Beet and Buckwheat Borscht with Parsley-Yogurt Garnish

Serves 6 to 8.

Note: This vibrant soup makes a terrific starter and warming lunch. The three components of the dish (soup, buckwheat and garnish) keep for a week, tightly covered, in the refrigerator. From “The Whole Grain Promise,” by Robin Asbell.

• 1/2 c. buckwheat groats

• 3/4 c. water

• 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 c. chopped onion

• 1 lb. red beets, peeled and chopped (3 c.)

• 2 medium carrots, chopped

• 2 ribs celery, chopped

• 1 tsp. caraway seeds

• 1 c. apple juice

• 3 c. water or stock

• 2 c. beet greens (or other leafy greens) washed and chopped

• 1 1/4 tsp. salt, divided

• 1 tsp. dried dill

• 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

• 3/4 c. plain yogurt

• 1/2 c. fresh parsley leaves, chopped


In a 1-quart pot with a tight fitting lid, dry-toast the buckwheat over medium-high heat until fragrant. Carefully pour in 3/4 cup water, then bring to a boil. Cover tightly and turn the heat to low. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Take the pan off the heat and keep warm until the soup is finished.

Put a large pot over high heat, and when hot, add the oil. Add the onion and sauté, lowering the heat when the onion starts to brown. Cook for an hour if you can; longer cooking will bring out the onion’s sugars. Add the beets, carrots, and celery and keep stirring for about 5 minutes.

Add the caraway, apple juice, 3 cups water or stock, and the beet greens and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and cook until the beets are very tender, about 10 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt, dill and vinegar and simmer for another 5 minutes.

For the garnish, stir the yogurt with the parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

To serve, ladle a cup of the soup in a wide bowl, then put in 1/4 cup portion of buckwheat in the center and a tablespoon of the yogurt mixture on top. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information p`er each of 8 servings:

Calories 125 Fat 3 g Sodium 480 mg Carbohydrates 23 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 93 mg Protein 4 g Cholesterol 1 mg Dietary fiber 4 g Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 bread/starch, ½ fat.