YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Vegetable Borscht

I wanted to share this vegetable borscht now(!) so that, hopefully, you’ll have time to make it the week (freeze), day (refrigerate), or at least the morning before you plan to serve it. Which means that, at the very least, you’ll want to make this recipe first thing in the morning to give its flavors time to blend. Besides its deliciousness, another one of the great things about this recipe is the fact that it meets the requirements of a great many different kinds of nutritional approaches. There’s nothing like making many people happy, all at the same time. And that’s not something that should be taken for granted, either!

1 pint mushrooms, white button or crimini
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, quartered and sliced very thinly
8 medium beets, quartered and cut across into half
beet greens (from the above beets), rinsed, rolled, and sliced thinly
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
1 medium parsnip, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
3 large potatoes, in ½-inch cubes
1 small head cabbage, shredded
2 stalks celery, rinsed well and sliced very thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 bunch dill, chopped coarsely
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. black pepper

Add olive oil to a large stockpot, and turn heat on medium-high until oil starts to shimmer. Immediately add mushrooms, shaking the pot occasionally, for 5 minutes, until mushrooms begin to color. Add onion and saute approx. 5-8 minutes more until onions begin softening and turning brown.

Add beets, carrots, parsnip, celery, and 2 quarts (8 cups) water. Raise temperature to high, and heat to boil. Add potatoes, cabbage, garlic, and beet greens. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Empty tomato paste into a small bowl, remove 1/2 cup stock from the pot, and slowly pour into the tomato paste, mixing continuously with a fork, until completely smooth. Return the mixture to the pot. Simmer 30-40 minutes or until carrots and parsnips are tender.

Remove the pot from the stove, or turn off the heat, and stir in the dill, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper. This soup will serve a very large table full of people!

A prior version of this recipe may be found in the New York Times Passover Cookbook. Yum. Thank you.

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