Unbeetable Borscht!

borscht serving

This was one of my favorite dishes that my mom made when I was a kid. We used to eat it with blintzes  on the side. This is not traditional Russian hot borscht which has meat, cabbage and potatoes, but cold simple beet borscht, served back in the day with sour cream, Meyer lemon juice and a spoonful of sugar.

I roasted the beets before boiling them, for a deeper flavor. I’ve added the beet greens for more body and nutrients, as well as a bit of salt, dill and lemon zest for flavor. Since I’m watching my waistline, I added nonfat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Not quite the same, but not bad either.


lemons and roasted beets

1 bunch of 4 medium beets, leaves included

1 Meyer lemon

A few shakes, dill weed, salt, sugar, to taste

Trim “tails” and stems from beets. Scrub beets well. Line a covered container with foil (to prevent baked-on beet juice), then place beets in with ¼ cup of water, cover and roast at 400 for 40 minutes.

washed beet greets

While beets are roasting, rinse leaves and stems and thoroughly: first rinse, then soak in a salad spinner for about 10 minutes in warm water, then rinse several more times.

beet greens boiling

Boil 4 cups water in a medium pot. Add washed greens and boil for 15 min until tender. Drain greens. Reserve the water and pour it back into the pot. Set greens aside to cool.

grating beets

Remove beets from oven and let cool. Peel them and then grate on a box grater. Be prepared for hot pink hands!

grated beets

Add grated beets to reserved water. Boil for 20 minutes. When greens are cool, chop them finely, and then add to beets.

Grate lemon zest (the yellow part) from a Meyer lemon on a fine grater into the soup, and then squeeze in the lemon. Stir in a few shakes of dill weed, ¼ tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar to taste. Let borscht cool, then refrigerate.

Serve with more lemon juice and sour cream. (You can substitute plain Greek yogurt for a low-fat alternative.)