Ukrainian Meatless Beet Soup (Borshch) Recipe

Beet Soup
Beet Soup. © Philippe Desnerck / Getty Images
  • 90 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: 8 cups Borschch (5 servings)
Ratings (14)

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.

Here is a larger photo of Ukrainian Meatless Beet Soup or Borshch.

What You'll Need

  • 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 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

How to Make It

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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. It is traditional to serve soft white rolls (bulochky) with garlic oil on the side.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 350
Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Unsaturated Fat 4 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 265 mg
Carbohydrates 65 g
Dietary Fiber 17 g
Protein 14 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)