Vegan Rassolnik (Lentil and Barley Soup with Pickles)

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  16 servings
Prep Time:  30 minutes Cook Time:  55 minutes

Vegan Rassolnik (Lentil and Barley Soup with Pickles)

Pickles offer a zingy contrast to the hearty vegetables in this vegan version of the traditional Russian soup.


2 teaspoon olive oil

2 tablespoons tomato paste

12 cups Roasted Vegetable Stock or low-sodium store-bought vegetable stock

¾ cup barley, rinsed

1 cup lentils, rinsed

1 pound beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice (see Kitchen Tip)

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds (about 1 cup)

4 large potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3½ cups)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped (about 1 cup packed)

½ cup strained half-sour pickle juice (see Kitchen Tip)

½ large yellow or Spanish onion, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice

2 stalks celery, cut into ½-inch dice (about ¾ cup)

2 bunches fresh dill, roughly chopped (about 2 cups packed)

6 bay leaves

2 teaspoons freshly ground allspice

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 large sour dill pickles, diced (about 1½ cups)


  1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot set over high heat until it shimmers. Add the tomato paste and stir constantly for 45 seconds. Add the stock and stir to combine. Add the barley, lentils, beets, carrots, and potatoes, stir gently, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the barley and lentils are each partially cooked and slightly softened.
  2. Add the salt, parsley, pickle juice, onion, celery, all but 2 teaspoons of the dill, the bay leaves, allspice, and black pepper, and stir. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until the carrots and celery are tender-crisp, the potatoes are soft when poked with a tip of a sharp knife, the barley is cooked through, and the lentils are beginning to break apart. Remove the bay leaves.
  3. Ladle into bowls, garnish each bowl with 2 tablespoons diced pickle and reserved fresh dill, and serve immediately.

Kitchen Tips

  1. The only way to handle beets is to use disposable gloves…or be prepared to have stained fingers afterward.
  2. Pickle juice is just like it sounds; measure out ½ cup of the brine from the pickle jar, strain and add to the soup.
  3. If you are serving this as a vegetarian and not a vegan dish, you can garnish each each bowl with 2 tablespoons sour cream along with the pickles and dill.

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