Ukrainian borscht (beet soup)

I’m a big beets fan. I used to hate borscht as a kid but honestly I don’t think I have tried them then. And do you know what turned out? That, as always, my mom was right, it has amazing sweet and sour flavor. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of borscht (or barszcz) is Christmas Eve. It’s a tradition to have borscht that night, accompanied with uszka (mini pierogi stuffed with sauerkraut and mushrooms).

Polish barszcz and Ukrainian one are somewhat different. Ukrainian one contains beans and cabbage. I tried it for the first time at my husband’s Ukrainian grandma’s house on Christmas Eve and I loved it! That’s my take on her recipe.


I started with making broth. I put ribs in a deep cooking pot and cover with beef broth and fill with the water almost to the top. Then I added bay leaves, peppercorn and allspice and cooked it for about an hour. I removed ribs and white scum that created on top of the cooking pot.


I peeled potatoes, diced them and added to the broth. Then I added leek. After about 10 minutes I added shredded cabbage and beans and cooked for another 5 minutes.

In the meantime I chopped onion, celery and carrots.


I cut beets in little strips, some people grate them, I don’t do that only because it’s messy. Interestingly, in the past the base of borscht was beet leaves, with time it was substituted by the beetroot instead.


I used two separate frying pans. I fried beets on a little bit of oil, adding vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and tomato paste. Simmered for 10 minutes until beets were semi-soft. On the other pan I simmered carrots, onions and celery until soft but still crunchy. Then I added mashed garlic to the vegetables and fried for another minute.


Then I put the content of both pans in the broth and simmer for 10 minutes.


It is even better each time when it you heat it up. Put a dollop of sour cream on top and chopped dill.




If you tried that recipe and posted a pic or comment use hashtag #EasternEuropeanRecipes I’d love to see how it turned out!


  • 3 beets
  • 3 potatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • 5 celery stalks
  • 1 onion
  • 1 leek
  • 1/4 cabbage
  • 1 can of red beans
  • 1/2 cabbage
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups of beef broth
  • 1 tomato paste
  • 1/2 pork ribs
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 peppercorn
  • 4 whole allspice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of red crushed pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • dill


  1. Put ribs in the cooking pot cover with beef broth and cold water, add spices and cook for an hour.
  2. In the meantime chop onion, carrots, celery stalks and beets. Mash garlic.
  3. Add leek and diced potatoes to the broth, after 10 minutes add beans and cabbage and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. On one pan fry beets with lemon juice, sugar and tomato paste. On the other one fry diced onion, carrot and celery stalks and add garlic at the very end.
  5. Add the content of both pans to the broth and cook for another 10 minutes. Add paprika and red crushed pepper.
  6. Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top and topped with dill.

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