by Esther Boateng
The first time I made soup from scratch, I had a light bulb moment. Ah, so this is what I’m missing out on. Like most people, I like to prepare convenient, fuss-free food. Since discovering how easy, cost-efficient and tasty homemade soups can be, I no longer buy bland, shelf-stable tins of soup. I’m confident that you will also feel the same after you try this Borscht recipe. It’s nutritious, delicious, and not at all suspicious, despite its exotic name.
With slightly warmer days ahead of us, you might be looking to lighten the load on your plate. Perhaps home made soups, broths and salads seem more appealing, even those with foreign sounding names such as Borscht. Fear not, although it has a unique name, I can assure you, this nutrient dense soup will do wonders for your circulation, help regulate blood pressure, and promote clearer thinking.
Although Borscht is typically considered a Ukrainian delicacy, Swedish and Russian people also have a history of eating this soup. No doubt, recipes vary from country to country, but they share a common ingredient, beetroots, which are essentially sugars mixed with structured water, minerals and phytochemicals. ‘Phyto’ refers to the Greek word for plant. The chemicals help to protect plants from things like bugs, fungi, and other threats.
The distinctly strong and earthy taste of beetroot is undeniable; some love it, others loathe it. Whether it’s your idea of food “heaven” or “hell,” one thing is certain, this vibrantly colored root vegetable is packed with phytonutrients. Other plant-based foods like grains, nuts, beans and teas also contain phytonutrients. Consuming a variety of these foods can help prevent disease and keep our body working properly.
Abundant in nutrients like copper, folate, and manganese, beetroots are also rich in vitamin A, and provide a good source of fiber, which promotes good digestion and healthy bowels. Beets also contain naturally high levels of nitrates, which our body converts into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels, so organs get more blood and perform better. Beets are probably one of the best naturally occurring blood tonics, due to their inherent ability to regulate blood pressure. A PubMed study shows healthy men experience lower blood pressure when they consume beetroot juice as part of their regular diet.
Sometimes I add beetroot powder to water or a smoothie, and drink it before a workout. Otherwise, I prefer to consume beetroots - and other veggies - as part of a warm meal. If you choose to make the Instant Borscht recipe, you avoid the hassle of stained fingers by the betalain pigments, which some people use as a natural dye. I’m not adventurous enough to use the pigment in beetroot to dye my hair or clothes, but I’m sure they work well for such purposes. I’m more inclined to use beet powder for say, a red velvet cake. A Demeter-certified biodynamic farm in New York grows all the variety of beets in Dr. Cowan’s Garden Three Beet powder. The Demeter certification is the only certifier of biodynamic farms and products in America.
Regardless of which recipe you choose, soups are probably one of the easiest ways to get more vegetables into your diet. It’s a versatile dish you can customize to suit any palate. As long as you know how you like your food to taste, you can’t really go wrong.
- 1 onion
- 1 beetroot
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- ½ potato or 1 small potato
- 2-3 cups of water or bone broth
- 1 tsp Dr. Cowan’s Garden Three Beet Powder
- 1 tsp Dr. Cowan’s Garden Root Medley Powder (optional)
- Pinch of Dr. Cowan’s Garden Threefold Blend Spicy (optional)
- 1 tsp Dr. Cowan’s Garden Carrot powder
- Full-fat cream or sour cream (optional)
- Pinch of Dr. Cowan’s Garden Pepper Salt (optional)
- Peel and dice the onion. Peel and chop the beetroot and potato into roughly the same size.
- In a saucepan, add butter and sauté the vegetables for about 10 minutes or until they begin to soften. The beetroot will be firmer than the onion and potato, but that’s okay.
- Add seasoning and water, or bone broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and gently simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the beetroot is cooked throughout. The beetroot is cooked when you can poke a fork through it.
- Add a tablespoon of cream into the soup, stir, and serve.
- Alternatively, let the soup cool slightly for a few minutes. Carefully transfer into a standing blender or use an immersion blender, and blend for a few seconds until thick and creamy.
- Sometimes I roast the beets up to an hour, and then add them to the sautéed and boiled vegetables. I also do this with other soup recipes; I think it gives the soup more flavor, especially if it’s a soup that requires garlic; I always roast the garlic first.
- Usually I give vegetables a ‘body scrub’ treatment, instead of peeling. The skin is paper-thin and most of it gets removed anyway. It’s slightly less time- consuming and more fun than peeling.
- I like to eat my soup with avocado toast made with rosemary sourdough or soda bread, also known as ‘a slice of nice’ in our household.