This Instant Pot Borscht is healthy and delicious. It’s a perfect and affordable way to stay warm during winter while eating cozy and comforting vegan and gluten-free soup. Making it in a pressure cooker means that you don’t have to stir the pot. It’s easy to make and easier to eat.
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Hello, January! I really wanted to start this year with pancakes. It sort of became a tradition on my blog. I made delicious Giant Double Banana Pancakes as my first post of 2017. And 2016 started with Gluten-free Banana and Ricotta Pancakes, ok, it was the second post of that year but still, it counts.
And this year was supposed to be another pancake recipe. It was Buckwheat Ricotta Pancakes that were on my mind. I made them. I ate them. I enjoyed them. I did not photograph them.
So, instead I am starting this blog year with a delicious and healthy soup from my childhood. Maybe it’ll be my new yearly tradition since the actual first recipe of 2016 was a Russian Quick, Easy, and Affordable Canned Salmon Soup.
I’ve been using my Instant Pot a few times a week for almost two months now. I am still not convinced it’s a game changer as many people say. It is definitely a good appliance and I like using it, for example to make my Instant Pot Gingerbread Cheesecake for Two, but it is not a necessity in my mind.
In fact, I will be writing an article with a few points to know about Instant Pot before buying it. (Update: I wrote the article about 7 Things You Need To Know Before Buying Instant Pot) That said, I do find it useful for quite a few recipes and this Instant Pot Borscht is one of them.
Is Borscht Ukrainian or Russian or…?
Being born in Russia means that I’ve eaten my share of Borschts in my life. There are tons of recipes for an authentic Borscht. Some say it’s traditionally Ukrainian, some say it’s Russian. It’s most definitely part of Slavic cuisine.
Is Instant Pot Borscht an authentic recipe?
Nope! But it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. There are as many recipes for Borscht in Russia as there are recipes for Apple Pie in North America. Most borschts are made with beef stock and pieces of meat from the beef bones.
Some use beet juice, some have beans added to the mixture. I grew up eating vegetarian borscht and my recipe for Instant Pot Borscht is just that: vegetables, vegetables, and more vegetables.
Traditionally, Borscht is eaten with a big heaping spoonful of sour cream but I omitted it in the recipe to make the soup vegan. If you aren’t vegan then feel free to add some sour cream, plain yogurt, or a little bit of mayo (mayo is also something commonly added to soups in Russia).
I’ve only made borscht a few times in my life before. The problem with it was that beets notoriously take a very long time to cook, so the soup had to be made in stages. You first had to cook the beets and only when they were almost done you could add the rest of the ingredients.
Making Instant Pot Borscht and cutting the vegetables in different sizes means that everything could be cooked together. I made this Pressure Cooker Borscht a few times already since getting my Instant Pot.
I usually dice the beets in very small cubes, maybe 1/4 inch in size and I cut the potatoes in much larger 1-1.5 inch pieces. This way both the beets and the potatoes cook at the same rate.
How long does it take to make Instant Pot Borscht?
Many recipes online will claim that Instant Pot makes everything almost instantly. You may even be amazed when you see the details of this recipe. Yes, it cooks in my Instant Pot in 13 minutes. You read it right, 13 minutes!!!
But, but, but… This is my biggest beef (or beet? yes, no? not funny, ok, moving on…) with all the Instant Pot blogger recipes, no-one tells you that the pressure cooker takes time to actually come to pressure and then it takes time to release the pressure.
Yes, it’s usually mentioned in recipes in passing but more often then not no real numbers are given.
In this particular Instant Pot Borscht recipe, it takes about 32 minutes to come to pressure, then 13 minutes to cook, then another 5 minutes to release the pressure. Don’t forget that there’s at least 5-7 minutes of sautéing, and cutting and chopping everything takes minimum 20 minutes but most likely 30 minutes.
So, the 13 minutes in Pressure Cooker now becomes almost 1.5 hours. I still will take this recipe over the more traditional stove-top method any time.
I like the idea of putting everything in my pressure cooker and walking away. I like that I don’t have to watch it and cook it in stages and stir. But although I am very tempted to say that it’s a 13 minute Instant Pot Borscht, I can’t do that.
I discovered Better Than Bouillon stock base about a decade ago and it’s one of my absolutely favourite products. They have many different kinds and I always stock up (yes, pun very much intended) on the jars if they are ever on sale at my local Costco. Unfortunately, this brand isn’t easy to find in Canada otherwise.
If you don’t have this miracle product, feel free to use your favourite brand of vegetable stock, or you could even omit it altogether and just use water. You’ll notice in the recipe and the video that I don’t add any seasoning to the soup before cooking it.
I don’t use a lot of salt in my cooking and there’s enough sodium in the stock already. I prefer to add a bit of salt to my bowl directly. However, if you use just water to make this soup, you may want to add about one teaspoon of salt or more to taste.
The soup is healthy and delicious. It’s a perfect way to start the year and it’s amazing to boost your immune system. It’s also very affordable as it uses beets and cabbage that usually don’t cost a lot at grocery stores.
Instant Pot Borscht is a great way to eat in January to stay healthy and to recover from all the costs associated with December.
Do you want more Beet Recipes?
- Cinnamon Beet Pancakes
- Cold Beet Soup
- Russian Beet Salad with Prunes and Pecans
- Chocolate Ravioli with Ricotta-Beet Filling
- 27 Unbeatable Beet Recipes
If you think Instant Pot Borscht is a complicated recipe to make, think again! Watch this video to see how easy it is!
Instant Pot Borscht
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 pound carrots (2 large)
- 1/4 pound onion (1 medium)
- 1 pound beets (3 medium)
- 1+3/4 pound potatoes (6 medium)
- 1 pound cabbage (1/2 cabbage head)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 3 cloves garlic (optional)
- dill (optional)
- salt, pepper to taste
Prepare all the vegetables first
- Finely dice the onions.
- Shred the carrots. I prefer doing it using my food processor but you could use a manual grater.
- Peel and dice the beets into 1/4 inch pieces.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into 1-1.5 inch pieces.
- Remove the core from the cabbage and finely shred it. I like also cutting each long cabbage shred in half so that they aren't too long.
Make the Instant Pot Borscht
- Turn your Instant Pot on and choose the sauté function.
- Add the olive oil and wait until it gets hot.
- Add the diced onions and shredded carrots and cook for about 5-7 minutes while stirring it with a spatula or a wooden spoon. I find that Instant Pot sauté function cooks vegetables faster than the stove, so in about 5-7 minutes this amount of vegetables will become quite soft.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot.
- Close the lid, turn the pressure valve to Sealing, choose either Manual mode or Pressure cooker mode (depending on your model) and use the arrows to select cook time of 13 minutes.
- It took 32 minutes to come to pressure for me but I used cold tap water. if you use room temperature water/stock, it may take a few minutes less.
- Once the 13 minutes of pressure cooking are up and your Instant Pot beeps that it's done do a manual quick release. I like putting a small kitchen towel on the pressure release valve to contain the steam a little bit. It took about 5 minutes to fully release the pressure.
- Carefully open the lid, the borscht will be hot and steaming. Add minced garlic if using.
- Serve sprinkled with chopped dill.