Borscht is an Eastern European soup and comes in many variations. My family is from the Minsk area in Belarus. This version is my recipe adapted from my grandmother’s who was born there. She immigrated to the US in 1911 when she was 16 years old.
Above is a beet soup made with grated beets and no greens and below is a beet soup with julienne sliced beets and the greens. Same recipe, but different beet preparation.
I have made many variations of beet soup, also known as borsht. Borsht is a soup mixture of vegetables including beets, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and possibly other veggies. The bright color of beets gets muted when cooked with other vegetables, so I like to make this beet soup with only beets, tomatoes and some onion in a vegetable broth with added spices. It’s really so simple.
And the big surprise is that my beet soup tastes delish hot or cold! Cold soup in the summer is so refreshing!
We had dinner in Chicago at the Russian Tea Time Restaurant. It’s much more than a tea room. Their menu is full of hearty Eastern European fare! Their borsht was a beautiful red of grated beets and carrots which inspired me to develop this recipe for Beet Soup!
Here are your ingredients
Beet stems, leaves and beets
Beet greens can be added to the soup, quickly sautéed or made into a salad. My Beet Green Salad recipe link is below
If you add the stems and leaves, double the seasonings! If you add the stems and leaves you’ll make about 8 quarts. If you don’t it will be closer to 5 quarts
Wrap the coriander and allspice seeds in a small piece of cheesecloth if you want to prevent biting into one!
8 medium to large beets
8-16 cups vegetable or chicken stock, low salt if possible if using store bought stock. Stock is better than broth! Better Than Bouillon is good too. Use 8 cups to make a thicker heartier soup. Use 16 cups makes a lighter soup.
2 – 28 oz cans diced tomatoes in juice, not sauce!
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
5 large bay leaves
8 large cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
10 whole allspice or more
10 whole coriander seeds or more
1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes. This adds a fair amount of heat. Use less if you don’t want it hot.
1/4 cup sugar or more
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 small bunch fresh dill, it’s about 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill weed
Salt as needed. If you use a salty stock or bouillon you probably won’t need much salt if any
- Trim off stems and leaves from beets. Reserve the stems. Use the leaves in this soup or to make a Beet Salad. Cut the greens in 1-2 inch strips or squares and add to the soup at the very end.
- Wash the stems and cut them into 2 inch lengths. Set aside.
- Soak beets in water and scrub clean.
- Peel beets with a vegetable peeler. Grate them with a food processor or Kitchen Aid attachment or slice and then cut into julienne strips. Set aside in a bowl.
- Meanwhile, in a large 12 quart stock pot, heat the stock.
- Add onion and tomatoes to the stock.
- Add bay leaves, garlic, allspice, coriander, and hot pepper flakes. Tie the coriander and allspice up in a piece of cheesecloth if you want. Cover and bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes.
- Add the beets and stems to the soup. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
Here is the beet soup made with julienne strips of beets and the greens
- Add sugar, red wine vinegar, and dill. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.
- Add more seasoning to taste
- Add greens if you like.
- Remove the bag of spices.
- Cool and store in the frig for a full 24 hours so the flavors meld.
- Remove the bay leaves before serving if possible
- Float sour cream or plain yogurt on each bowl if you like. But you’ll lose some of the bright red color! This is traditional, but not necessarily always used.
- Or serve it ice cold in the summer!
This beet soup is made with julienne strips of beets and the greens.
I store my Beet Soup and many other leftovers in quart and pint size canning jars. It’s easy to see what’s in them and they’re reusable for decades! Aren’t they pretty?