Ukrainian Meatless Beet Soup (Borshch)

Beet Soup
Beet Soup

Philippe Desnerck / Getty Images

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 5 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
350 Calories
7g Fat
65g Carbs
14g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5
Amount per serving
Calories 350
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 265mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 65g 24%
Dietary Fiber 17g 59%
Protein 14g
Calcium 282mg 22%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Ukrainian Meatless Beet Soup or borshch has a little tomato paste in it besides cabbage, onions and other vegetables.

This meatless version of Ukrainian beet soup is served on fast days and for Christmas Eve when it is part of the traditional sviat vechir or svyat vechir, a traditional 12-dish meal.

A kolach, or a braided, ring-shaped bread, symbolic of eternity and life, serves as a centerpiece for the meal but is not eaten until December 25 because it contains eggs, which are not eaten during Advent.


  • 3 beetroots (red, raw)
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms (dried)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 large carrot (peeled and diced)
  • Optional: 1 large potato (peeled and diced)
  • 1/2 parsley root (peeled and julienned)
  • 1 piece celery (diced)
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1/2 head cabbage (shredded)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (white, or beet kvas or lemon juice)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dill (chopped)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup cooked white beans
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: sour cream, more chopped dill

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Cook 3 red beets in boiling water just until the skins slip off easily. Place in cold water and, when cool enough to handle, peel. Cut beets into thin strips and set aside.

  3. Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, pour enough boiling water to cover over 1/2 cup dried mushrooms and let soak for 1 hour. Carefully remove from soaking liquid so as not to disturb the grit at the bottom of the bowl, and chop. Strain soaking liquid and reserve.

  4. In a soup pot, sauté 1 large diced onion in 2 tablespoons oil until translucent. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and sauté 1 minute longer. Add 1 large peeled and diced carrot, 1 large peeled and diced potato (if using), 1/2 peeled and julienned parsley root, 1 diced celery rib, 3 black peppercorns, chopped drained mushrooms, strained mushroom soaking liquid, peeled beets and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are al dente. Add 1/2 head shredded cabbage and cook until tender.

  5. Add 2 tablespoons beet kvas or white vinegar or lemon juice to give the soup its characteristic sour taste, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tablespoon chopped dill, 1/2 cup cooked white beans (if using), and salt and pepper to taste. Cook 5 minutes longer and serve hot with sour cream and dill garnish.

  6. Enjoy!


  • It is traditional to serve soft white rolls (bulochky) with garlic oil on the side.