A beet allergy is no laughing matter.

Waitress: “Now, does anyone at the table have any food allergies that I should know about?”
Boy (with panicked look, said in his head): “Please no, please no… don’t do it Alex, this is a nice restaurant.”
Me: “Umm, yes, I actually have a meat allergy.”
Waitress: “Oh!  Well I don’t think we have any on the line tonight, maybe in a garnish… I will make sure to keep it away from your meal.”
huh?
Waitress: “Here is your crusted tofu dish, EXTRA BEETS, tee hee!”
<Insert confused look between boy and I>

So I do this thing that the boy hates (comes right after loving him too much on the con list).  Sometimes, when I don’t feel like talking about being a vegetarian, but I want to be assured that no meat will come anywhere near my food… I will say that I have a meat allergy.  Another gem was when I told this to our waiter at a fancy french restaurant, and when he responded with, “Is that a real allergy?,” I quickly assured him, “Umm, I carry an epi pen!  Ask him!”

I really am a treat sometimes.

Peeled beets are so pretty!

Now, I tell you all of this because beets made their way into my farmers market bounty this past week (Gasp!  No one was there to protect me from their allergy ridden ways… :-/).  I hemmed and hawed about what to do with them.  I had an assortment of ideas, but when my mom suggested I do borscht, I figured a nice nod to the Eastern European half of my heritage would be appropriate.  I had also picked up some carrots and cabbage at the farmers market, so I was well on my way.  Some internet searching taught me that borscht recipes are vast and varied, so I tried to extract the key flavors and then made the best with what I had.  Those flavors are beets (or dirt, as my roommate told me), cabbage, and vinegar.

Done and done.

Russian Approved Vegan Borscht       

Materials:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium beets, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 large carrot, chopped (or a few smaller ones)
  • 1 medium potato, cleaned and cut in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 small head of cabbage, sliced (I used a mandolin)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar

Method:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in large pot.
  2. Add the onion and garlic, sauté until the onion is soft.
  3. Add the remaining vegetables.
  4. Meanwhile, heat up vegetable stock.
  5. Continue sautéing vegetables for about 5 minutes, then add warmed vegetable stock and bay leaves.
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
    • (I had some remaining veggie meat balls in my freezer from the Italian Wedding Soup, so I threw those in the pot with 10 minutes left)
  7. Add the vinegar, and then salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve immediately and piping hot.
  9. Enjoy!
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