Friday, December 28, 2012

Vegan Borscht with Mock Tofu Sour Cream

Borscht is yet another recipe from my mother-in-law's kitchen and it is a family classic. We eat this all through the winter as it is a perfectly satisfying vegetable soup. I will admit that I do not like beets, not even a little bit; too earthy for my palate (I think they taste like dirt) but none of those loamy undertones come through in this soup. Besides the fact that this vitamin-packed vegan version with the mock sour cream and fresh dill provides a flavor punch that sets borscht apart from other vegetarian soups, it also trumps them in beauty too, since the beets add such a lovely rich red backdrop.

Vegan Borscht

2 medium onions, chopped
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3-4 medium carrots, cut into chunks
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
6-8 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 medium head cabbage, chopped
2 cans (14 oz) stewed tomatoes
2 beets, or 1-2 cans cooked beets, pureed
1 can great Northern white beans, rinsed and pureed
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
4 ounces Vodka (optional)
1 bunch fresh dill, thick stems removed, chopped fine
dash of cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste
  1. In a large stock pot, cook the chopped potatoes until half done.  Drain and reserve the water.  Puree half the potatoes to use as thickener.
  2. In stock pot, saute the onion in vegetable oil until translucent.  Add carrots, celery, bell pepper, half the chopped cabbage and half the potatoes, add garlic last, tossing in pan to coat.  Allow to fry in pan approximately 10 minutes, vegetables should begin to cook through.
  3. Add stewed tomatoes, pureed beets, white beans, and potatoes.
  4. Measure 4 cups of the potato water, combine with bouillon cubes,add to pot and bring to simmer to finish cooking vegetables.
  5. Add cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. 
  6. Cook just until the vegetables are tender. Incorporate the remaining chopped cabbage and allow to cook a few minutes to soften. Add the vodka, allowing the alcohol to cook off. 
  7. Stir the dill in last to retain the freshness and flavor potency.
  8. Serve with mock sour cream (recipe below) or real dairy sour cream and crusty sourdough bread. Leftovers reheat well. Serves 8-10.

Mock Sour Cream

In food processor blend until smooth: 
12 ounces Mori-Nu Silken firm tofu
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/2 tsp salt

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