Bread, Soups, Vegan, Vegan on a Shoestring

Ukrainian Lentil, Beetroot and Potato Borscht + Black Bread.


A fabulous, traditional, hearty, lentil and vegetable Borscht with classic Ukrainian flavours.  Served on this occasion, with a traditional Ukrainian dense rich rye bread.

And they go deliciously well together, they really do.  (The considered opinion of my taste-testers! 🙂 )

Here in the UK it remains unseasonably chilly,  and thick warming soups such as this are just the ticket.  A simple rustic recipe, that requires no frills or fancy trimmings just a lot of chopping …ha…. and a few herbs and spices.

Once the chopping’s done, put it all together and just sit back and wait….

The bread requires little effort, just time and warmth to prove…. twice.

Lentil and Vegetable Borscht + Black Bread





  • 300gms. beetroot
  • 350gms. carrots
  • 500gms.potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • approx. 200gms. hard green cabbage
  • 2 tomatoes
  • lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsps. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs. tomato puree
  • 1.5 L light vegetable stock
  • 100ml. red wine ( or 40-50ml. red wine vinegar)
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • Handful chopped parsley and chives to garnish


  • Peel, wash and grate beetroot.
  • Peel wash and chop carrots fairly small: 1 cm?
  • Peel wash and dice potatoes.
  • Peel and finely chop onion.
  • Wash and shred cabbage leaves.
  • Wash lentils.
  • Cut a cross in the top of the tomatoes, then immerse tomatoes in boiling water for 10mins. Then remove skins, and chop finely.
  • Grind cumin, celery seed, salt and black pepper to a fine powder.
  • In a deep large casserole, on a high heat,add 2 tbs. olive oil.
  • Add 2 bay leaves – let them sizzle for 10 secs.
  • Add onions: saute 2 mins.
  • Add carrots: saute 3 mins.
  • Add potatoes: saute  3 mins.
  • Add washed lentils: sauté 2 mins.
  • Reduce heat and add salt+spice mix : sauté gently: 1 min.
  • Add grated beetroot + diced, skinned tomatoes.
  • Add wine or 50ml. red wine vinegar.
  • Add 1.5L vegetable stock.
  • Add 2 tbs. tomato puree.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 60 mins. ..or so.
  • Add shredded cabbage and re-cover, and simmer for  30 mins. or so.  Until vegetables are very tender.  The borscht will continue to thicken, and improve in flavour, during a longer cooking period.

10 mins before serving, taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.


Ukrainian Black Bread


serves 4-6


  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 330gms. rye flour
  • 50gms. buckwheat flour
  • 10gms. salt
  • 8 gms. fast-acting yeast
  • 50ml. warm water
  • 2 tsps. blackstrap molasses
  • 150ml. strong black coffee


  • Add yeast to warm water and stir in.
  • Add 2 tsps. molasses to yeast/water mix and combine well.
  • Leave until yeast is bubbling and fragrant. 10 mins.?
  • In a large bowl, mix rye flour, buckwheat flour and salt together.
  • Add coffee and yeast mix to dry ingredients and combine thoroughly.
  • Bring together to form a dough.
  • Knead gently for approx. 6-8 mins.
  • The dough will be quite difficult to work.  Use wet hands if necessary.
  • Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover, and leave in a warm place, wrapped in a blanket.
  • When the dough has doubled in size, remove from the bowl, and form the bread shape. (I made a long oval shape).  Place on a lightly-oiled baking tray.
  • Cover with damp kitchen towel, and leave in a warm place to prove.
  • *The dough will not rise substantially. It will become softer to the touch.


  • Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mk 9/240C.
  • Place a pan of water in the oven to create a steamy atmosphere.
  • When ready to bake, slit the top of the loaf several times and sprinkle with rye flour.
  • Bake for 20 mins.
  • Reduce heat to Gas Mk.6/200C and bake for a further 20-25 mins.
  • Remove from oven.  Allow to cool wrapped in a clean tea towel to keep moist.

Serve warm with Borscht.

Garnish Borscht with chopped parsley, chopped chives and nutritional yeast flakes…






When will Spring Arrive?







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