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Vegan Tofu Borsch (Beet Soup)

Have you ever heard of Borscht? If not, you are missing out on a delicious and comforting stew! This Ukrainian-inspired stew is naturally sweet, packed with shredded beets and cabbage, and super easy to prepare!

Do you know the best thing about this recipe? You don’t even have to get your blender out!

Vegan Tofu Borsch

📔 What is Borscht?

Borsch or Borscht is a beet soup very popular in Ukraine and Russia. It is prepared with beets, cabbage, carrots, and other aromatics. It’s incredibly comforting and healthy and requires basic ingredients!

🥣 How to Make Vegan Borscht

There are hundreds of different borsch recipes; some include bell peppers, potatoes, or even celery. Here, we will be using carrots, shredded cabbage, onions, and obviously beets that give this stew its beautiful dark red color and natural sweetness.

SOUP

First, we start by preparing the vegetables: cabbage and beets are shredded, onions are minced, and carrots are diced.

Note: To create more texture, I cut beetroots in two different shapes: cubed and shredded. Feel free to shred them if you prefer.

Vegan Tofu Borsch

Next, fill a large pot with water and add the beets and carrots, tomato paste, coconut sugar, and salt. Let simmer for about one hour.

On the side, onions are caramelized in a skillet before being added to the broth. Caramelized onions add sweetness and a ton of flavor to this soup.

Regarding the garlic, it is only added at the end of cooking.

TOFU

While the traditional recipes call for beef, I decided to replace the protein with marinated tofu.

Tofu is marinated in a simple mix of soy sauce, oil, and maple syrup before being shallow-fried in a skillet until golden brown and caramelized.

Vegan Tofu Borsch (Beet Soup)

CASHEW SOUR CREAM

The cashew sour cream is totally optional but highly recommended. It makes this soup creamier and contrasts with the natural sweetness of the beets. If you are making the cashew cream, make sure to soak your cashews at least 4 hours before starting. Otherwise, you can simply use store-bought vegan sour cream.

For the cream, blend soaked cashews with water, salt, and lemon juice until creamy. That’s it!

Vegan Tofu Borsch (Beet Soup)

To serve, pour the piping hot beetroot and cabbage soup into bowls, top with the sautéed tofu, add a dollop of cashew cream, and garnish with parsley!

💬 FAQ

Can I use canned or pre-cooked beets for this recipe?

Fresh beets are mandatory for this recipe. Canned beets will not yield the best flavor.

What kind of cabbage should I use?

Most authentic recipes call for green cabbage; however, if you only have red cabbage on hand, it will work as well.

How long can I keep this borscht?

It will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Reheat gently over low-medium heat. Personally, I found it tastes even better the next day!

What can I substitute for tofu?

Tofu is not essential to this recipe, but you could substitute the tofu for vegan chick’n or tempeh!

Is sour cream essential?

The short answer is no, but it does take the soup to another level by adding creaminess and a subtle sourness. If you don’t have time to make the cashew cream, feel free to use vegan yogurt.

Vegan Tofu Borsch (Beet Soup)

I hope you will love this vegetarian borscht recipe! It’s warming, low-calorie, and I can guarantee it will warm you up!

Looking for more beet recipes? Check out this Sheet-Pan Rosemary Roasted Vegetables or this Vegan Seitan Wellington!

If you try this recipe, let me know in the comments and tag @fullofplants on Instagram!

Vegan Tofu Borsch (Beet Soup)
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Recipe

Vegan Tofu Borscht

5 from 9 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
A comforting beetroot soup with cabbage, marinated tofu and cashew sour cream to warm up a cold winter evening.
Prep Time : 20 minutes
Cook Time : 1 hour
Total Time : 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 273 kcal

Ingredients
 

Marinated tofu

Borsch (Beet Soup)

  • 11 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 4 small beets
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 white cabbage
  • 2 onions finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • fresh parsley

Cashew sour cream (optional)

  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice or more to taste, depending on how sour you like it

Instructions
 

Marinated tofu

  • Drain the tofu and wrap it in a paper towel. Place something heavy on top (a mason jar filled with water for example, or a heavy pan or skillet) and let the paper towel absorb the moisture for at least 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime, combine the soy sauce, oil and maple syrup in a bowl.
  • Unwrap the tofu, and cut it into small cubes, transfer it to the marinade bowl and toss to coat it with the marinade. Let it marinate while you prepare the soup.
  • About 5 minutes before the soup is ready, heat one tablespoon oil in a large iron skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu and sauté on each side for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly brown and crispy.

Borsch

  • Heat the water over medium heat in a large pan or stewpot. Add the salt and coconut sugar.
  • It’s time to prepare the vegetables. For the beets: wash and peel them. Cut two of them into 1/2-inch cubes and roughly shred the other two. For the carrots: wash and peel them, and cut them into bite-size matchsticks. For the white cabbage: discard the core, slice the cabbage into 3/4-inch thick slices.
  • Add the cubed beetroot and the carrots to the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet and add the sliced onions. Cook for about 10 minutes until they start to brown and caramelize. Stir in the tomato paste and remove from heat. Transfer the caramelized onions and the tomato paste to the soup pot.
  • After 30 minutes, add the cabbage and shredded beetroot to the pot and let simmer covered for another 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the raw chopped garlic and lemon juice. Taste and adjust saltiness if needed.
  • Divide into serving bowls, top with the fried tofu, a dollop of cashew cream and fresh parley.
  • The soup will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. It can also be served cold.

Cashew sour cream

  • Drain the soaked cashews and rince them under cold water.
  • Place them in a blender with the water and blend on high, scraping the sides from time to time until you get a smooth and creamy consistency. Stir in the salt and lemon juice and blend a few more seconds. Taste and adjust the salt or lemon juice if needed.
  • Transfer to a small bowl, cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes

Recipe inspired by Ukrainian borsch by European Market Deli and Cafe and Russian borsch by Marina V.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving (with cashew cream) | Calories: 273 kcal | Carbohydrates: 29.4 g | Protein: 10.5 g | Fat: 14.9 g | Fiber: 6.3 g | Sugar: 14.6 g
Course : Main Course, Soup
Cuisine : Russian, Ukrainian
Did you make this recipe? Tag @fullofplants on Instagram and hashtag it #fullofplants
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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31 Comments

  1. This is perfect! I had borscht on the menu this week and I’m trying your recipe for sure. You also got me intrigued by the OA. Will check this out.

  2. 5 stars
    Looks delicious! I too have binged on OA the past weekend while fighting a cold. This borsch would have been perfect. You images are also beautiful. Would love to get some food photography tips!

  3. 5 stars
    Thomas I found your site recently and am very happy I did. I not only like you recipes but your photography is excellent and am now a subscriber. I have been vegan for many years and also ferment my own vegetables. However what stimulated me to write was the fact that you got turned on to “OA” I too found it holding my attention, so much so that I think I watched it in one setting, it is an incredible piece of work that I found wonderfully stimulating and I ready for season 2.
    I hope that your blog continues, I send my friends to it often. Did you see the series “sense8”? Be well Thomas may you continue in peace, love and joy, Kit
    Sent from my iPad

    1. Hi Kit! Thanks for your message!
      I never tried fermenting vegetables but it’s something I want to try soon.
      I can understand why you watched it in one setting 🙂 The OA is such a great and addictive serie, I love everything about it. There are some stressful moments! Even if I found the finale pretty satisfying I hope there will be a season 2, finger crossed!
      Yes I also watched Sense8, that Christmas special was a good surprise, and it lasted 2 hours! Can’t wait to see the next season, it’s coming in May if I remember correctly.
      Have a great day!

  4. J’ai mis un certain temps à traduire la recette en français mais ca y est ! Je crois que j’y suis ! Il est temps de passer du crayon à la cuillère.
    Merci

  5. 5 stars
    I decided to try this to celebrate Meatless Monday. I didn’t have carrots or coconut sugar. I used a splash of coconut milk and agave syrup. I added a bit more cabbage to make up for the lack of carrots. I think slicing the cabbage thinner would have been better…but also once you have carmelized the onions and added the tomato paste, deglaze the pan with some of the soup liquid and add it all back into the pot…deepens the flavor..and helps clean the pan for the tofu.
    I was looking for this exact recipe so I was happily surprised to find it.

  6. Wow! I’m Ukrainian and I’m impressed with this version of our most traditional dish! Nice! I have to give this one a try. My family’s vegan borsch usually included kidney beans, mushrooms and a handful of millet grain. Love your blog! Came across it when i was looking for a vegan butter recipe and now i’m here to stay 🙂 thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words Laana! 🙂 I had no idea borsch could include beans and millet, interesting! I guess there are hundreds of different recipes, beetroot, and cabbage remaining the base.

  7. 5 stars
    Great Recipe! Its the perfect meal if you have the flu or just feel ill. Combine a bowl of borsch with OA and you will be fine soon.

  8. Hi. How big are your cabbages? They vary very much where I am, so a cup or weight amount would be helpful.

  9. Dear Thomas, thank you for your recipe adaptation. Only one little thing: borsch is a Ukrainian dish, it is not Russian, I am afraid.

      1. Hey, I’m a big fan of your blog. Have tried various recipes and loved all of them!

        Regarding borshch’s origin. According to Wikipedia:

        “Borscht (English: /ˈbɔːrʃ, ˈbɔːrʃt/) is a beet soup of Ukrainian origin common in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia”.

        I hope it changes your mind and you could update the post accordingly since such little inaccuracies might mislead some people. Also, as a Ukrainian, it made me feel confused.

        Thanks

        1. Hi Dmytro,
          I found other sources that says Borsch is actually Russian. It seems both countries are “fighting” over where the soup is coming from 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    GREAT FOR A COOL, RAINY NIGHT! I added some sweet potato for extra comfort. The cashew cream went down well!

  11. 5 stars
    This recipe is fantastic and has me so inspired for more vegan cooking. I made it twice with walnuts instead of cashews (also delicious) but finally made it with cashews tonight and it is beyond delicious! Thanks for the recipe, can’t wait to try more!

  12. 5 stars
    Russian here. I gotta say – whoa! I want to try your version and see what it tastes like. It’s probably more sweet and sour. I added plain tofu, potatoes, bay leaf, tomato paste and kindney beans to mine, removed lime, parsley and sugar. And used vegenaise and sriracha instead of cashew cream. I saw someone in your comments used a sweet potato in their borscht. I would love to try that as well!

  13. How did you get your soup to be that creamy?
    Just cooked yours following the recipe to the dot, and ended up with a veggie broth with very thick veggie stock in it, but not the kind of “mingling and combining” of the veggies like in your photo. Did you by any chance use a stick blender for a part of the soup to achieve the creamy consistency?

    1. I’m not sure what you mean by a veggie broth with a thick veggie stock in it. This is not exactly a soup, but more of a stew, nothing is blended.

  14. In your photo, the liquid of your soup looks not 100% watery, but a bit thicker. And I couldn’t see the cabbage …. I was wondering how you achieved that look.
    The taste was very delicious! And I am saying this without being a real soup-lover ;-))
    In fact, we will make this a staple in our winter menu plan at home ….

    1. Well, it’s still watery and not creamy like a blended soup 🙂
      You can’t see the cabbage because it takes the same color as the beets after simmering.
      Glad you still liked the recipe!