[Not Your] Babushka’s Beet Borscht

Adapted from my families’ traditional Ukrainian and Belarussian recipes – but modified to include vegetarian and vegan options!


  • Beef, chicken, or vegan/vegetarian stock (about 3 quarts or 3 Liters)
    • pre-made or packaged, if you like
    • bonus health points for bone broth (turmeric optional recipe here)!
  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 large beets
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 3-4 large potatoes
  • 6 oz canned tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • large pot
  • medium skillet
  • bay leaves, to taste
  • whole black pepper, to taste
  • garlic, to taste
  • clove, to taste
  • sea salt or Himalayan salt, to taste
  • optional garnishes: [vegan] sour cream, freshly chopped dill and/or parsley and/or scallions, sliced cooked egg, and rye bread – for serving


  1. Gather all materials
  2. Wash, peel and chop vegetables as follows
    1. Beets and carrots into thin slices
    2. Onion, chopped
    3. Potatoes – diced into small pieces
    4. Cabbage – shredded uniformly with a knife or mandoline (affiliate link)
  3. Bring your broth of choice to a boil in a large pot, then stir in the cabbage and bring to boil again. Then reduce to simmer.
  4. In the meantime, sauté the onion, beets and carrots in a skillet with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
  5. Transfer this mixture, along with potatoes and tomato paste, to the stock pot.
  6. Bring to a boil again, and then reduce to simmer.
  7. Peel 3 (or more!) cloves of garlic, crush them on a tabletop, and let it sit for a minute.
  8. Stir in additional condiments – bay leaves, black pepper, salt, cloves (start with a couple if you’re not familiar with the taste!) and the freshly crushed garlic.
  9. Let simmer for 5 minutes, then stir and turn off heat.
  10. Serve with a dollop of sour cream (or vegan alternative), and chopped fresh dill/parsley/scallions as garnish. Also goes really well with a slice of rye bread, rubbed with fresh garlic and butter (or plant-based alternative). Some people also love to serve with a couple of slices of a cooked egg. Enjoy!
  11. Keeps in the fridge for 6 days, and in the freezer for 3 months.

Let me know how this turns out for you and which substitutions you used, if any!


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