Blini and Borscht

For today’s lunch, we decided to make a meal with a Russian twist. This culinary adventure began with an appetizer consisting of sourdough buckwheat pancakes, also known as blini. We followed this up with our main course, a vegetable stew with beets that is known as borscht.

Borscht is one of the most famous dishes in Russia, though its popularity does not stop there, also being widely consumed in Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Romania. Every nation (and every cook!) prepares it their own special way. Originally, the main ingredient was a wild-growing plant (Heracleum sphondylium), which is called “borshchevik” in Russian. From this, the dish came to inherit its name. Later, the “borshchevik” (known as hogweed in English) was replaced with beetroot, which has come to be the characteristic ingredient of this soup, giving it its unique color and taste. Other ingredients vary greatly but may include cabbage, carrot, garlic, onions, and potatoes. Sometimes traditional borscht also contains meat, but it is easy to make without. Vinegar is sometimes added to the soup to give it a sour taste. Similar methods of soup-making are shared among many Slavic nations.

Many recipes involve an incredibly complex preparation, sometimes involving cooking meat, potatoes, and cabbage in one pot while beet and onion and carrot are cooked in another; a third pot is used for mixing everything together. That being said, we like to keep things quick and simple at Hungry Pumpkin, so we opted for a simpler method; it definitely doesn’t hurt our feelings to have fewer dirty dishes to clean!

The blini is also a traditional dish from Russia and Ukraine. They are similar to pancakes except that they are made from leavened dough; they are also mostly made from buckwheat flour. Like pancakes, they are originally made with milk and eggs, and they are often served with sour cream and caviar. Naturally, we made a vegan version of this unique dish.


Recipe, preparation, and cost

 

Quantity

(g or ml)

Price for 4 person (EUR)

Borscht

Onion

100

0,11

Beets

150

0,51

Carrots

200

0,20

Cabbage

100

0,07

Chickpea

150

0,39

Salt

4

0,00

Blini

Buckwheat flour

200

0,56

Flax seeds flour

20

0,09

Yeast

20

0,13

Olive oil

5

0,03

Sauce for blini

Apple

100

0,18

Horseradish

10

0,10

Peanut butter

20

0,19

Salt

3

0,00

Pepper

2

0,06

Salad

Cabbage

200

0,14

Beans

100

0,15

Pumpkin seeds oil

15

0,18

Salt

6

0,00

Together

2,75

 

Since we used raw chickpeas in the making of our borscht, we had to soak and cook them a bit before making the soup. This does involve more preparation than many of our meals, but the chickpeas can be soaked overnight and forgotten about until cooking, so it is not a big-time investment. If you decide last-minute to make this, you could always just use canned chickpeas. 

For the soup, we cooked up a chopped onion in olive oil and then added diced carrots before adding water to cook it all together. Once the carrot was about half cooked, we added diced beets and the chickpeas that we had soaked overnight and then boiled on the stove for a while. We added enough water to cover all of our ingredients and then added some salt to season the dish. 

The bini were prepared from buckwheat and flax flour, yeast, and water. Once we had mixed the dough, we let it sit in a warm place for an hour to allow the yeast to rise. We then cooked the pancakes in a pan with a bit of oil just as you would for regular pancakes. To season our bini, we made a horseradish and apple spread. Raw apples slices, horseradish, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a bit of salt and pepper were all blended together. Just be wary, because too much horseradish will give this sauce much more of a kick than most of us would like! Since bini are traditionally eaten with caviar, we made our own vegan version. We soaked chia seeds in the remaining beet juice until they had become mucousy. We then seasoned it with a bit of salt, pepper, and cumin.

To really make for a healthy lunch, we also made a cabbage salad with white beans, which we salted and seasoned with pumpkin oil.

The price of our lunch for 4 came out to under 3€, meaning less than 0.70€ per person! The reason for the low price is that we mainly relied on seasonal ingredients available in our local store. The most expensive ingredient was the buckwheat flour and then the beets. We could have gotten the beets even cheaper though, as we had bought them already cooked, which is a bit more expensive than raw.


Nutritional Value

With lunch consumed quantity

% From daily needs

Energy

518,93

kcal

25,9

Proteins

19,71

g

35,2

Total fats

13,96

g

31,7

Carbohydrates

86,29

g

 

Starch

53,02

g

 

Sugar

14,37

g

 

Fibers

17,93

g

71,7

Calcium (Ca)

136,98

mg

13,7

Iron (Fe)

5,59

mg

55,9

Magnesium (Mg)

222,41

mg

55,6

Phosphorus (P)

428,79

mg

61,3

Potassium (K)

1298,89

mg

64,9

Sodium (Na)

1447,56

mg

263,2

Zinc (Zn)

4,03

mg

40,3

Copper (Cu)

0,74

mg

82

Manganese (Mn)

9,67

mg

420,4

Selenium (Se)

5,70

µg

11,4

Vitamin A

424,26

µg

42,4

Vitamin E

3,93

mg

26,2

Vitamin D

0,00

µg

0

Vitamin C

44,37

mg

44,4

Thiamin (B1)

0,71

mg

54,9

Riboflavin (B2)

0,36

mg

24,2

Niacin (B3)

6,54

mg

45,1

Pantothenic acid (B5)

1,71

mg

28,4

Vitamin B6

0,90

mg

60,1

Folic acid (B9)

344,34

µg

86,1

Vitamin B12

0,00

µg

0

Vitamin K

87,73

µg

125,3

 

As always, our lunch covered 25% of our caloric needs for the day. With this, we got 35.2% of our protein requirement, 71.7% for fiber, and 31.7% for fat. Our lunch was rich in both minerals and vitamins, giving us 55% of our daily requirements for iron and magnesium, 64% for potassium, and 40% for zinc. We did, however, fall a bit short on calcium and selenium. For vitamins, we got the most vitamin K and folic acid, though the meal was also rich in vitamins A, C, and B complex. As always, we failed to get vitamins D and B12 as these are not found in unfortified vegan foods.

If you have questions about today’s lunch (or ideas for future lunches) then feel free to write to us at info@hungry-pumpkin.com and we will get back to you!

Have a great weekend!

-The Hungry Pumpkin Team

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