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Borscht – Vegan Under Pressure

I cannot claim that it was my idea to add red lentils to this beautiful red beet soup. Christy Morgan, author of Blissful Bites, gave me the idea. I love how it gives the soup more body. Get the freshest beets you can find, ideally with the greens on, which you should cut off immediately and reserve to include in the soup. Both the root and greens stay freshest when stored separately. If you can't find beets with greens, substitute Swiss chard for the greens. (You can also substitute green cabbage for the red cabbage, though the red has more potent antioxidants and looks nicer.) I add the finely diced beet greens to the bowls first and pour the hot soup over to slightly wilt them, but you could also just stir the greens into the hot soup. A dollop of nondairy yogurt adds to the allure, as does lemon zest and juice and smoked salt. You decide how pureed you like this soup. I prefer mine a bit chunky. It's not necessary to peel the beets, as they will puree well either way. This soup freezes well but add the yogurt right before serving.
5 from 1 vote


  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 2 medium carrots diced equal to about 1 cup
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cups finely sliced red cabbage about 1/2 medium head
  • 1 pound beets 2 to 3 medium, ideally with their greens, washed well, roots chopped
  • 1/2 cup red lentils rinsed and picked over
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked or regular salt optional
  • 2 to 3 cups finely chopped beet greens or Swiss chard
  • Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley chives, or dill, for garnish
  • Nondairy yogurt for garnish


  • Heat a stovetop pressure cooker over medium heat or set an electric cooker to sauté. Add the onion and carrots and dry sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the dill, caraway, bay leaves, cabbage, beet roots, lentils, and stock.
  • Lock the lid on the cooker. Bring to high pressure; cook for 8 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. Remove the lid, carefully tilting it away from you.
  • Using a pair of tongs, carefully remove and discard the bay leaves. Using an immersion blender if you have one, puree the soup in the pot to the consistency that you like. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully blend in batches in a regular blender.) Add the lemon zest and juice and smoked salt, if using.
  • Add the beet greens or chard to the soup; or add to individual serving bowls. Spoon the hot soup over the greens. Garnish with herbs and a dollop of nondairy yogurt.


Text excerpted from Vegan Under Pressure, © 2015 by Jill Nussinow. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Photo © Lauren Volo.