Vegetarian Borscht

Eastern Europe’s beloved, beet-based soup is a vibrant and satisfying supper, whether you like it served hot or cold.

  • Serves

    serves 8–10

  • Cook

    1 hour 10 minutes


By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on January 30, 2023

The best vegetarian borscht recipes are as closely guarded as state secrets. This chunky, beet-based soup, common in countries throughout Eastern Europe, is adapted from a version recorded by the late spy Markus Wolf, better known as the “man without a face.”


  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 2 large beets, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 4 cup shredded white cabbage
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. white-wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅔ cup sour cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped


Step 1

In a large pot, heat the oil over low heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, beets, and cabbage, cover, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.

Step 2

Meanwhile, to a second large pot, add the potatoes and 8 cups of salted water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat but do not drain.

Step 3

Add the tomato paste, sugar, and vinegar to the vegetables and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and their cooking water; continue cooking for 10 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons each of dill, parsley, and chives, and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Step 4

Serve in bowls, either hot or chilled, and top with sour cream, garlic, and the remaining herbs.

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