Beet and Cabbage Soup – Ukrainian Bortsch

Bortsch is a very classical soup in Russia, Ukraine and some other neighboring countries. It is a vegetable soup that contains a high proportion of beets, which impart a wonderful purple color and a sweet flavor to the soup.

It is a highly nutritious soup, with plenty of vitamins (vitamin A from the beets and tomato), minerals (from veggies and beans), and protein (from the beans). Perfect for a winter dinner.


I got this recipe from a Ukrainian friend and I love it; it’s flavorful, filling and nutritious.

You can add any type of beans, but white, pinto, cannellini or borlotti beans will be best for this recipe.

Serves 4-6 – Total time 45 min with cooked beans
1/2 cup (100g) dried beans, or 1.5 cups (300g) cooked beans
1.5 lb (700g) beet
1/2 cup (200g) green cabbage, shredded
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 bell pepper
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
fennel and parsley, to season
sea salt, black pepper

If using dried beans, soak them overnight and then cook them in boiling water until almost cooked.
If using cooked beans, simply place them in a pan with 5 cups (1.1l) water.

Add the cabbage, potatoes, salt, pepper and the fennel and parsley, if using.

Grate 0.5 lb beets on a coarse grater, and add to the beans. Cook for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a pan, sauté onion in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the carrot and the remaining beets, grated. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 more minutes (if it gets a bit dry, add some boiling water).

Then, add tomato sauce and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the content of this pan to the other pan. Add the garlic.

Simmer for 10 more minutes, and serve.


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