Borscht but vegetarian and with ginger. The vegetarian part was mostly to cut down on cooking time and also because I didn't feel like grocery shopping. This little idea flowered into a perfect winter meal. I was going to use beans in place of the meat.. but for the cooking time, I decided to use quinoa instead. Those little magic pearls explode into glossy little soldiers floating around in the soup. They are perfect for body and for the protein component... making this a full meal.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 onion, peeled and diced
1-2 green chiles, diced
1 large raw beet, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
4-6 cups vegetable broth, depending on the soupiness you want
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 inch ginger, grated
1/2 cup rinsed quinoa
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 handfuls torn kale leaves
lots of freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1. Heat the oil in your soup pot and add the caraway and mustard seeds until they start to snap and crackle.
2. Add the chopped onion and chiles and cook, stirring, until onions are translucent.
3. Add the beets, carrots, and enough broth just to cover. You will decide how liquid you want it later. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
4. Add the quinoa and a bit more broth. Cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.
5. Add the balsamic vinegar and black pepper and stir, then add the kale leaves on top. Add more broth if needed. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
6. Stir and taste. Add salt if needed. I didn't think it needed any adjustments. The natural flavors are so present that they need very little to go a long way.
The kale leaves were a very nice twist on the use of cabbage. It reminded me of the extra step they bring to Zuppa Toscana, my favorite "Restaurant" soup. They don't become rubbery and strange in the broth the way green cabbage does.
They were the Perfect topping..