Recipe: This vegetarian borscht may be the prettiest soup you serve all winter

Sally Pasley Vargas for the Boston Globe

Vegetable borscht

By Sally Pasley Vargas Globe Correspondent 

Serves 10

Beets may be the foundation of borscht, a hearty sweet-and-sour bowl commonplace in Eastern European cuisines, but there is much more to it than a single vegetable. Root vegetables like celery root and rutabaga are also common in the pot, as are potatoes and thinly sliced cabbage. In this multi-vegetable version you don’t need stock or meat for a full flavor. Use yellow or red beets or a combination for the prettiest soup you may eat this winter. Serve with sour cream and brown bread, and you have a filling supper for a frigid winter evening.

2tablespoons olive oil
1large onion, chopped
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
3carrots, diced
3stalks celery, diced
1small (1 pound) celery root, cut into ½-inch dice
1small (12 ounces) rutabaga, cut into ½-inch dice
5small (1 pound) red or yellow beets, cut into ½-inch dice
1can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
½small head green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
2tablespoons tomato paste
3tablespoons red wine vinegar, or more to taste
4teaspoons sugar, or more to taste
2teaspoons salt, or to taste
8cups water
Black pepper, to taste
Sour cream (for garnish)
Freshly snipped dill (for garnish)

1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.


2. Add the celery root, rutabaga, beets, tomatoes, cabbage, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, salt, and water. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, and lower the heat.

3. Simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Taste for seasoning and add more vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper, if you like. Serve with a spoonful of sour cream and some snipped fresh dill. Sally Pasley Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas can be reached at