If you ask me my least three favorites foods, they are: raw tomatoes (loved them any other way though), goat cheese (but love cheese from sheep) and BEETS. I don’t know what it is – perhaps because they are a very earthy vegetable. But I was convinced I would need to find a way to truly love beets. And folks, it happened. In a Russian and Ukranian soup called Borscht.
Borscht becomes a stunning, vibrant red color thanks to the beets dying the soup and it only gives the soup a hint of earthy, while remaining full of rich flavor from a combo of ingredients such as garlic and dill. Now a Borscht is traditionally also served with potatoes and some meat but to keep those are totally optional. Either way, it’s a lighter dish and will be in my new, lighter cookbook! And it’s made very quickly and conveniently in the Instant Pot!
Here’s How I Made It (scroll to the bottom for the fully-written recipe):
Goes GREAT with Grandma Lil’s Stuffed Cabbage!
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 medium beets, trimmed, peeled, and grated (gloves and an apron can be a great asset here to protect dying your hands and clothes from the beet juice)
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into 1⁄4-inch disks
- 9 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 5 cups low-sodium vegetable or beef broth
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with their juices
- 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- A small piece of scrap meat, such as a beef bone or pork neck with some meat on it (optional)
- 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons seasoned salt Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Plain 2% Greek yogurt or reduced-fat sour cream, for topping (optional)
- Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the Instant Pot, hit Sauté, and Adjust so it’s on the More or High setting. After 3 minutes of heating, add the beets and sauté for 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil as well as the onion, celery, and carrot and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the broth, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, meat scraps (if using), and dill. Stir well and top with the bay leaves.
- Secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position, hit Keep Warm/Cancel, and then hit Manual or Pressure Cook on High Pressure for 8 minutes. Quick release when done. Remove the bay leaves and meat scraps/bone, reserving any meat you wish for garnish.
- Return the sautéed beets to the pot, along with the seasoned salt, lemon juice, and both vinegars and give everything a good stir.
- Ladle into bowls and top with additional dill and a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, desired.
If you want to be more carb-conscious, leave out the potatoes. While the borscht is cooking, you can microwave some cauliflower and add it in Step 5 (don’t cook it in the Instant Pot because it will become pure mush if pressure cooked for that long).
The reason we don’t pressure cook the beets is because they will become overcooked and lose their color. The soup will appear dull and bland instead of vibrant and flavorful—which is essential to a wonderful borscht!