylerhea’s recipe box)

“Most winter borscht is made with beef stock and/or meat bones. This one gets its deep, savory flavor from porcini mushroom broth.”
Advance preparation: You can cook the beets a day or two ahead. Keep them in the refrigerator in the broth. You can make the complete soup a few days ahead; it gets better overnight. Don’t add the parsley until serving.

Source: NYTimes (Martha Rose Shulman)

Serves 6 people

Categories: beets, healthy, soups


  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (about 1 cup)
  • 1 bunch beets (4 medium or 3 large) with greens, the beets peeled and diced, the greens stemmed, washed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound turnips, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • A bouquet garni made with a bay leaf, 10 parsley stems, 6 black peppercorns and 3 allspice berries
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup thickened nonfat plain yogurt


  1. Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour on 1 quart boiling water. Let sit 30 minutes, then strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl. Squeeze the mushrooms over the strainer to extract any remaining flavorful liquid. Rinse the mushrooms thoroughly in several changes of water, and chop.

  2. While the mushrooms are soaking, combine the beets, garlic and 5 cups of water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add a teaspoon of salt and the sugar. Reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir in the vinegar. Strain and set aside the broth.

  3. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until just tender, three to five minutes. Add the turnips, carrots, cabbage, diced beets, the chopped dried mushrooms, the mushroom stock and 2 cups water. Add the bouquet garni and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 40 minutes. Add the chopped beet greens, and simmer another 10 minutes. Stir in the cooking water from the beets. Stir together, add the lemon juice, taste and adjust seasonings. Remove the bouquet garni, heat the soup through, stir in the parsley and serve, garnishing each bowl with a generous spoonful of thickened yogurt.

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