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Creamy Ukranian Borscht In Your Instant Pot!

I created this recipe for my dear friend, author Nora Percival, who died on Valentine's Day a couple of years ago at the age of 102.  Having left Russia as a small child, she still yearned for foods she enjoyed as a girl. This recipe for Creamy Ukranian Borscht was a big hit with Nora in her waning years, so I made it for her often. What I never dreamed is that it would become a favorite dish in my family.
Borscht is delicious any time of the year, especially when fresh beets are in season. I prefer to eat this soup when it’s hot, but it is excellent served chilled or at room temperature. Loaded with antioxidants, there is nothing but good food in this recipe so you may enjoy it with guilt-free abandon!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Natural Release20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Easy, Soup
Cuisine: Ukranian, World
Keyword: beets, soup, vegan
Servings: 8 1-cup servings
Calories: 54kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (1 medium onion, about 300g)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar
  • 3 medium beets
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus several sprigs for garnish
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Thai chili (may substitute cayenne)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 4 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1/2 cup carrot, cut into 3/4-inch dice (1 medium carrot, about 80g)
  • 1 1/2 cups russet potato, cut into 3/4-inch dice (1 medium, about 250g)
  • 1 cup turnip, cut into 3/4-inch dice (1 small, about 190g)
  • 3 cups cabbage, cut into 1-inch dice
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon plant-based sourcream or yogurt (per serving)

Instructions

  • Remove leaves from beets by cutting the stems about an inch from where they attach to the beets. This will prevent nutrients of the beets from leaching into the water. The water will turn red from the stems, but the beet will remain intact. Wash thoroughly.
  • This step may be done the day before:
    In an Instant Pot with a steamer basket, place beets and one cup water. Set on Pressure, high (or Manual, High, depending on your IP model), Sealing, for 20 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally, about 40 minutes total.
  • While the beets are cooking, prepare the rest of your ingredients.
    Chop onion into small dice. Mince garlic. Juice lemon. Chop cabbage into 1/2-inch slices, then cut across into 1/2-inch pieces. 
    Peel carrots, potato, and turnip. I like to use a Russet potato for this recipe because it breaks down easily without becoming gummy.
  • Discard water and allow the beets to cool enough to handle. Peel the beets by rubbing their skins off with a paper towel.
  • Once you've removed your beets from the Instant Pot, replace cleaned inner pot and set on Sauté mode. Add onion and sauté until translucent and slightly golden, adding a little water as needed to prevent scorching, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook another two minutes.
  • Add vinegar and continue to cook until the vinegar has nearly evaporated. Stir in caraway seeds, chili, bay leaf, and one tablespoon lemon juice and sauté until fragrant.
  • Add one cup water, and the potato, carrots, turnip, and cabbage. Set IP on Manual, High, Sealing, for zero minutes. 
  • While the IP is coming to pressure, cut cooked beets into one-inch pieces and add to a blender, preferably a high-powered blender like a Vitamix. You may have to do this in two batches. Add one to two cups water and chopped dill. Blend until creamy. Set aside.
  • After the IP timer goes off and the Instant Pot goes automatically to the Warm mode, turn the machine off.  Move pressure toggle to the Release position (unsealed). Keep your hands and face out of the path of the releasing steam to prevent injury.
  • When the pressure valve has dropped down, remove the lid. Pluck out and discard the bay leaf. Transfer the mixture to the blender with the beets and add all but one cup of the remaining water. Add salt, pepper, and remaining tablespoon lemon juice. Blend until creamy.
  • Transfer mixture back to Instant Pot and place on Sauté mode with the temperature on low. by pushing the adjust button. Rinse blender by pulsing remaining one cup water. Add this to the soup in the IP and stir to combine.
    Turn IP off or change to Warm mode. Transfer borscht to serving bowls. Top with a dollop of sour cream and sprig of dill weed. Serve hot, room temperature or cold. Enjoy!

Notes

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 177mg | Potassium: 266mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1370IU | Vitamin C: 19.7mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 0.6mg