Polish Beetroot Soup – Barszcz (more commonly known as Borscht)

  • Servings: 3 or 4

This is a favourite soup of my childhood. As a child I did not like soups except for this sweet, sour and bright red beet soup.

There are more then one recipes for this soup. The one that my mother usually cooked included meat, bones, cabbage, carrots, leeks, parsley, celery, onion and garlic.

But for Christmas Eve supper she would serve it without any meat because, according to the Polish tradition, all dishes served on Christmas Eve must be meatless. And beet soup is a must.

So here is my hearty and vegetarian Barszcz recipe. Serve it as a main dish along with some nice crusty bread or liquidise and serve it as a first course, both versions with a drizzle of sour or regular cream.


  • 4 medium size beetroots, peeled and cut onto small cubes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into round pieces
  • 1 large potato, peeled & diced (bite size)
  • A handful of porcini (soaked beforehand) or other brown mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1/4 of a small cabbage, sliced
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • A handful of chopped parsley and 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 or 2 allspice berries, or a pinch of ground allspice
  • Sugar (1 tbsp or to taste) - ( if needed for the sweet & sour taste)
  • 1 or 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar or to taste
  • 1 organic vegetable stock cube and 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • Enough water to cook the soup
  • Salt & pepper to taste


Step 1

Put a large pot on a medium high heat and add in it the olive oil, the diced onions and the garlic. Stir fry for 2 or 3 minutes then add the water and all the other ingredients except for the vinegar and the sugar.

Step 2

Once it has boiled, lower the heat and keep cooking the soup for about 45 or 60 minutes. The vegetables must be tender. Taste to adjust the seasonings then mix in, just before the end of the cooking, the vinegar and the sugar to your own taste; to make it sweet and sour. Serve the soup with a drizzle of cream.

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