You probably have heard of Borshch as one of the most famous Russian dishes. But do you realize what a nutritional treasure it is?

My new friend cooks this killer borshch! After enjoying it, it strikes me that this colorful dish is not only delicious and invigorating, but also the perfect nutritional powerhouse. No wonder the Russians can survive on it for days!

“In Russia we eat it as a main dish for lunch, it doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter. For hot weather, there is cold borshch; the hot one presented here is perfect for the winter. There are many variations. Some have cabbage, some don’t. Some have red beans or mushrooms. But the one constant is beets. The meat with bone, usually beef, is the perfect base to make a broth. But pork or chicken are used too. It all depends on how you like it.”


Nutrition and Color
Our bodies rely on many substances present in our food to grow, repair and regulate themselves: these are the micronutrients, electrolytes and minerals. We group them under the term “nutrients” for short. 
Nutrients, with a few important exceptions, are colorful. Eating by color is a guarantee that we’ll get many forms of nutrients.

Borshch is replete with nutrition. We could attempt to make a list of the nutrients it contains; but you just need to look at the color of the ingredients to understand it’s loaded. The addition of meat and sour cream  makes it a complete meal.


(Serves 8 to 10 as a main course)

  • 1 lb beef stew meat with bone (not too lean)
  • ½ cabbage, shredded
  • 8 small potatoes (or less), peeled and cubed
  • 1 oz butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large onion, diced finely
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3 red beets, grated
  • ½ lemon
  • 3 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Bay leaves


1. Cut the meat in bite-sized cubes. Place it (together with the bone) in a pot, add a fair amount of cold water. Use a large pot, this will be your final vessel… The exact quantity of water is not important, but leave some room because you are going to add a lot more ingredients. Bring to a boil slowly.

2. After the pot has been boiling for about 15 minutes, add the shredded cabbage.

3. Add the potatoes to the stock pot only after the cabbage is fully cooked, soft and translucent. That’s important because, somehow, the cabbage stops cooking when you add the potatoes. As soon as the potatoes are boiling, you can put the rest (see step 7).

4. In parallel: in a large frying pan, melt the butter and add the crushed garlic. Wait 1 or 2 minutes until the fragrance develops.

5. Add the diced onion to the pan, fry until golden. Add the shredded carrot.

6. Add the grated beets and the lemon juice to the pan. The juice helps bring out the bright red color. Add the tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper. Let it cook for about 15 minutes, adding a little broth from the pot if it becomes too dry.

7. The finish: Transfer the contents of the pan to the pot. Mix and let cook for another 7 to 10 minutes. In the end, add boiling water as needed to obtain the preferred consistency: the soup should be fairly liquid, not thick and heavy. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, drop in the Bay leaves, sprinkle the surface with dried herbs (parsley, etc.).

Cover the pot and let it sit for at least half an hour before eating. Serve with sour cream to taste, and garnish with parsley or dill.

If you found this post interesting,
sign-up to be notified when there is a new post on our blog.

Author: Lien Nguyen

Liên is the author of several cookbooks that blend food with history, culture and health.

4 thoughts on “Borshch”

  1. I Love Borscht!❤️ My Great Grandparents fled Russia to Canada, then eventually settled in Spokane, Washington. I have been making Borscht for years, Yes you are right in the statement that you made in your blog, that it could be enjoyed wether it’s Winter or Summer, hot or cold. Since I wasn’t blessed with a family recipe, I’ve experimented with all kinds of different recipes (Like you said there all kinds of variations to the Borscht recipes) Typically though the time I find it optimal to make where I live is in the fall after I harvest the garden because that’s when there’s an abundance of vegetables that are used in all the recipes Have as favorites, Cabbage Onions carrots & of course last but not least, Beets beautiful, glorious Beets! I have used recipes that call for meat, but in my family we have settled on a vegetarian recipe as our favorite standard anytime, anywhere recipe, one of the reasons for this is we’re not big meat eaters ,not tried & true vegetarians either but left to our own devices we lean more towards vegetarian &/or vegan than not, also in this recipe, as the case with many that contain meat if you were to try to serve cold you would most likely end up with big globs of hardened fat in your bowl ( Yuck! ) & a mouth feel of fat covered coating (Double Yucky!) where with our vegetarian recipe that will never be an issue! Whatever is best for your family is obviously the choice you should make or perhaps you have more than one “Favorite” recipe! One thing is for sure, like you said “it’s a power house of vitamins, antioxidants & nutrients you always feel GREAT when you eat it! Thank You!

  2. P.S. My daughter Loves Borscht so much that she requests it for her “Birthday Dinner!” The time it impressed me the most is when we were planning her “Sweet Sixteenth” Bonfire & Sleepover party, & that is what she requested for dinner! (It made my momma ❤️ heart swell! I was so happy & proud of the little girl who she was & the “Beautiful BIG lady “ she was becoming!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *