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Borscht - Red Beet Soup Recipe

Updated on December 1, 2014

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5 stars from 1 rating of Red Beet Soup

This red beet soup, is an Eastern European soup recipe, called borscht. I got this recipe from my mom, who grew up in Tchernovtze – Ukraine. This recipe, if prepared correctly, has a dark red color, and can be served any time of the year. It can be served cold during summer, (the vegetarian version), and hot during winter.

Soups are big in my native country Romania. Every main meal used to contain a soup as one of the courses. Soups are very healthy and nutritious, while not being very high on calories.

Red Beet Soup
Red Beet Soup | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 50 min
Yields: 4-6 portions


  • 1 onions, around 70gr
  • 50 gr 1/2 Red pepper, or 1/4 red and 1/4 green pepper
  • 70 gr 1 Carrot
  • 80 gr Parsnip and parsley root, use only parsnip if you don't have parsley root
  • 80 gr Celery root
  • 500 gr Beets, you can add slightly more
  • 200 gr Potatoes
  • 100 gr Cabbage
  • 300-400 gr Beef, Optionally
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Tamarind or sour plum or both
  • 1 teaspoon Wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • Water
Vegetables for red beet soup
Vegetables for red beet soup

Cooking Instructions - Borscht

  1. Mince the onions and the peeper and slow cook them with a little water and two spoons of oil. You can mince them using a kitchen knife, (this is my favorite way), or you can use a mandolin, my second favorite, or a food processor, which will render the a little too mushy, (so I don't recommend it).
  2. If you want to add meat, you can start cooking the beef in a separate pot. Cut the meat in small cubes, add salt and water just enough to cover the meat and slow cook it. (You can add two or three tablespoons of vinegar, and one of sugar, to help the tendering.
  3. While the onions and the pepper are cooking, cut the beets in large pieces as pictured here or similar. After cutting the beets, add the in the pot with the onions and the pepper.
  4. Let the the beets boil, and in the mean time prepare the parsnip, celery and parsley roots and the carrots. Peel them, and cut them as shown in the picture below, using a knife or a mandolin.
  5. The beets should cook around 10-15 minutes before adding the roots. Add first the celery the parsley and the parsnip, and after 3 minutes add the carrots. If you think you don't have enough time for cutting the vegetables, prepare them in advance. It is important to respect that cooking times otherwise you will have mushy vegetables in your soup.
  6. While the roots are cooking start peeling and cutting the potatoes. Cut the potatoes big. Use red potatoes, they are slightly harder, and they remain firm. You still need to avoid overcooking them.
  7. After adding the potatoes in the boiling pot, start preparing the tamarind or sour plum. Add to that the lemon juice and the vinegar, as per your taste.
  8. When everything is cooked, add water so that the liquid is about 1/3 of the content. I sometimes make it even more watery. Add salt as needed.

Perfect Vegetable Chopper

Swissmar Borner V-1001 V-Slicer Plus Mandoline 5 Piece Set
Swissmar Borner V-1001 V-Slicer Plus Mandoline 5 Piece Set

I first started to use a Borner mandoline years ago, back in Romania. When I first got it, it was one of the items you couldn't buy in a communist country, and all my friends and neighbors were almost jealous. That mandoline lasted me years and years.

When I immigrated in Canada, one of the first items to buy was a Borner mandoline, which I was thrilled to find on Amazon.

These things never break, and they are sharp, precise, and easy to use. Make sure you use the protection device, because it very easy to get injured, and they are unforgiving to both vegetables, and your fingers.

Tamarind paste
Tamarind paste
Squeezing lemons
Squeezing lemons

How To Sour Soups

This is a sour soup, and the recipe is slightly different, depending on the region/country. This recipe is the Romanian version. Traditionally, Romanian sour soups are soured with borş, a fermented wheat bran product, that gives soups the perfect sour balance. In Canada, where I live now, this is not available, so I had to improvise. I have available here lemons, tamarind paste, sour plum paste, and vinegar. The problem is that all these can overpower the subtle taste of a soup. In order to avoid that I used all the above ingredients, instead of just one. This keeps in balance the specific vinegar taste, th fruity lemon taste, and the tamarind after taste.

You need to dissolve the tamarind paste in boiling water and cook it for a few minutes. Add a little vinegar and a little lemon juice to the souring composition, and boil these too for a minute or less. If you add too much lemon the soup will be too fruity, if you add too much vinegar, this will overpower the soup taste, so you need to keep a fine balance. I usually add one and a half teaspoon of tamarind, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and a teaspoon of wine, or apple cider vinegar. Too much tamarind, and there will be a slight aftertaste, which is not bad, but I'm picky.
It is also important to cook the souring ingredients separately, because if you boil your soup too much with them, the nice red color of the soup will fade.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 2 cups (the beef recipe)
Calories 300
Calories from Fat135
% Daily Value *
Fat 15 g23%
Carbohydrates 20 g7%
Fiber 3 g12%
Protein 16 g32%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
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Borscht Recipe Video


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      Scott A McCray 3 years ago

      I've never tried borscht - but I love beets. Your recipe makes me want to try it! Pinned.