This post gives step by step instructions for making a simple borscht recipe (vegetarian ‘barszcz’) – a delicious, hearty soup popular in Poland and other East European countries as well as across Russia.
If there is one soup I actually crave once in a while and, as a result, make more often than any other soup it’s borscht (Polish ‘barszcz‘). Today I am going to share my tips on how to make simple borscht recipe (vegetarian barszcz).
Vegetarian borscht ticks so many boxes for me! It’s easy to make, healthy, hearty and filling and contains one of my favourite vegetables – beetroot. And I absolutely love the colour!
Back in December I posted a recipe for Polish Christmas Eve Borscht, which essentially was a simplified version of this vegetarian borscht. (Plus it had porcini mushrooms, absent in this recipe, and was served without any vegetables in it).
Today’s recipe is a hearty, satisfying soup which, served with a slice of good bread (whole grain, sourdough or rye will do), makes a delicious and healthy lunch. This kind of borscht/barszcz is also called ‘Ukrainian barszcz‘.
How to make simple borscht recipe
This beet soup recipe involves a few simple steps.
- Start by frying the onion, garlic and celery in a little oil.
- Add the beans, beet quarters, half of the water, season, cover and bring to boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
- Carefully remove the beets from the soup and allow to cool.
- Add the diced potatoes and grated pickled beetroot, with the brine, into the soup and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime coarsely grate the beets, put back into the soup, add the remaining water, dill and continue cooking for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
See my Instructions below for more detail.
In this vegetarian borscht soup recipe I tried to recreate the flavour I remember from my childhood (in Poland). Not every borscht recipe is the same, which is no surprise. People have their own preferences as to flavour and texture, often based on where they come from or childhood memories. This for me is a good thing as it shows what an adaptable and versatile vegetable beetroot is.
How to season borscht
Despite there being such a variety of borscht recipes, they all have 2 things in common. In addition to having beetroot as their main ingredient (rather obvious) they all contain an ingredient that adds sour, sharp notes to the soup.
While some recipes call for sour cream or yogurt, usually added once the soup has been cooked, others use vinegar, lemon, sauerkraut or pickled beetroot, which are usually added during cooking.
I like my borscht quite sharp and without the added calories of sour cream so I chose the pickled beetroot route. You can add either homemade or shop-bought pickled beetroot (it’s quite cheap and widely available). You will need both the beetroot as well as the brine, so nothing gets wasted.
Other beet soup recipes you might enjoy
I have published a few other Polish borscht soup recipes. This Polish Christmas Eve Borscht is also easy to make and vegetarian. This Beetroot Summer Soup (Chlodnik) is served chilled, making a refreshing, delicious lunch idea perfect to enjoy on a hot day.
My Beet Greens Vegetable Soup is another type of borscht, made using beet greens.
You may also like my wholesome Vegan Beetroot Soup with Kale and Fennel!
Do you have a favourite borscht soup recipe? I’d love to know what it is! Comments, opinions, suggestions, stories etc welcome:)
Simple Borscht Recipe (Vegetarian Barszcz)
- 3 small/medium beetroot peeled, cut into quarters
- 1 jar 340 g whole baby pickled beetroot (incl. brine) - coarsely grated
- 3 small/medium potatoes
- 1 cup cannelloni beans tinned, without the brine or presoaked and cooked
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 small celery stalk finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dill finely chopped
- 6-7 cups hot water
- 1.5 teaspoon coarse sea salt plenty of pepper
- In a large pot heat up the oil, add the onion, garlic and celery and cook over a medium heat for a couple of minutes stirring often.
- Add the beans and raw beetroot quarters, 1/2 the water, seasoning, cover and bring to boil. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, peel and dice the potatoes. After the soup has been cooking for 10 minutes take out the beetroot pieces and put on a plate to cool a little.
- Add the potatoes and grated pickled beetroot and brine, into the soup, cover and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime coarsely grate the beetroot (use rubber gloves if you are grating them by hand), then put it back into the soup, add the remaining water and dill, cover and bring to boil again. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and continue cooking for another 12-15 minutes or so (until the potatoes are tender).
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Recipe Link Parties
I am sharing my easy borscht soup recipe with Meat Free Mondays, What’s Cookin’ Wednesday, Cook Once Eat Twice. Also sharing with Fiesta Friday (the co-hosts are Frugal Hausfrau and Ginger & Bread), Cook Blog Share (the host is Easy Peasy Foodie). Also bringing it to Free From Fridays and Saucy Saturdays.