You Can’t Beet These Recipes: vegetable salad with beets (daržovių-mišrainė ar vinagretas), tangy beet salad (burokėlių salotos), ukrainian borsch (ukrainietiški-barščiai), easy borsch (lengvi barščiai)

East and Central Europeans have always been fond of beet dishes, and Lithuanians are no exception. Try these and see how you like them.

Daržovių mišrainė – Vinagretas

4 medium potatoes
3 medium red beets
2 carrots
1 onion or some scallions
1 egg
2 pickles
1/2 cup white beans
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt, sugar to taste Parsley for garnish

Separately boil potatoes, beets, carrots and beans. Potatoes should be cooked unpeeled, carrots should be diced and cooked in a small amount of water with a little fat added. Beans should be soaked in cold water overnight, then boiled in salted water. Red beets are best cooked or baked unpeeled. When cooked and cooled, peel the vegetables (if necessary), dice and place into a wide dish. Add peeled, diced pickles, finely chopped onion, salt, sugar, dash of pepper, and adding the cream, mix lightly and carefully with two forks. Now the salad is ready for putting into the serving dish and garnishing with slices of hard boiled egg and parsley.

The base of this salad is potatoes and red beets, the other vegetables may be changed or varied. Sauerkraut, or fresh shredded cabbage, may be used instead of pickles. Fresh vegetables in season may always be added to this salad. Meat or fish may also be added if desired. Oil may be substituted for sour cream, but it should be used sparingly.

Note: This is a very popular Lithuanian traditional dish, and there are as many variations of it as there are cooks. It goes well as a side dish with ham, beef, turkey and other meats, or it could be a meal in itself. It’s usually eaten during various holidays, particularly Kučios or Christmas Eve.

Burokėlių salotos

2 cups cooked beets, sliced and chilled
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium green pepper, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Dash of tabasco
1/4 tsp. cilantro
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Combine all ingredients together and toss gently. Chill well before serving.

Ukrainietiški baršciai

2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
1 1/4 lbs. lean stewing beef trimmed of visible fat and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
3 cans beef broth plus enough water to make 6 cups liquid, divided
4-5 parsnips, peeled and coarsely grated
2 stalks celery cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 bunch beets, trimmed, peeled and coarsely grated
1 16-ounce can tomato puree
3-6 Tbsp. red wine vinegar or lemon juice
1-2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 small green or red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup nonfat yogurt or sour cream (optional)

In a large heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Pat meat dry; in two batches brown meat on all sides; remove and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and heat remaining oil. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and lightly browned-about 6 m inutes. Stir in meat, 3 cups of the liquid, parsnip, celery, beets, tomato puree, vinegar or lemon juice, sugar and pepper.

Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, until meat is tender about 1 hour. In large p ot combine remaining broth, potatoes and cabbage. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Remove from heat. When the meat is cooked, stir in contents of second pot and simmer, partly covered, until heated through – about 10 minutes. Serve hot with dollop of yogurt or sour cream if desired.

Lengvi barščiai

1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup onions, peeled and chopped
1 cup beets, peeled and chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup cabbage, finely shredded
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 clove minced garlic

Peel and finely chop carrots, onions and beets. Place in pan with garlic, barely cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer about 20 minutes. Add chicken broth, cabbage and vinegar and simmer another 15 minutes. Serve hot.