I can’t believe it took me 2.5 years since I started blogging to post Ukrainian borscht recipe – a true classic food every Ukrainian grew up on!
There are as many variations of a Russian – Ukrainian borscht recipe as there are regions and families. Everyone makes it differently, even within the same family. It can be vegan, vegetarian, with beef, pork or even chicken. All of the girls in my family – mom, grandma, sister, aunt and me, made it differently. That is even in the same kitchen we all used to share (I grew up in quite different living conditions than I enjoy nowadays – 1,300 sq.ft. 4 bedroom apartment, 1 bathroom and 1 kitchen shared between 3 families). Even my sister-in-law and mother-in-law cook their borscht differently.
If you don’t know what borscht is, it is a sweet sour soup with cabbage, beets, sour cream and dill. Beans and meat are variations of it.
I like my borscht kind of thicker, full of vegetables, with lots of beans. It is super tasty soup traditionally made with beef soup bones but lately we gravitate more towards plant-based diet and my vegan version has no lack of flavours. Essentially, Ukrainian borscht is a superfood and a meal in itself. Like a good bottle of wine, it gets better with time. Therefore, I always make a very large pot and we eat it for days or freeze.
My kids love borscht – with a dollop of organic Greek yogurt, a toasted slice of sprouted organic bread and a clove of garlic for me and Alex. The key is to eat garlic together.:)
Real Urkainian borscht recipe is super easy!
First goes in thickly sliced cabbage. Good thing is you do not need a mandoline because slice cabbage too thin and it will get mushy. Sometimes I buy cabbage non-organic because like I mentioned in eating organic on a budget, it is on a Clean 15 list. However, if I find organic, I buy it.
Then carrots and onion go in a skillet for sautéing to develop more flavour.
Then beets. Now, freshness, quality and quantity of beets directly affect the taste and colour of borscht. I like young beets, with leaves attached (if organic I chop and add leaves to the pot as well).
Sprinkle all veggies with whole wheat flour (cornstarch for gluten free), add tomato sauce and paste (part of my healthy Costco shopping list), thin out with a few ladles of boiling cabbage broth and let this concoction thicken a bit. Transfer to the pot.
Lastly, add beans (learn how to cook dried beans instead of expensive BPA free cans) and potatoes. Let everything cook for another half hour, I would say. Then season and let borscht sit and flavours marinate.
I promise Ukrainian borscht recipe would be one of the most delicious and healthiest soups you have ever tried, just like buckwheat soup. Enjoy!Print
Real Ukrainian Borscht Recipe vegetarian, vegan or with beef, cabbage, beets and dill. Like my grandma made for me growing up in Ukraine.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 10 servings
- 12 cups (3 quarts) water
- 3 – 3.5 lb cabbage, thickly sliced
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 tbsp avocado or coconut oil, extra virgin & cold pressed
- 3 large beets, peeled & thinly sliced into matchsticks
- 2 tbsp whole wheat flour or 1 tbsp cornstarch for GF version
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 14 oz tomato sauce (strained or crushed tomatoes, passata)
- 4 large potatoes, peeled & cubed
- 2 x 14 oz cans pinto or kidney beans (I use my own cooked beans)*
- 2 tbsp + 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/3 cup dill or green onions, chopped
- Greek yogurt and sprouted organic bread, for serving
- In a large pot, add water and bring to a boil on medium – high heat. In the meanwhile, wash, peel and cut vegetables. Once water is boiling, add cabbage and bay leaves; let cook on medium for about 20 minutes.
- While cabbage is cooking, preheat large skillet on medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion and carrots; saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beets and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with flour; add tomato paste and sauce, and a few ladles of broth from the pot; stir until mixed and combined. Bring mixture to a boil on low heat and cook for a few minutes, until thickened. Transfer to a pot along with potatoes and beans, cover and cook on low – medium for about 30 minutes.
- Turn off heat. Add salt (might use less if using canned beans), honey or maple syrup, vinegar, black pepper and garlic. Stir and let borscht sit for 10 minutes to allow flavours to marry each other. I usually add some herbs to individual plates and remainder to the pot once soup has cooled down a bit (otherwise herbs will cook). Serve hot with a dollop of Greek yogurt, bread and garlic clove on a side (this is not for everyone).
Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on a stovetop covered on low.
*You might need to add less salt since my beans are unsalted.
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