Raw or Nearly-Raw Cold Beet Borscht

Nearly raw beet borscht

The ingredients of classic cold beet borscht are usually cooked together, then chilled, but in this version, there’s no need to cook at all, unless you’d like to lightly pre-cook the beets. After this has a chance to chill, don’t be shy about amping up the lemon/agave contrast to your taste. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Raw or Nearly-Raw Cold Beet Borscht
Recipe type: Cold Soup / Beets
Cuisine: Vegan / Jewish New Year
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8
The ingredients of classic cold beet borscht are usually cooked together, then chilled, but in this version, there’s no need to cook at all, unless you'd like to lightly pre-cook the beets.
  • 2 large or 4 medium beets, peeled and cut into chunks (or see note if you’d like to lightly cook the beets)
  • ½ small cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium sweet apple, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill, or to taste
  • 1 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 to 2 lemons, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar, or to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Vegan sour cream, purchased or homemade, or Cashew Cream for topping, optional
  1. Grate the beets, cucumber, apple, and carrot in a food processor fitted with the grating blade. Transfer the grated ingredients to a soup tureen or some other kind of serving container such as a deep, steep-sided casserole dish.
  2. Fill the container with enough water to give the soup a dense but not overly crowded consistency. Stir in the dill and scallions.
  3. Add the juice of 1 to 1½ lemons (depending on how large and juicy they are), and the agave. Season gently with salt and pepper.
  4. Cover and let the soup chill for at least 3 hours. This can be made the morning before you want to serve it for dinner, or the day before. Just before serving, taste and add more lemon juice and agave to your liking.
  5. Serve garnished with a dollop of vegan sour cream or cashew cream, if desired.



Nearly raw borscht

Note: If you prefer beets lightly cooked, just use your favorite cooking method, whether in the microwave or on the stovetop. Don’t overcook! Cook just until they can be pierced, then plunge them in a bowl of ice water until they’re cool enough to handle. For more information on how to cook beets, see our article on beets.

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8 comments on “Raw or Nearly-Raw Cold Beet Borscht

  1. Linda Marek

    Thanks for the recipes and information; however, I wouldn’t ever recommend microwaving anything. It changes the molecular structure and completely destroys the nutritional value of food. This could explain why so many babies and children don’t seem as healthy as years ago. So many people microwave everything including formula. Studies have shown that microwaved vegetables raise blood cholesterol and are carcinogenic. The Swiss scientist who did this study was taken to court by the Swiss Association of Small Appliances and was threatened to be fined and lose his licence if he published his findings. It took 5 years before another judge ruled that freedom of speech allowed him to publish his results. I forget his name but you can Google it. By the way, microwaves were invented by the Nazies.

  2. Nava Post author

    I don’t think so, Barbara; it would be more like a beet smoothie than borscht. Though if you’d like the idea of a beet smoothie, go for it!

  3. Leslie Mead

    Re: linda marek comment from Jan 1, 2013… Percy Spencer an AMERICAN, born in Maine invented the microwave. Microwaves DO NOT raise blood cholesterol and do not change food into carcinogens.
    Please do not make unfounded stupid remarks that confuse and piss off others seeking real information.

  4. Jacqui

    Re: comment by Leslie Mead, no one is getting pissed off by that comment. Many people believe that microwaving food is unsafe.

  5. Sonya

    Could leftovers be frozen? I made a double batch for a dinner party and sadly, none of our guests were brave enough to try it. (Their loss!) While my husband and I love it, I fear it will spoil before the two of us are able finish the leftovers.

  6. Nava Post author

    Sonya, it may not be quite as good after being defrosted, but it should freeze fairly well. Better to take that chance than lose the rest! Glad that at least you and your husband enjoyed it.

  7. Sonya

    Thank you! And it is a delicious combination. It’s their loss for not having tried it. 🙂

    [It’s not necessary to post this comment; I just wanted to send a thank you.]

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