Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Betty Crocker Project : Borscht for Vegans who Don't Like Beets

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Despite what one of the most popular TV characters/villains of our generation would have you believe... not everyone loves beets. I, in fact, kinda hate them. I hate their unusual texture, their weird indescribable flavor, and how they turn your teeth pink. Whenever I think about this, I have bad flashbacks of a friend from college who used to eat them straight for the jar. It still gives me a little shiver.

So when I saw this recipe in The Big Red, I made this face. But then I realized that most people hate beets. In fact, according to Men's Fitness, beets are one of the most hated foods. If you follow that link though, you may notice that Avocados are also listed,so I'm a bit suspicious about how accurate this list actually is.

But if you're looking for scientific proof, volunteer at any food bank or homeless shelter. People donate beets more than almost any other canned food, besides maybe yams. Also note how long those beets sit on the shelf and in cardboard boxes.

Then I looked at the recipe and realized that I could totally make something that tasted like all the good things about Borscht without making your teeth pink or being heavy on actual beets. There are still beets in there, and you can still taste them a little, but just the right amount to make you say "Whoa - I might not hate beets". In fact, speaking as a Reformed Semi-Pro Beet Hater and Grump-a-Saurus: this soup is just a truly great Fall Classic that I would eat everyday.

Borscht for Vegans who Don't Like Beets (with directions for substitution tip for folks who do)
  • 1 Package of Gardein Beef-less Tips (you could also use Beef Seitan, or whatever your favorite vegan Beef is )
  • 4 Cups Better Than Bouillon - Vegetable (made per instructions on the package)
  • 1/3 Cup Red Wine
  • 3 Tablespoons Braggs
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Can Shoestring Sliced Beets (Drained; if you love Beets and pink teeth, you can use 4 medium sized Fresh Beets that have been sliced, and you'll need to add an extra 30 minutes to your simmer time below.)
  • 1 Red Onion (sliced)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 5 Red Potatoes (cubed)
  • 3 Cups Fresh Cabbage (shredded)
  • 1 Can Garbanzo Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 Teaspoons Dill Weed (dried)
  • 1 Tablespoon Pickling Spices
  • 1 Teaspoon Thyme
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • Vegan Sour Cream & Chopped Chives for Toppings
  • Some Great Bread for Dipping

Heat oven to 400.

Spray a glass baking dish with Olive Oil Cooking Spray. Then arrange your Gardein in the dish so none are touching, and then make a layer of Red Onion over the Gardein. Put in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Remove when the Onions are tender and a golden brown.

In your favorite Dutch oven, add Bouillon, Wine, Braggs, Pepper, Potatoes, Garlic, Cabbage, Garbanzo Beans, Dill, Thyme, Onion Powder and Pickling Spices*. Cook to at a medium heat until it boils then turn heat down to a simmer. Then add Beets and the 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil . Let simmer for around an hour. To serve top with Vegan Sour Cream, Chopped Chives and Gardein (that will keep the Gardein from getting too moist).

*SO! Let's say you hate actually eating spices. You can also take the Pickling Spices and put them in a tea diffuser all BOUQUET GARNI-style - like we did during the Coq Au Vin recipe instead of mixing them in the soup. That's the refined version, but we went rustic. We tossed ours in because I thought it would look cooler and we love spicy.


  1. I love beets! I guess I'm amongst the few- I'm the one who eats them out of the can (sorry) -haha! This recipe looks incredible!

  2. I also love beets! But I'll admit that they used to freak me out. I first tried them raw in a salad and thought they tasted like dirt. But after having them roasted, I love, love, love 'em! The recipe sounds pretty those shoestring beets.

  3. They are really good for you and I'm cool with them in this soup but I have to admit I have never gotten over eating beets in these sushi type of rolls at a raw restaurant and it was very unpleasant.
    There are several other beet recipes in Betty so hold on! If you love beets - you should be happy!

  4. I'm a proud avocado-disliking vegan! I get weird looks, but I do not like them, Sam I am. :) Beets, I can handle. Oh, but nothing in the onion family other than garlic (no thank you to onions, leeks, shallots, scallions, chives...).

  5. I am indifferent to beets but am excited to eat this soup.

  6. I love beets and borscht, so I'm sure I will love this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I love beets, but I have yet to make borscht myself!

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  9. Made it, love it, and picky-eater-would-live-on-waffles-Isaiah loves it, too!

  10. I hate beets, and I have tried so many times to get myself to like them. It's just not happening, though.

    I'll trust you that the small amount in here are okay, because this looks so tasty and amazing, and I dream of eating it on a very cold and snowy day (which I won't have until I go home to Chicago in December)...