Veganskii Borscht y Russki Salat

This is a recipe I found at Rus Cuisine, and tweaked to suit my tastes. You’ll want a very large cooking pot for this one.  A food processor is also recommended!

Veganskii Borscht
1 tbsp oil
1 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped (1 large)
4 cups beets, peeled and julienned (3 medium)
1/2 cup carrot, chopped (1 small)
5 tsp tomato paste
16 cup vegetable stock, low-sodium, plus water if desired
2 1/2 cups potatoes, cubed (2 large)
6 cups cabbage, julienned (1 medium)
1 1/2 Not Beef cubes
3/4 cup bell pepper, chopped (1medium)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 clove garlic
4 tbs fresh dill
onions, loosely chopped (garnish)
dill, loosely chopped
sour cream (garnish)
Peel and julienne beets. Julienne cabbage, carrots, and onions. Wash and cube potatoes. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add beets and carrot. Sauté, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes. In a large pot, bring stock to a boil over high heat. Add potato and boil until soft. Puree tomato paste, bell pepper, garlic, 4 tbs dill, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add to potato pot. Add cabbage and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add beets, onion, and carrot. Slow cook until all veggies are soft. To serve, top with loosely chopped green onions, dill, and parsley.  Add a tablespoon of sour cream.  Serve hot.
All ingredients ready to go!  Top row, left to right:  cabbage (green with a little purple), gold potatoes, red and gold beets.  Bottom row, left to right:  yellow bell pepper, fresh dill and garlic cloves, carrots, onions.
 Beets and onions.  I sauteed the onions first, then added the beets.  You can also add carrots, but I didn’t have enough room, so I boiled them with the potatoes.
I had to use a huge pot to hold all the ingredients. 

Choose a good, dense black bread or rye to serve with your borscht.  In Russia, we always ate the bread with salt.

The finished product!  Top with vegan sour cream and chopped dill.
This simple salad was served with almost every meal when I was in Russia.  I like to make this ahead of time, and let the veggies and herbs marinade together.
Russki Salat
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch dill
1 firm tomato
1 cucumber
3 tbs sunflower oil
2 tbs vinegar
freshly ground salt
freshly ground black pepper
Option 1:  (This is the way it was served most often.)  Slice tomato and cucumber into 1/4 inch rounds.  Loosely chop parsley, and dill.  Trim the root ends off the green onions and cut to desired length.  Layer tomato, cucumber, and green onions on a plate.  Top with chopped herbs, and douse with sunflower oil and vinegar.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Serve.
Option 2:  (This method of preparation reminds me of a Fattoush salad.  It’s best if you don’t plan on eating it right away, or want to make a lot ahead of time.)  Chop tomato into 1/2 inch sections.  Chop cucumber into 1/4 inch sections.  Remove the root end of the green onions, and chop to 1/4 inch sections.  Toss with cucumber and tomato in a large bowl.  Finely chop parsley and dill, and add to mixture.  Dress with sunflower oil and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Serve.

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