Solyanka is an old Russian soup that, in its original form, always contains a lot of meat. The most classical version includes 7 different types of meat, including kidneys. So the recipe I am sharing with you is definitely not an authentic one, but it sure is delicious. I promise you that the taste is still very similar to the original one and is so much better for the body. If you have a meat addict in the house, feel free to let them add some meat products (leftover roast, frankfurters, salami, whatever they like) to the soup after it is ready. I do add eat meat sometimes, but I don’t feel it is necessary to use it in this recipe, and I definitely would never add 7 different types of meat in my soup. Who would even have so many various meat products just lying around in the fridge?
Anyhow, meat or not – the essential things in this recipe are onions, pickles, black pepper, tomato paste, and olives. The mushrooms are definitely not mandatory, but I like mushrooms, and they fit well here. The soup needs to be sour, salty, and a little spicy from black pepper. I sometimes also add capers and lemon slices if my pickles are not sour enough. All in all, it is a balancing act as most soups are.
To serve, I recommend enjoying a slice of dark rye bread with the warming bowl. Many people in Estonia also like to add sour cream directly to the soup. I personally am not a fan of sour cream in a hot soup, but as 90% of people seem to love it I figured, it would be good to give you this recommendation too
Vegan Solyanka Soup
Cooking time: 30 minutes
3 large onions
2 celery stalks
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
6 large sour pickles
10 oz mushrooms
1 cup of tomato paste (the strong stuff of at least 25%, nut just jarred tomatoes)
4-5 cups of hot vegetable stock
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 bay leaves
20 black olives
Peel and chop the onion (I like to use half circles in this recipe, but it doesn’t really matter). Chop the celery. Place both in a pot with the oil and sprinkle of salt, and throw in the bay leaves. Sweat at medium temperature, giving it a mix every few minutes until the onion is translucent and slightly starts to brown.
In the meantime, chop up the mushrooms and add them to the pan once the onion is translucent – increase the heat and let the mushrooms mingle with onions and celery for a few minutes.
Chop up the pickles and add them to the pot with tomato paste. Mix everything well and season with a lot of black pepper.
Pour the veggie stock and give the soup another mix. Add in the halved olives, taste and season the soup more if you feel like it.
Leave to boil for 5-10 minutes and serve with rye bread.
By Kadri Raig
Kadri is a food blogger and yoga teacher from Estonia. She loves to spend time in the kitchen, but most of her recipes are simple and don’t take more than 20 minutes of active cooking time. She thinks that everybody can find time to cook healthy food at home, it is just a question of planning. "I work in an office full time, teach yoga 7-8 hours a week and write a blog. So if I manage to cook most of my meals, then so do you!" Connect with Kadri and enjoy many more of her delicious healthy recipes on her website here: www.kahvliga.ee.
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