This Traditional Polish beet borsch soup is a very easy and delicious soup, made with only 4 ingredients in just 20 minutes! Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, you will find yourself making this soup over and over again.
Polish Borscht Soup
Every woman from a Slavic country knows how to make a good Borsch (or Borscht)! And there are many variations, but the soup always needs to be red (not pink but really red), and it always contains beetroots!
It’s said that every Slavic woman makes a different version of the Borsch soup, so no 2 soups are identical. In our family, we usually make the Russian version of this soup with cabbage, but the one that I’m sharing with you today is actually Polish and much simpler than the Russian Borsch. I make it all the time as it’s very delicious and really easy to make too!
How to buy beets for Borsch soup?
The best beets that you can get for a Borsch soup are fresh, organic and dark in color. The most common variety is called Boltardy, and these are perfect for Borscht. You can always use Pablo beets, and Kestrel variety. Chiogga beets do NOT work for borsch, save them for salads!
How to peel and slice beets?
- Wear gloves to peel and slice beets, as they can stain your hands and won’t wash away for a couple of days.
- Cut off the tops and the stringy bits, then peel the skin using a potato peeler.
- Using a sharp knife, slice into medium sized matchsticks.
How to make Polish Borsch?
A simple soup made with really fresh dark red beets, homemade vegetable stock, garlic, salt and pepper. I also add sugar and lemon juice to help preserve the red color of the soup.
There are different ways to prepare the beets for this Polish beet soup:
- Wrap the beets in foil and roast them in the oven until they’re soft.
- Slice fresh beets and boil them in water until they’re soft.
- Or just use canned beets (that are not pickled), I do this when I can’t find fresh beets sold anywhere.
Polish Borsch variations
Borsch may include meat or fish, but my version is vegan/vegetarian. And it’s served either hot or cold with a spoon of sour cream (smetana)!
Other versions of this soup usually include more vegetables, such as onions, potatoes, cabbage, carrots and tomatoes (such as the Russian version). But this Polish version is usually eaten with boiled potatoes, where you separately cook the potatoes and slice them, and then put them at the bottom of your soup bowl, pouring the soup over them.
Polish soups are usually chunky, so pieces of cooked vegetables are always enjoyed in the soups, except for some modern Polish recipes where vegetables are actually blended and pureed. But a Polish soup is always chunky and so is this beet soup.
How to get that vibrant red color?
- The reason why I add sugar and lemon juice to the soup, is to avoid getting a pale borsch soup. Cooking the beets in water or stock for long may result in a brown soup, and since a good borsch needs to be red just add a little bit of sugar and lemon juice at the end of the cooking process and mix everything with a spoon.
- Or, add white vinegar to the beets at the end of the cooking process and that should help preserve the vibrant red color.
Looking for more Polish recipes? Try my Polish apple pancakes!
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Polish Beet Borsch Soup
- 2 large beetroots cut into match sticks
- 4 cups 1 litre vegetable stock
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- dill or parsley to garnish
- Heat oven to 350 (180c) degrees. Wrap each beet in foil and roast for about 45 minutes.
- When beets are cooked, let them chill then peel and slice to julienne.
- In a pot, bring the vegetable stock to a boil, add the minced garlic along with the beets, sugar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Let it simmer for 15 around minutes.
- Serve warm over cooked potatoes or with toasted bread, top with sour cream (smetana) and garnish with dill or any greens. The soup can also be served cold.
- To help preserve the vibrant red color, add white 1 tbsp of white vinegar to the soup at the end of the cooking process and let it boil for a minute. Or add sugar and lemon juice.
- Serve over boiled potatoes, or with fresh crusty bread.
This recipe first appeared on the blog in May 2016 but was updated with new images and more info in September 2019.