Hearty Lentil Borscht

lentil borscht

I adore soups year round, but there is something especially comforting about a steaming bowl of goodness on a cold autumn or winter day. Bring in the root vegetables for a nourishing dish to fight off that perpetual chill. Beet borscht is probably one of my all-time favorite winter soups, but I've never thought to make it with lentils until recently. The result of combining sweet red beets with earthy brown lentils and a zesty seasoning definitely pleased the diners and the cook too. The beets I used had some healthy beet greens topping the bunch, so I added them to the soup pot as well with the tomatoes for extra nourishment and texture.

A lemony cashew cream is a nice tangy addition to this earthy soup, though you can add a dollop of sour cream if desired.

This soup was inspired and adapted from The Great Vegan Bean Book by Kathy Hester. Legumes are my meat and, although I am not a vegan, I often prefer vegan dinners because I find them easier to digest than a cheesy meal. Those that may scoff at beans may want to reconsider their stance if served one of the unique dishes from this book that certainly celebrates the humble bean that is not so humble at all when it gets dressed up. Everything bean is covered in this book and the cook is presented with over 100 recipes, most of which are soy-free and gluten-free.

A wide variety of cuisines are covered between the covers, as well as different courses throughout the day. Breakfast, appetizers, soups, stews and casseroles, salads, portable meals and even desserts are offered up. Beans all day long and all year long! All of the recipes are made with staples you are likely to have in your kitchen, but if you are an avid legume lover such as I am, you will be especially intrigued by the "fancy bean" suggestions that you may not have on hand on a regular basis.

The elegant pictures alone will encourage you to get cooking in your kitchen. Next on the menu is "Thai Coconut Tongue of Fire Soup", "Red Bean-Filled Mini Muffins", "Creamy Chickpea and Rice Casserole" and "Lentil Quinoa Bolognese Sauce" among many others.

I'm pleased to be able to offer a copy of this book to one lucky reader in Canada or the US. All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this post and reveal your favorite bean. The contest will run until November 21st, 2013, at which point I will stage a random draw for a winner of this must-have book for legume lovers. Please do leave your email address with your comment should you not have a contact associated with your site or if you don't have a blog so that I can contact you if you win this giveaway.

This giveaway is closed.

Note: I received a copy of this book for possible review and worked with a representative to offer a giveaway to my readers. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Hearty Lentil BorschtHearty Lentil Borscht
Recipe by
Adapted from The Great Vegan Bean Book: More than 100 Delicious Plant-Based Dishes Packed with the Kindest Protein in Town!
Cuisine: Eastern European
Published on November 4, 2013

Earthy brown lentils and zesty seasoning combine beautifully with sweet red beets in this simple, colorful and nourishing fall soup

Print this recipePrint this recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 large potato, chopped
  • 3 medium beets, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Cashew cream (optional):
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • juice from 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
  • To prepare the cashew cream, combine the cashews, 1/4 cup of water and the lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Blend until you have a smooth paste, adding more water as necessary.

  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion to the pot and fry, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until softened. Next toss in the garlic, cumin seeds and ginger, and stir for 1 minute.

  • Now add the carrots, potato, beets, lentils, vegetable stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and vegetables are tender — about 30 minutes.

  • Stir in the tomatoes, jalapeños, dill, paprika and cayenne. If using beet tops, add now. Simmer the soup for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegars and sea salt and black pepper to taste.

  • Serve hot with a dollop of cashew cream or sour cream.

Makes 8 servings
lentil vegetable borscht

More nourishing beet recipes from Lisa's Kitchen to enjoy:
Beetroot Rasam
Orange and Beet Soup
Quinoa Soup with Beets and Fresh Dill
Beetroot, Leek and Walnut Salad

On the top of the reading stack: Cooking Inspired by Estee Kafra

Audio Accompaniment: Dave DK


Swathi said...

Delicious lentil borscht, I love chickpeas a lot.

Deena Kakaya said...

That is some awesome colour Lisa! X

Rebecca said...

I'm a huge fan of chickpeas!


Shannon said...

You got such a great red color in your borscht!! I would love to have this book - I've actaully made a recipe from it before that I saw online (and loved it - it was the Caribbean black beans and sweet potatoes), but have yet to get the book itself.

Anonymous said...

Currently, pinto beans are my favorite

Anonymous said...

I use beans in so many ways! Such a versatile food. I like them all :)


Candy Hoffman said...

One of my more recent catch phrases is, "beans make you live longer." Cuz it's true! My top three beans are black, pinto, and garbanzo. (I'm assuming cocoa and coffee beans don't count here...lol!)

VeggieNextDoor said...

My favorite beans are Cannelini. They are so creamy and mild, they go well in any dish - sweetbot savory!

Corrine said...

I like black beans the best!

bitt said...

adzuki beans


Anonymous said...

I love lentils. black beans are also a favorite

fruitcrmble AT Comcast DOT net

Bev said...

Chickpeas are my favorite. No day is complete without some hummus.


Jen said...

My favorite is soy, it's so versatile :-)


Nicole said...

I love black beans. I wanted to try this book for a long time. It looks great! nodonahue at gmail

Unknown said...

I love me some baby lima's!
Ddebra33 at gmail dot com

Corrine said...

I really like Cannellini beans!

The Peace Patch said...

Count me in the chickpea fan camp...I've been addicted to them since I was a kid. :)

Janis said...

My favorite bean is black bean, made just about any way.

Unknown said...

Chickpeas are my favorite! All beans are versatile but mhm, those are always perfect.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could "Pin" all these wonderful recipes!!!

Mommy Dearest said...

A big bowl of hot black-eyed peas with ghee, lemon juice and salt and I'm in heaven.