Rainbow Borscht for Russia

Rainbow borscht. Perfect for the opening of the Winter Olympics in Russia. Borscht seems like an ideal soup to slurp during the Games. It is hearty, healthy and hot; just ideal for the winter months. DSC_2487
Of course, borscht is Eastern European dish – and also common winter fair in many Jewish (like mine) households across the globe. Traditionally, borscht is brimming with starchy potatoes. This recipe is, as most of my creations, brimming with vibrant, brightly colored vegetables. All of the colors of the rainbow. For Russia. Parsnips and turnips, when roasted, are as scrumptious as any potato; so, in they go in its place.
This rainbow borscht was inspired by one my husband’s colleagues at The Hospital, “Dr. Tennis.” He and his wife and family are all enthusiastic sports-people who are looking forward to the Winter Games. “Dr. Tennis” suggested that hubby and I prepare a delectable borscht in honor of the Olympics. We are both delighted, as we have never enjoyed vegetables so much. Just. Mouth-watering.
My little sweetheart, “Snu Magoo,” helped me shop for the bounty of vegetables at a local farmer’s market. Later that night, the hubby cooked with me in the kitchen. Of course, I assigned him the tasks of peeling and chopping. Yes, we actually prepared a meal together. It felt quite like the old days, before doctor-hood and parenthood set in!
As I mentioned, the borscht didn’t last long. We gave half to “Dr. Tennis” and saved the other half for ourselves. Or, in truth, for the hubby. “Abba” is a borscht hog! I still love him, of course. There is a delicious, warm feeling that comes from feeding those you care for healthy and tasty fare.

On a side-note, the one-year-old and four-year-old in our home are also newly converted borscht fans. Hopefully your family will enjoy rainbow borscht as much as ours. If anything, make this dish for each Russian – or world citizen – of all colors, shapes, sizes, beliefs and beings of the rainbow.

The Curls and Carrots clan loves a rainbow.



“Rainbow” Borscht

Loosely adapted from the Borscht recipe from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen


  • 8 low-sodium, organic vegetable cubes
  • 8 cups water (or use 8 cups vegetable stock and omit the vegetable cubes)
  • 2 1/2 cups organic tomato purée (one bottle)
  • 2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 yellow, Vidalia or sweet onions, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 small head of radicchio cabbage, cut in fourths and thinly sliced
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 large beets, peeled and diced
  • 2 large turnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 2 Tbsp. Earth Balance whipped, organic spread
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for roasting root vegetables

Ingredients to top:

  • chopped, fresh dish
  • low-fat Greek yogurt*
  • diced, fresh tomatoes


  • Preheat oven to 375•F.
  • On two large cookie sheets, toss the beets, turnips, carrots and parsnips in enough olive oil to lightly coat the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Roast for 20-30 minutes, until slightly soft and golden.
  • In a large stock-pot, heat the olive oil and melt the Earth balance over medium heat. Sauté the onion, celery, red pepper and radicchio until tender, about ten minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute more.
  • Add the roasted beet, turnip, carrot and parsnip medley to the pot, along with the vegetable cubes, water, tomato purée, caraway seeds and dill.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover and allow to simmer on low for at least thirty minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the broth is very flavorful. Add additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  • Serve immediately with chopped, fresh tomatoes; Greek yogurt and chopped, fresh dill. The soup is even better, reheated the next day. Enjoy!
*Yogurt is a naturally lactose-free food


©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013-2014), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.



80 thoughts on “Rainbow Borscht for Russia

  1. I like how you’ve named the dish, it seems delicious. I like how you inform that yogurt in naturally lactose free 🙂
    And, I like you beautiful, colourful and big photos! 😉 XXX

    1. Sofia – A huge thank you to you, as well as Lidia, for helping me figure out the issue. It was a glitch in WordPress! Should I go through the other 85 posts in my blog and make all of the photos big? I appreciate your visit and sweet, enthusiastic comments! My thoughts are on “S”…. what to make??!! Besos – Shanna

      1. I’m glad you found out the problem. 85 more posts,… whoa, thats up to you. I myself wouldn’t change it because on of the neat things is in the future you look through your own blog and see how you have improved in time. I cringe at all of my earlier posts, but hey, they make me realise all I’ve learnt since them. Then in one year I might be cringing at my present posts, haha 🙂
        I have an S thought, just don’t know where to get the ingredients! If I can’t find them, shall have to think of another S!

  2. What a fabulous idea, to serve a rainbow borscht for the Olympics in Russia! When my husband first arrived in Ottawa from western Canada, he wanted to make borscht for Christmas, but didn’t have a recipe. So he walked right up to the Russian Embassy and asked for one. We still have it – delicious!

    1. Sharon, That is such a fabulous story! You seriously need to blog the recipe and the cute anecdote behind it. You and your blog have both been on my mind recently…I owe Vinny a visit. Stay warm up there in Canada. Thank you for your lovely and kind note. Warmest regards, Shanna

  3. Hi Shanna,
    Oh, how I love soup and your recipe looks amazing! So nice that your hubby was able to help out with the production. It warms my heart thinking that everyone was able to slow down enough to prepare and enjoy a meal together. It’s such a great feeling, isn’t it? Here’s to many more happy meals shared together with family! … GO TEAM! 😊

  4. Oh, Linda, you have hit the nail on the head. There is nothing better than than festive, happy, hearty family meals. I feel so fortunate that “Abba” and I were able to make a meal together. He used to be quite the scientific, exacting, amazing cook… If my memory is correct. 🙂 Yes, we all need to slow down and enjoy those around us. Life just goes by too quickly. Thank you for your lovely words and visit. Take good care, Shanna

    1. Hi, Liz – Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a sweet note. Yes, we do love our veggies in this house!!!! Roasting vegetables is my favorite preparation… caramelized and rich in flavor. Have a great Friday! – Shanna

  5. Thoughts:
    1. Beautiful Pics . . . artistry
    2. Amazing ingredients, diverse and healthy
    3. Wow, lots of stuff go into this recipe

    Comments from borscht tasters:

    Me: This borscht is amazing!
    Wife: I really don’t like beets.
    Me: OMGosh, you’ll love this!
    Wife: WOW! This tastes like everything I love about vegetables, and it’s not beety.
    Me: What’s beety mean?

    Me: Dad, you want some borscht?
    Dad: Hmmmm…. okay, I like beets but I’ve never had borscht. Can I add red chile?
    Me: I guess, but it’s amazing as it is.
    Dad(after eating a bowl): I love that it captures the earthy feeling of beets but has a really hardy taste. Can I have some more?
    Me: Your dog bugs me.

    Me: Eat some borscht! It’s so good and Shanna made it!
    Daughter: Really?
    Me: Yep.
    Daughter: She is so nice.
    Me: Too nice.
    Daughter(After tasting): Yummy. Can I have some mac and cheese too?
    Me: No. (in Russian accent) Finish your borscht.

    Me(to Russian colleague): When’s the last time you had borscht?
    Him: Last summer went I went to Russia. . . .(blah . blah . blah)
    Me: Really, my last borscht was last night. It was delicious.
    Him: Really, here in America?
    Me: Yes. I rule.

    Me: Borscht for dinner!
    Son#1: Really? Does it have vegetables in it?
    Me: No.
    Son#1: Wow, this is good.

    Conclusions: This is truly a “go to” soup recipe. The ingredients are diverse and healthy and really synergistic. People who don’t think they like beets will love this. People who know they like beets will see it in a whole new light. It captures the robust earthy nature of the beet without being overpowering or sweet. The soup is as hardy as most meat stews and perfect for a cold winter’s dinner. Also beets are ridiculously healthy(Google it everyone). I can see now why this dish is a staple in Russia. . . .

    Amazing post, recipe, result, timing!!!! Thanks Shanna!!!!

    1. Garth, Thank you for the incredibly generous and kind words. I appreciate the time you took to visit and comment! Your little prose was hilarious… I read it twice. SO, so funny. If you quit your day job, I see a future in comedy/writing for you. Keep the inspiration coming to Curls and Carrots (in Russian accent). Best wishes, Shanna

  6. Wow Shanna ,very nice colors and presantion witha such nice pictures….I didn’t know this kind of soup,I guess all the athletes need this soup in that cold,but I will try too,because I like to try new things.
    Thank you for sharing ,and enjoy the week end,Shanna!

    1. Hi, Massi – I hope that you try this soup. It is delicious. Feel free to add some potatoes, as well, since you are a fan. Your last potato post looked scrumptious. Have a great weekend – and thank you for the generous comments! Best, Shanna

  7. What a wonderful version of borscht. We will have to try it sometime. Can’t remember if we got seeds for beets this year, we have had them in the garden before. I am not a huge fan but done right they are good. I did enjoy the golden beets.

    1. I agree, Gretchen, golden beets are just delicious. They are such a lovely color and have great flavor. Last night, we made a salad of roasted beets, haricot vert, oranges, walnuts, chevré and balsamic vinaigrette. Beets are delicious when prepared well! I am still scarred from childhood memories of canned beets…. 😦 Have a lovely weekend, and thank you for your kind words! Best, Shanna

  8. Love the idea of “Rainbow Borscht” for this Olympics! I find it so interesting that there are so many versions of borscht. My mom’s did not include potatoes. My own vegetarian version doesn’t either. But they are ALL delicious!

    1. Hi, Merril! Thank you for your visit and sweet note. I am so curious as to your mother’s borscht recipe – and your vegetarian one. It seems that we have a “borscht” connection in common, among other things. Have a lovely weekend! Best, Shanna

      1. Shanna, I wrote about borscht a couple weeks ago on my blog. So yes, we do have that in common, too! (As you can tell, I’m behind on both posting and responding.)
        All best,

  9. What a cute idea for Olympics!If I have to make it, I’ll sure include potatoes! Seems so good and healthy!me too I’m waiting for Olympics, I like to watch it!Hugs – Cris

    1. Hi, Stefan –
      I appreciate the visit and generous comment! The Swedish Pop Band showed me Google last night; one word: AWESOME! 🙂 Eat that, Putin, indeed! What a schmuck.
      So, Earth Balance is an organic, whipped spread commonly sold in the states at Whole Foods or specialty stores. It is dairy-free and tastes like butter, but is made from olive oil and plant seeds. It is a lactose-free/dairy-free alternative for those who can’t consume butter. But, really, just use the butter in its place. In the recipe, I use a combination of butter and olive oil while cooking – the olive prevents the butter from burning and imparts nice flavor. However, you could also just use the clarified butter in that you make so well in place of both the oil and Earth Balance. 😉
      Enjoy your weekend! – Shanna

  10. YUM! This looks amazing. I hope Dr. Tennis is excited that Sharipova will be leading the US pack into the olympics. I love borscht – Mrs. Tennis, Esq. 🙂

  11. Oh lovely, beetroot 🙂 I had a big bowl of zingy beetroot salad with my lunch today. The weather in the UK is so miserable at the moment that a warming dish like this looks perfect! Thanks for sharing.

      1. Mm..soup indeed. I feel like making some, but I’m exhausted. You know family responsibilities. Plus, I was in the kitchen preparing breakfast and lunch. We had a late start today. I just sat down to rest and check messages then I’m going back there again to make dinner in an hour. Goodness! I feel all I do is cook lol…

  12. This sounds great, Shanna, and what a beautiful dish to serve! Please don’t take away my blogging privileges — though if you must, this is the time to do it, I’m a month behind — but I’ve never made nor tasted borscht. I need to remedy that. I’ve never met a soup I didn’t like. 🙂

    1. Thank you, John, for the lovely comment. I hope that you give borscht a try soon. It is so hearty, yet nutritious and somehow light. The soup is definitely a feel-good meal. I enjoyed your most recent post and look forward to more in the future. Have a lovely Sunday! Best wishes, Shanna

  13. Hi Shanna,
    Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe full of herbs and spices. I love roast vegetables and I love eating soup too. This is a great time for soup. Cold weather, tonnes of snow and no desire to go outside. I’m afraid I’ve probably added some kilos…The photos look great and the presentation is very nice too. I hope Dr. Tennis enjoyed the soup too. My best regards to your family. I wish you a lovely week. Best….Liz

  14. Resize one photo per post. That way you’ll get through them. It’s kinda daunting. I’m re-editing practically all of my photos! Only a couple every day. Makes me feel better. Now I’m embedding the print thing. Hah, such fun.
    Like the Olympics. I could care more.
    Borscht I’ve missed! Even though I’ve been to several European countries. I’m just not big on beets. Trying to eat them, though. Just not with sour cherries. 🙂

  15. You have inspired me so, Shanna! I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I’ve made up any borscht, but now I’m *craving* it, and—conveniently enough—I have a couple of friends coming for lunch this week. Guess what I’m going to make! Thanks for the lightbulb moment!!!

    1. Hi, Kathryn, I am so glad to hear that this post has given you a bit of culinary inspiration. It is your blog’s Foodie Tuesday, after all. 🙂 Enjoy your lunch with friends, and thank you so much for your most lovely note. Best, Shanna

  16. Oh, I see you’re getting into the Olympic spirit as well Shanna. That’s great! I am watching and cheering and loving! And what a delicious soup to enjoy it all with!

    1. Thank you for your wonderful compliments – especially coming from a quite professional and amazing blogger, such as yourself. Oh, I do love fresh dill – especially paired with beets – or some home-cured gravlax or a nice store-bought smoked salmon. It is a lovely, bright herb with such a earthy and completely distinct flavor. Have a lovely Sunday night, Kiyo!

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