Vegetarian Borscht

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Beets are an issue in our house. The issue is this: I am the only one who will eat them. But more than that, sometimes I just NEED some BEETS. Plus, they make the prettiest color ever! Sometimes I take care of my need for beets with my Pickled Red Beet Eggs. But other times, I need borscht.

I first had borscht when my sister made it when I was younger. She made it from some hippie paperback cookbook that’s long since been lost. I’ve tried meat-based borscht in restaurants—and even made it once—but there is a cleanness and purity to vegetarian borscht that feeds my slightly Eastern European soul. (My grandfather was from Poland and my grandmother was from Lithuania, and my other grandparents were from Germany, so I guess it’s more than a slightly Eastern European soul.) So I made this yesterday and it was perfect.

What’s also perfect is that it’s hard to get it wrong. You can play with this ingredients list and change quantities and the soup will still feed your soul and your need for beets. It’s a rather healthy way to get through a winter day.

Vegetarian Borscht


  • 3 beets
  • 3 small onions
  • 1 small head savoy or napa cabbage
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 potatoes (skin on)
  • 3 tomatoes or 1 15-ounce can tomatoes
  • 3 cloves
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable bullion
  • Salt
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Fresh parsley and/or dill
  • Plain yogurt for garnish


  1. Get a big soup pot and put the oil in. Chop the onions and garlic and start cooking. I like to shred the beets and carrots with a hand shredder, but everything else gets chopped and thrown into the pot. No special order is required, but I like to get everything a little cooked together before adding the water and the spices.
  2. After all the veggies are in the pot and stirred up a bit, add the water, the vegetable bullion (or just add more salt), salt, garlic cloves, lemon juice, bay leaves, and a handful of chopped parsley and dill if you have them on hand.
  3. This soup does not need to cook a long time—an hour at most!
  4. Add a spoonful of plain yogurt to each bowl when you serve it. If you have fresh dill, add a bit of that, too.

Variations are endless. Plus, you can freeze the extra or give a jar of it to a friend who also likes beets.



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20 Responses to Vegetarian Borscht

  1. Nasreen Kabir February 13, 2013 at 6:43 am #

    thanks for the recipe hope to try it soon love beets how many cups will it make?

  2. maria (farm country kitchen) February 13, 2013 at 7:41 am #

    8 or 9 cups!

  3. Holly February 13, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    I was fortunate enough to sample this delicious soup and have been waiting for the blog so I could make it myself. Thanks, Maria!

  4. Donna in Delaware February 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    I’ve played around with many different versions of this recipe. Since my husbands mother’s side of the family is Polish and his father’s side is Czech and Swedish, many types and styles of borscht ends up on our table, whether it be cold or hot. They are all delicious, some with meat, most without, but almost always good and refreshing, winter or summer. Don’t forget the dollop of sour cream!

  5. Barbara February 13, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    Oh Yum. I will be making this very soon. I too am the only one in my home who will eat beets. Would not touch them as a child, but my vegetarian soul won out. Thank you for sharing this!

  6. beth February 20, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    Just wanted to pint out that there is one way to do it wrong. If you let the beets boil too hard or too long, then you will lose the beautiful red color. Keep it on a low simmer!

  7. Ben March 2, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Referring to this recipe list, am I to add 3 actual cloves and 3 garlic cloves?

  8. maria (farm country kitchen) March 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm #


  9. Ramona November 16, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    I made this recipe last night with a few variations– had no organic cabbage so subbed cauliflower (!), used veggie stock instead of boullion, added extra garlic and celery. SO YUMMY! I love a dollop of yogurt as well and we are eating it again tonight. Between the two of us, we will be lucky if there is enough for lunch tomorrow. Thanks!

  10. patricia November 18, 2013 at 7:14 am #

    yum (y) added some tomato paste and it’s diviiine

  11. Emily November 25, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    I added tomato paste, grated ginger and vinegar, topped with a bit of feta! Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. Claudette November 30, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    Hi Maria,
    Soups on … Can’t wait to try it!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

  13. Kobi Benlevi December 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Thank You Maria! this is the best borsht I’ve had in years. Who did you get this recipe from?

  14. Kobi Benlevi December 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    You must have a lot of cooking talent! If i had to choose a business partner, it would be you!

  15. Anne September 6, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

    Hi Maria,

    My son has been craving for beet borsht which he loves. I will surprise him with your (double) delicious recipe to-morrow. I am sure he will eat it for breakfast too, until it is all gone..

    Thank you for all your goodies that you post and I have cooked many of them.

    Keep up your good work.

  16. Christine November 22, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    Thank you, Maria, for this delicious recipe. I made it yesterday for Friday night’s supper and had everything but used bok choy for cabbage, and extra lemon juice for no tomatoes. I added black salt which I recently discovered. Today I added a can of Eden Organic Black Beans. My husband liked it very much . Thanks again.

  17. Kaylee May 27, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

    Borscht is on!! Looks amaaaaazballs:) Thank you

  18. julie June 17, 2016 at 10:51 am #

    For best color and flavor roast the beet roots and make the broth with just the leaves and stems. As to yogurt. Please. Sour cream. Each has their place.

  19. Kim September 18, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    DO you peel the beets prior to shredding them?

  20. maria (farm country kitchen) September 18, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

    yes. Unless they are young beets. But beet skins won’t harm you!

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