Leafy beet greens take the place of borscht's traditional cabbage. You not only use the whole beet (less waste) but also get the most nutrition for your buck, as beet greens have nearly twice the fiber of other greens.
2 pounds large beets with greens
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly crushed
10 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5 cups plus 3 tablespoons water, divided
2 bay leaves
2 cups chopped peeled parsnips
5/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
6 tablespoons plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
How to Make It
Remove greens and stems from beets; discard stems. Rinse and drain greens. Finely chop to measure 2 cups. Peel beets; cut into 2-inch pieces.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle coriander over bottom of pan; cook 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring frequently. Add garlic and onion; cook 12 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add beets and tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add 5 cups water and bay leaves. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until beets are very tender. Discard bay leaves.
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add parsnips and 1/8 teaspoon salt; sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat.
Place beet mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend beet mixture until smooth. Return pureed soup to pan; bring to a simmer. Add beet greens and parsnips to pan; cook 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Combine yogurt and remaining 3 tablespoons water. Top soup with yogurt and dill.
I couldn't find beets with tops (not inexpensively anyway) so I used Swiss chard in place of the beet greens; and as I couldn't find parsnips I used purple carrots. The chard seemed to work well but the carrots took quite a long time to cook in the skillet - the better part of an hour. I did use whole coriander seeds but would recommend either using ground coriander or straining the soup after the puree step as even when "lightly crushed" the seeds impart a gritty texture to the soup. Assembly took a long time (e.g., peeling 10 garlic cloves), and I ended up preparing this over two nights. This is a very "beet forward" borscht, understandably; but I've tried other borschts with meat and/or more vegetables which tempered the beet flavor and made for a more balanced soup. It is filling on its own, though - I served it with just some bread, but I suppose it could go alongside stuffed cabbage leaves or some other Eastern European main dish. I don't think I would make this again, with other borscht recipes out there that I've liked better.
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