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BORSH – TotalBodyLab


Russian food stew vegan soup

Someone called me out for not having enough Russian recipes on the blog. Fair.

Catch this: one of my favorite Russian foods EVER = BORSH!

Sharing the original family recipe to honor my grandmothers: Rita, Nina, and Inna.

Borsh is a beet and cabbage soup/stew which is very flavorful and nutritious. We eat it hot in the winter and sometimes cold in the summer.


Ingredients :

  • 2 medium beets (diced into small cubes, or coarsely shredded)
  • 2-4 medium potatoes (you can skip them if you want, and it will taste the same!)
  • 1-3 carrots (coarsely shredded)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 small can of tomato paste (6 oz I think)
  • 3-10 cloves fresh garlic, minced (you can cook without it, but I LOVE GARLIC and always add as much as possible)
  • 45 oz water (depends on how thick you want the soup. I like mine on a thinner side, so I fill the pot halfway with water and the 2nd half of the volume would be the ingredients.)
  • ½ medium-small cabbage (diced into ½”-¾” cube slices)
  • Protein (optional) = 1.5 cups TVP if vegan, or 1 lb beef per original Grandma's recipe
  • salt and pepper, bay leaf - to taste
  • fresh lemon juice or white vinegar (I prefer lemon juice)
  • vegetable oil (I use extra virgin olive oil, but it doesn’t matter really)
  • sour cream (I hate sour cream - vegan or not, and I never add it. It makes the soup taste more creamy, and is pretty much unnoticeable after you add it, so this is optional)
  • fresh dill and parsley for topping



Salt and pepper the cold water, add 3-5 bay leaves and TVP / beef and turn the heat on medium-high.

If are using potatoes, peel if desired and add to the pot. Wash the beets but to not peel, add to the pot.

Bring to a boil and cook until beets and potatoes are tender all the way through ( 30-40 min).

While veggies are boiling, coarsely shred carrots and dice an onion. Throw that on a medium heat pan to simmer with some olive oil, salt n pepper until onions are translucent / slightly golden. You can cover with the lid or not, depending how crunchy you want the onions. I usually cover to make sure they don’t burn.

5-10 min in, stir in the tomato paste and a splash of water if necessary and simmer a little more (5-10 min). Turn the skillet heat off and let the carrot-onion flavors mix n' mingle while you’re dealing with the beets and potatoes.

Take the beets out of the pot, cool them (a bowl of ice water would work - so you don't burn your fingers), peel and shred on the same coarse grinder as carrots. Add back to the soup. Take potatoes out, lightly mash to make sure there are no chunks larger than a teaspoon and add back to the soup. Add carrots and onion mix to the soup, and more raw garlic if you want (YESSS MORE GARLIC <3 I always add). Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper to taste. Cover soup and boil for a few more minutes. Turn the heat off and let sit.


Ideally, this is made in the morning, then the pot gets wrapped up into a blanket and is cooling very slowly until dinner. When the soup is cooled a little, add 1 tbsp of lemon juice if desired.

My grandma usually gave the beef to the dogs because it was just used for the broth. If you've been using TVP from the beginning - good job :) Nothing to throw away, your soup has no saturated fat and plenty of protein. Win. Alternatively, cook up some TVP / seitan on the side and add on top of the ready-made dish. That's what I do when time allots.

Ladle into serving bowls, and garnish with a tablespoon of sour cream (IMHO this is sacrilegious, but again, that's the original recipe), fresh cut dill and parsley. Serve with dark rye bread, fresh garlic cloves and a large shot of vodka!


p.s. It will taste better the next day. Hope you like it!

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