The ingredients of classic cold beet borscht are usually cooked together, then chilled, but in this version, there’s no need to cook at all, unless you'd like to lightly pre-cook the beets. After this has a chance to chill, don’t be shy about amping up the lemon/agave contrast to your taste. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.
Raw or Nearly-Raw Cold Beet Borscht
- 2 large or 4 medium beets peeled and cut into chunks (or see note if you’d like to lightly cook the beets)
- ½ small cucumber cut into chunks
- 1 medium sweet apple cut into chunks
- 1 medium carrot peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill or to taste
- 1 scallions thinly sliced
- Juice of 1 to 2 lemons to taste
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar or to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Vegan sour cream purchased or homemade , or Cashew Cream for topping, optional
Grate the beets, cucumber, apple, and carrot in a food processor fitted with the grating blade. Transfer the grated ingredients to a soup tureen or some other kind of serving container such as a deep, steep-sided casserole dish.
Fill the container with enough water to give the soup a dense but not overly crowded consistency. Stir in the dill and scallions.
Add the juice of 1 to 1 ½ lemons (depending on how large and juicy they are), and the agave. Season gently with salt and pepper.
Cover and let the soup chill for at least 3 hours. This can be made the morning before you want to serve it for dinner, or the day before. Just before serving, taste and add more lemon juice and agave to your liking.
Serve garnished with a dollop of vegan sour cream or cashew cream, if desired.
Note: If you prefer beets lightly cooked, just use your favorite cooking method, whether in the microwave or on the stovetop. Don't overcook! Cook just until they can be pierced, then plunge them in a bowl of ice water until they're cool enough to handle. For more information on how to cook beets, see our article on beets.