Vegetarian Borscht (Russian Beetroot Soup)

Borscht must be the most famous recipe, which roots can be traced in many East European countries. Our recipe is a traditional one, but with a twist, because it’s vegetarian. The traditional borscht is usually cooked with bone broth and in fact lots of meat, and it’s been one of the most fabourite satisfying dishes for centuries. Surprisingly, however, making borscht a vegetarian soup and omitting meat completely, doesn’t make it a less delicious treat. The strong flavour comes form spices, herbs, and slightly fried vegetables. Try our recipe at home, and you will see it for yourself!

By the way, if you buy beets in the farmers market with the tops, check out our beet tops recipe, showing how oyu can turn these delicious, and very nutritious but underrated greens into a dish on its own.

Ingredients (4-6 portions):

  • 1/2 cabbage head (about 300 gramm)
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 large beetroot
  • 2 average-sized carrots
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 tsp coriander (optional)
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • salt to taste, cooking oil
  • for garnishing: fresh dill, fresh hacked garlic


Step 1. First, prepare all the vegetables: wash them, peel and cut in the desired shape.

Step 2. Bring water to boil (about 2.5 l), add cabbage and potato and cook until almost ready, about 15-20 minutes. If you want the cabbage to be a little crunchy, then boil potatoes for 10 minutes at first, then add the cabbage.

Step 3. Slightly fry the beetroot on high heat. It’s necessary to do, so that beetroot can keep its color when it’s boiled. Fry the beetroot for about 5 minutes, unti lthe edges of it start turning slightly golden. Add  fried beetroot to the boiling vegetables, and keep boiling on a low heat, for another 10 minutes.

Step 4. Meanwhile, fry carrots and onions together. When they are nicely cooked, and the onions become golden brown, but not too dry, add topmatoes. Cook on a medium heat until the tomatoes become very soft an pulpy. Add spices and salt. Mix everything nicely and take off the heat.

Step 5. Add fried carrots, onions and tomatoes with spices to the rest of the vegetables, boiling in the pot. Boil for 2 more minutes, then take off the stove, cover with the lid and keep aside for at least half an hour before serving.

Borscht tastes the best the next day, or at least a few hours after it was cooked, because only then all the flavours blend together just perfectly.

Traditionally, borscht is served with sour cream, but it fully depends on your own taste preferences and a type of diet you follow. To make it more sour without adding dairy, you can mix in a bit of high quality vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice. This beetroot soup also tastes best with fresh garlic and dill, sprinkled on top.

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