Borscht

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Who invented borscht?

Russia, Poland, and other eastern European nations have strong opinions. I choose to puree this soup into a creamy, smooth soup, but others choose to leave it as a chunky stew. You can also eliminate the beets and add additional potato to make a white version to this soup. Borscht is also delicious served chilled the next day.

Health Benefits of Beets

Beets are a root vegetable packed full of nutrients with very few calories. They are high in vitamins and minerals such as manganese, potassium, and folate.

But they have something in them that is even more impressive. Beets are jam packed with naturally occurring nitrates that the body converts into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a chemical that causes vasodilation and relaxation. After just eating one meal with beets, some studies have shown a short term reduction in blood pressures of 4-10 mmHg.

Nitrates also help to boost athletic performance. When people eat beets, there appears to be a jump in the performance of our mitochondria, the energy producers in our cells. Consumption of beets has been shown to improve tissue oxygenation and athletic ability like cycling.

The color of beets also brings in a dose of pigmented compounds known as betalains which are anti-inflammatory. Betalains protect the kidneys, and may be broad antioxidants in the entire body.

Beets are also very high in fiber, and this can help to optimize digestive health. Beets helps to get the digestive system moving, and can stain the stools red. Don’t worry, you aren’t bleeding it is just the pigments coming out of our body.

Make it a Meal

Create a quick dinner with borscht alongside a fall favorite Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes

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Borscht

Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Yield:4-6 servings

Ingredients

1 medium onion, diced

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 stalk celery, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 medium beets, peeled and diced

4 cups vegetable stock

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups red cabbage, finely chopped

1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegan sour cream

Chopped fresh dill, for serving

Instructions

  1. Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place it over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add beets, and sauté until beets begin to soften, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the stock, tomato paste, cabbage and potato. Raise the heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, until the veggies are tender, 15-20 minutes. You can add more broth or water if you like.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and dill. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Blend soup until smooth with an immersion blender or in batches in a high-powered blender.
  5. Return to stove, and warm through.
  6. Ladle soup into bowls and top with vegan sour cream and fresh dill.

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