Appetizers,  Dairy Free,  Gluten Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Sides,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

Traditional Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

Today we’re talking about borscht, have you heard of it?


 

Haha, I have to reference a children’s moving and prove my inner kid here. If you’ve seen the Dreamworks animated movie Madagascar 3 then you might remember the Russian tiger mentioning his love for this soup. I also have a special love for this recipe because it was one of the very first ones that I shared here on my blog. Due to it being a popular post I felt it was long passed time to update it.

So in case you’ve never heard of this soup, it’s a traditional soup that is very common in many European countries. Honestly, I only know this because in 2006 my family became part of a hosting program. We had the pleasure of hosting two beautiful little girls from Ukraine during their visit to the states. We knew right away that God had planned for them to be part of our family all along. In 2007 they became my sisters and have been ever since. You would never know that they were not born into our family if you met them. People tell us all the time that we look so much alike and I can’t imagine life without them.

This recipe is something that they both enjoy for it’s nostalgic memories. You could just call this “A Whole Lot of Red Soup” I can see why it is such a traditional dish in Europe. It is so cheap to make and so healthy.

This recipe may not be as welcome in households with picky eaters. Mostly because of the color. I don’t know about you and your family but in my house there are a lot of visual picky eaters. Meaning that they will only try things that good to them, regardless of what it tastes like. My youngest siblings will decide whether or not they like something prior to tasting it. It is so frustrating!

I keep saying that I am going to get blindfolds to cover their eyes before they taste things because then they would eat way more things. This soup is really good and I think my entire family would like it but I won’t sugarcoat it and tell you they do. I did, however, get my little sister to try it when I told her about the sour cream that goes on top. You see, she has this thing for sour cream. I think she would eat a bowl of it by itself if we let her. She loved the fact that it turned the soup pink when you stirred it in.

Anyway, this is has become a favorite for some in my house and I’d love to know what you think of it if you decide to give it a try.

Take it home for yourself and give it a try!

Traditional Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

A classic soup in Eastern Europe, this borscht can be prepared a number of ways. This version is vegan and gluten free. So healthy!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 cups homemade vegetable broth/ or organic bouillon
  • 3 medium beets washed well and cubed
  • 3 large potatoes peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 3 medium carrots thinly sliced or shredded
  • 3 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 head red cabbage cored and shredded
  • 1 5 oz can tomato paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar or to taste optional
  • salt and papper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill chopped
  • coconut cream or unsweetened plain coconut or cashew yogurt for topping (optional) optional

Instructions

  1. Wash and chop all of your veggies and place them in a large pot. Pour in the vegetable stock and cover the pot. Place over medium high heat and bring to simmering boil. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes, or until the beets and potatoes are very tender.

  2. Add the tomato paste, sugar, dill, salt, and pepper then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Serve hot with desired toppings.

 


45 Comments

    • Rob

      My grandmother always used tartar crystals (not cream of tartar) which she could purchase from the druggist. It was also common to add beet leaves to the surface along with the sour cream.

  • Sue

    This soup was a hit at our gourmet Russian dinner. Most had seconds! I would definitely make it again. I used fresh dill instead of dried dill. I used crushed tomatoes as an alternative to tomato sauce. I used 1 litre of low salt veg stock and 500mls of water instead of 1.5 litres of stock. I also added 3 bay leaves to enrich flavour. It was a wonderful soup. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tori

      Thank you so much Sue! I am thrilled to know that you made this recipe and it was enjoyed at your dinner. Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

  • Joanne

    I just made this and it is wonderful! I made it as written minus the beet water step as my beets were already peeled and cooked. Have you tried freezing this soup?

  • Irina

    I am Ukrainian. There are many different recipes of this Borshch, but I if you don’t mind I’ll give you some helpful tips.
    First, 3 beets are just too much. 1 beet is enough, maximum 2. And you don’t need to cook them ahead of time.
    Second. You didn’t mention one of the most important ingredient. Can of beans.
    Third. This soup needs something sour in it. That’s where sourcream comes in handy. You can substitute part of fresh fresh cabbage for sauerkraut
    There are many other changes you can make to this recipe. You can add green beans, parsley, mushrooms…. but you got basic soup and you can adjust it to your liking.

    • Tori

      Hi Irina! Thanks for these awesome tips to make authentic borschch. It’s easy to find recipe ideas for different foods of the word all across the internet, but I feel like you can never get the correct flavors of any traditional food until you talk to someone who’s been there. That’s why I’m really excited to try your tweaks and see what my sisters think! Thanks again!

      • Betty

        Glad you are aware that it is “BORSHCH” and not “BORSCHT”. Maybe you could change your headline accordingly? Thanks.

        By the way, the optional sour cream is not enough to give borshch the necessary sourness. Either lemon juice or “sour salt” (citric acid crystals) is added at the end. But it’s important to not put too much in there – just the right amount. You’ll figure it out! Tks.

    • Mola

      Beans are an option/ personal preference . I personally don’t like beans in my soup and it’s not a main ingredient it’s a optional one. Same with the sour cream, , some use vinegar for the sour taste. There’s so much you can do with this soup there’s not really a “correct way” this is a great recipe

    • Debbie

      My first experience with borshch as a child was my Polish Jewish Aunt’s sour, beety concoction, which I strongly disliked. Later I obtained an authentic Ukrainian borshch recipe that was delightful, adapted to foods found in America. I’ve lost the recipe since, but still remember most of the ingredients. I’m not sure but I think it may have included a green bell pepper as well as garlic. The other ingredients I remember vividly; one 64 oz. can tomato juice, ONE beet only, one rutabaga, some onion, carrot, potato, cabbage and a bay leaf. Everything was chopped or grated before cooking, then blended after cooking. The soup was dolloped with sour cream in the center before serving.

      • Tori

        Thanks for your comment, Debbie. I hope you have the chance to make and enjoy some borscht this Winter season. Have a great weekend!

  • Shelby

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Our family adopted 4 kids from Ukraine in September through a hosting program. My sister has been requesting borscht since she came home. This recipe was so easy and a huge hit! Thank you! Such a blessing 🙂

    • Tori

      Oh my goodness, thank you Shelby! This comment made my whole day. I’m so glad your family liked this recipe and your story sounds amazing. Wow, 4 kids, that’s wonderful. I hope you all have a blessed holiday season and a Merry Christmas!

      • Tori

        Haha, actually my sister DID tell me that and so I’ve learned how to properly pronounce it even though it can be spelled more than one way. Thanks for reading, Betty!

  • John Davies

    Small World
    My wife and I adopted a twelve year old from Ismail
    Ukraine in 2010. He is now 19..Came home from college
    and asked me to make Borcht. Thanks for the recipe.
    Bring back memories of a hot meal on very cold nights
    as we travelled the country to complete the adoption.
    Now it’s on to varanikys!

    • Tori

      Wow, that is amazing. I’m so glad that you found this recipe then. I know my sisters really enjoy it so I hope your family will too. Thanks, John!

  • Regan

    I just tried this tonight. I had a toddler racing around me so there were some steps a bit botched (I peeled and chopped the beets before cooking, oops) which meant the color wasn’t as dark as I expected – but the flavor was wonderful! My two year old even enjoyed it. Who knew this was a toddler-friendly recipe? 🙂 thank you for sharing it, I’m putting it in the rotation.

    • Tori

      Oh my goodness, thank you so much Regan! I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear that, and yes, it’s a great soup for little ones and I always enjoy how nutritious it is for them too! Merry Christmas!

  • Mark

    Hi Tori,
    I made this recipe as you have written, with only a few small adjustments. It was delicious and I had the question about what is a good accompaniment for this soup? It is a substantial soup, but I felt like I need something to serve together, such as potatoes or a nice rye bread.

    I have seen in other recipes the addition of bay leaf, garlic, paprika, and I like spicy food so these are probably a good addition.

    The sour cream really adds a lot to the dish; so nice to have a spoonful of hot soup with the cool sour cream and dill, which I love.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Tori

      I completely agree, this soup is a great dish to serve with something on the side and rye sounds delicious. Thanks so much, Mark. I’m so glad to hear from you!

  • Annelies

    Can you tell me how much this yields in litres or cups? I’m not sure what 10 means. I want to make a large batch of this for a soup exchange and need to calculate to bring the recipe to yield 9 litres. Thanks in advance!

    • Tori

      Hi Annelies, thanks for reading! The amount of soup for this recipe will vary a little based on the cook time and ingredients but for me it usually makes around 10 cups. I hope you find this helpful and that you enjoy the recipe!

  • johanne Hulshof

    I made this recipe after my elderly mother’s naturopath recommended adding it to her diet. I am a huge fan of soups but have you admit I was a bit unsure about this one but it is absolutely delicious and I’ll be adding the recipe to my collection! Thanks do much!

  • Andrew Misiak

    This is the third time I’ve prepared this Borscht /Боршт recipe. Always has been successful. The rich flavor and color of this soup is the best selling point. I’ve shared this recipe with my Facebook friends, and others alike. I gave them suggestions and firm rule about NOT throwing out the beet water from the first step of boiling the beets to tenderize them. I’ve prepared the Borscht meatless and also with meat like pork spareribs or beef. To add more protein, I’ve also added white navy beans that were cold soaked in water overnight to the mix. Wonderful. All good, all successful! This morning thirty Ziplock tubs are filled and freezing solid for future lunches or to take away the cold days of Alberta for any shut in friend that just needs a friendly visit. Firm rule – NEVER walk into someone’s house empty handed! Let this Borscht be the dot crasher for you! Garlic….. I love my garlic, and two-three cloves seems so little. I ramped it up to my liking, and the Borscht was not affected one bit. This morning’s taste test was a yes….satisfaction to a culinary creation. AND, not extra salt needed. Just fine!
    Thank you! ????????‍?

    • Tori

      I’m so happy to hear that. It completely makes my day and thank you for taking the time to stop by and leave such a sweet comment.

  • Andrew Misiak

    This is the third time I’ve prepared this Borscht /Боршт recipe. Always has been successful. The rich flavor and color of this soup is the best selling point. I’ve shared this recipe with my Facebook friends, and others alike. I gave them suggestions and firm rule about NOT throwing out the beet water from the first step of boiling the beets to tenderize them. I’ve prepared the Borscht meatless and also with meat like pork spareribs or beef. To add more protein, I’ve also added white navy beans that were cold soaked in water overnight to the mix. Wonderful. All good, all successful! This morning thirty Ziplock tubs are filled and freezing solid for future lunches or to take away the cold days of Alberta for any shut in friend that just needs a friendly visit. Firm rule – NEVER walk into someone’s house empty handed! Let this Borscht be the door crasher for you! Garlic….. I love my garlic, and two-three cloves seems so little. I ramped it up to my liking, and the Borscht was not affected one bit. This morning’s taste test was a yes….satisfaction to a culinary creation. AND, not extra salt needed. Just fine!
    Thank you! ????????‍?

  • Leah

    Made this tonight and it’s so delish!
    I wasn’t able to use the beet water because it looked kinda dirty- I tried washing them really well before but still found floaties in the water after… I just put extra broth and a bit of water. Either way I loved it and will definitely be using this recipe again and again! Thanks for sharing it!

    • Tori

      Hi Barbara. I always peel the beets first. I suppose you could wash and cook them but I don’t like the texture. Have a great day. 😉

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