Borscht is an Eastern European staple, and this soup is as down-to-earth and practical as the strong culture that created it. This vegan borscht recipe is a plant-based take that doesn’t compromise its deliciousness - follow our simple recipe below!
Borscht is an Eastern European and Russian classic, made with earthy beets, potatoes, and beef. This borscht soup is as delicious as it is beautiful, with a brightly-colored crimson broth.
While we love the original, we wanted to update the recipe so we could still eat plant-based while enjoying some hearty borscht. By replacing the beef with the pan-fried tofu, you can make borscht suitable for any dietary preference without losing that delicious, earthy beet flavor.
To make it a little more decadent, we topped our vegan borscht with sour cashew cream, and it was absolutely the right decision! So yummy.
Follow our simple recipe for vegan borscht below, and enjoy the wafting scents of borscht floating through your home as this soup simmers on the stovetop.
Meatless Borscht Recipe - Nutrition Information
Serving Size: 1 serving, topped with cashew cream
Calories: 273 kcal; Sugar: 14.6g; Fat: 14.9g; Carbohydrates: 29.4g; Dietary Fiber: 6.3g; Protein: 10.5g.
Vegan Borscht - FAQ
What is borscht?
Borscht is a beet-red soup made from, you guessed it, beets! This Eastern European staple traditionally contains beef, beets, and potatoes for a hearty, filling lunch or dinner. It’s a slightly sour soup, generally topped with sour cream, which enhances the sour notes.
We decided to lighten up the classic borscht recipe and make it plant-based, using tofu in place of the beef and replacing less nutritious potatoes with cabbage and carrots instead.
What does borscht taste like?
If you’ve ever eaten a beet, you know it has an incredibly unique, earthy flavor. Much of that beet flavor transfers into the soup as veggies simmer in the broth on the stovetop. Borscht is slightly sweet and tangy, with a hint of acidity.
The flavor of beets can be a little polarizing, but if you like beets, you’ll love borscht.
Do I need to press the tofu?
Yes, the tofu pressing step is crucial to making your tofu deliciously crispy, as its high water-content won’t fry up well without a press.
We use a simple tofu press, like this, because it’s ready from start to finish in 15 mins. If you don’t own a tofu press, you can wrap your tofu in a dry paper towel, then place it between two heavy plates or cutting boards. Add a weight on top for even more pressing power. This method takes a little longer, so you should leave the tofu to press for 2-3 hours minimum.
Can I use a different type of tofu?
You can use firm or extra-firm tofu for this recipe, as they’re the least watery tofu options and fry up nicely. Regular, soft, or silken fall apart when pressed and heated, as they have relatively very high water content.
Is borscht healthy?
Borscht is packed full of nutrition, and our vegan borscht contains plenty of lean protein, too. This flavorful soup has uber-nutritious beets stuffed with vitamin C, folate, fiber, and plenty of other minerals.
Borscht is low in fat and relatively low-calorie, making it an excellent choice for anyone following low-fat or calorie-restricted diets.
Having a few bowls of nutrient powerhouse vegan borscht every week can help you reach your recommended veggie and vitamin intake.
Storing your vegan beat soup
This vegan borscht recipe keeps for up to 4 days in the refrigerator in a sealed container. You can also freeze this vegan soup for up to 3 months.
You can serve these leftovers hot or cold, which is refreshingly delicious in the summer. Your vegan sour cream lasts for 3 days in the fridge, and you can use it on any foods that pair well with regular sour cream.
Our final notes on this hearty, vegan Russian food
We love making this warm beat soup for a cold or rainy day! However, cold beat soup is so refreshing on a hot summer day!
If you’ve never tried borscht, don’t be afraid to try this delicious vegan version. Bookmark our recipe and recreate this delicious soup at home!
Vegan Borscht: Vegan European Soup
9-oz firm or extra-firm tofu
2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 Tbsp vegetable oil or other cooking oil of choice
2 tsp pure maple syrup
11 c. water
2 tsp fine sea salt
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
4 small beets
1/2 white cabbage
2 cooking onions, peeled and finely sliced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
fresh parsley, chopped, to taste
1 c. raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
1/2 c. water
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp fresh lemon juice, and more to taste
Cashew sour cream
Remove your tofu block from its package and place it in a tofu press. Leave to drain for 15 mins, then remove from press and wrap in a dry paper towel.
In a small mixing bowl, combine tamari or soy sauce, oil, and pure maple syrup. Whisk until well combined.
Unwrap your tofu block from the paper towel and cut into small 1-inch cubes, and transfer into the bowl containing your marinade.
Toss the tofu until well-coated, and leave it to marinate while you build the rest of your soup.
5 mins before your borscht is ready, heat 1 Tbsp of cooking oil in a large, cast-iron skillet on your stovetop over medium heat. Toss in the tofu and leave it alone to cook for 3 mins.
Once the first side browns, flip, and cook on the next side for 3 mins. Continue until all sides of the tofu are golden brown and crispy.
Add the water to a large, deep pan or stewpot. Heat the pot on the stovetop over medium heat for 5 mins, then add the sea salt and coconut sugar.
Prepare all your vegetables. Wash and peel your beets, then cut 2 beets into ½-inch cubes. Roughly shred the other 2 beets to give your borscht recipe a complex texture.
Wash and peel your carrots, then cut them into small matchsticks. Discard the core of the white cabbage, then slice it into ¾-inch thick slices.
Place the cubed beets and carrots into the water and bring the Russian beet soup to a boil. Reduce the stove's heat to low, then cover and simmer the soup for 30 mins.
Place 1 Tbsp of oil in a large cast-iron skillet and heat on the stovetop over medium heat.
Once heated, toss the sliced onions into the skillet, and cook for 10 mins until they caramelize and turn golden brown.
Stir in the tomato paste, then remove the skillet from the heat. Transfer the tomato-onion mixture to the stewpot.
Let the soup continue to simmer for 30 mins, then add the cabbage, shredded beets, and simmer covered for another 30 mins.
After 30 mins, remove the vegan beet borscht from the heat and stir in the chopped garlic and fresh lemon juice.
Divide the red beet soup into serving bowls, then top with pan-fried tofu and a generous dollop of vegan cashew cream.
Serve and enjoy your vegan tofu borscht!
Vegan cashew sour cream
After soaking your cashews overnight, drain the water and rinse the cashews in a strainer under cold tap water.
Place the cashews in a high-powered blender with ½ c. water, and blend on high. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides occasionally. Blend the cashews until they reach a smooth, creamy consistency.
Add the sea salt and fresh lemon juice, then pulse the blender for a few seconds. Taste the mixture, and adjust the lemon juice and salt as needed.
Remove the cashew sour cream from the blender and transfer to a small bowl.
Serve and enjoy your vegan sour cream!