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Festive Beet Borscht

Nava Atlas
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Preparation: 15
  • Cooking: 30
  • Ready: 45

A gorgeous soup of Eastern European origin, noted for its subtle sweetness, borscht is as good (maybe better) served chilled as it is hot.


For the borscht

  • 6 medium beets, peeled and cut into large chunks (see Note)
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 large sweet apple, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, cut into large chunks
  • juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste
  • ¼ cup (50 g) natural granulated sugar or agave syrup, more or less to taste
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup (a handful) minced fresh dill
  • vegan sour cream (see below for homemade, or packaged)

For the homemade vegan sour cream

  • 350 g (12.3 oz) package of extra-firm silken tofu
  • 2- 3 tablespoons unsweetened plant-based milk (as needed)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


To make the borscht

Grate the beets, carrots, apple, and onion in a food processor fitted with the grating blade.

As the work bowl gets filled, transfer the grated ingredients to a large soup pot.

Add enough water to cover the grated ingredients in the pot, then add the lemon juice and salt. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat. Simmer gently with the cover ajar until everything is tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Adjust the consistency with more water if the vegetables are too densely packed. Season with salt and pepper (you can skip the salt if you’d like). Taste and add more lemon juice and/or sugar (or agave if using) to adjust the sweet and tangy balance to your liking.

This is a good soup to make ahead of time. If you’d like to serve it chilled (which is how it really shines), let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, until chilled. To serve hot, heat through as needed before serving.

Just before serving, stir in the dill. Reserve some for garnish, if you’d like. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream.

Note: Peeling raw beets is never fun. Make it somewhat easier by microwaving the beets briefly in a covered container (allowing 2 minutes per beet), then plunging into cold water for a while. Peeling will be much easier, and then they’ll cook more quickly as well.

To make the sour cream

Combine the silken tofu, plant-based milk, lemon juice and salt in a food processor. Process until very smoothly pureed, then transfer to a container with an airtight lid. This keeps well for 3 to 4 days, refrigerated.

Additonal notes

Recipe from Vegan Soups and Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas. Published by Book Publishing Company ©2023. Reprinted by permission.

“Filled with year-round produce, borscht is as good (maybe better) served chilled as it is hot. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s a bit messy to make, I’d put this one on the rotation more regularly! As it is, I most enjoy it on special occasions, such as Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). It’s a favourite to serve for this holiday, noted for its subtle sweetness.”

Vegan Soups and Stews For All Seasons front cover

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