Recipe: Borscht (Russian Beet Soup)

Since we grew quite a few beets in our garden this year, I’ve been meaning to try making borscht, a hearty Russian beet soup. Today I spotted this recipe at, and gave it my own tweaks changed it til it was barely recognizable. (I doubled the quantities below and ended up with enough for two meals for my crew.)


Preparation Time: 1 hour 15 minutes, mostly cooking time
Serves: 8


* 6 cups beef broth (I used bouillon cubes and water)
* 2 cups pureed tomatoes (about 3-4 tomatoes, whirred in blender til smooth)
* 1 pound ground beef, browned and excess fat drained off
* 1 large onion, minced
* 2 large beets, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
* 1 cup roughly chopped fresh spinach
* 1 cup uncooked white rice
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage (or dill)
* 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
* Salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef in a deep heavy pot, draining off most of the grease after cooking. Add onion and cook a few minutes with ground beef, until onion is soft and translucent. Add beets, carrots, beef broth, garlic, rice, and tomato puree. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, or until beets and carrots are beginning to soften. Add potatoes, cabbage, spinach, sage or dill, and balsamic vinegar. Simmer for 30 more minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle soup into bowls. Top with sour cream and a little fresh sage or dill, if desired.


  1. That actually sounds really good. My husband will LOVE IT! Thanks!

  2. The summer that I spent in Belarus, I was dreading the whole beet soup thing…but I found out when I got there and had to eat it that it was actually really good! I haven’t had it since I was there – a lot of years ago. I’m going to have to try your version. Looks like we are swapping soup recipes today! Thanks!

  3. I was seriously going to look up a recipe for borscht after I read my blog roll…looks like you’ll save me a search!

  4. This is one of my favorite soups. Although in those swanky Chicago restaurants, they serve it cold. It’s still good though. Mm.

  5. My Russian room mate in college used to always make this.
    An oldie but goodie!

  6. We grew beets too. All I’ve done is wrap them in foil and roast them in the oven, then peel, cube and put a pat of butter on them. Oh–and cook the greens up like chard. I’ll have to try your borscht. It just started pouring rain here in California so soup will be on the menu for sure!

  7. We’re Polish, so our Borscht is different, but this sounds good too. One thing we always do is use the beet tops as the greens in the soup rather than spinach…very tasty & nutritious. Also, I’ve found that if you can find the paste type of beef bouillon, it gives it a much richer flavor than the cube or powder kind…not always easy to find though.

  8. My grandmother used to make borscht. I didn’t like it then and haven’t tried it since. The ingredient list you shared doesn’t resemble anything close to what I remember being in gma’s soup. Maybe I need to try it again.

  9. Jacqueline Strawder says:

    I love beets…but have never tried borscht..I didn’t know it had ground beef in it?

  10. The ground beef was just my adaptation– prob not very authentic. But it tasted good and was what I had in the house at the time!

  11. i grew up eating this at my gramma’s house..:)

  12. Just found your blog, and was so thrilled to see my DH’s favorite recipe (we do it slightly differently, of course). He is a huge borscht fan! I’ve never tried balsamic vinegar before, but I’ll give that a try next time we make this soup.

    We frequently use ground beef as well, so it’s not just you 🙂 I think the Russian borscht-and-piroshky (SP?) restaurant near the college campus also used ground beef, and that was where we learned to do it.

    Note for serving picky toddler girls: Add cream before serving, and call it “pink soup”. 😉

  13. Just wanted to let you know that this recipe has become a staple in our house! It is so beautiful, yummy and healthy. My co-workers were always so intrigued by it when I ate leftovers for lunch. Now that I’m home with our baby, I’m looking forward to feeding it to her some day!