Thursday, November 22, 2012

Roasted Beetroot Garlic Soup (Not Quite Borscht) Recipe

Roasted Beetroot Garlic Soup
I am not claiming this to be an authentic borscht, it is probably quite far from it.

Borscht originated in Ukraine, according to Wikipedia. Some people may dispute this since many other countries have their own versions. I suppose it will be a never ending discussion trying to identify where it originated and what goes in an authentic borscht. 

None of the authentic recipes I came across use roasted beets. I preferred roasted beets since it adds more flavour. Some versions use cabbage. I excluded it since I ate cabbage yesterday. And I excluded potatoes because I wanted a stronger beet flavor rather than have the flavour diluted with potato. With these variations the soup was not quite authentic. It tastes quite different from the versions I tried in different restaurants. 

The recipe is quite simple to make. You can vary it quite easily to suit your taste.

And here’s some more of my amateurish half decent attempts at borscht art. Most of them probably qualify to be considered 'abstract'. Looks like a child did it, actually it was a child!


Recipe adopted from whole living
Recipe adopted from whole living

3 medium beets, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
6 unpeeled garlic cloves
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
3 cups water (or use stock or milk)
Sour cream (optional)
Salt and pepper

  1. Heat the oven to 220°C/425°F.
  2. Coat the beets and garlic in oil. I find it easier to add some oil to a pot, add the beets and garlic and swirl and toss. Use the same pot for cooking the onions and soup later
  3. Spread the beets and garlic in a single layer in a roasting pan. Bake until the beets are tender, about 25 -30 minutes.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender. Add beets, garlic, herbs and 3 cups water. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Puree the mixture and serve with sour cream (optional)


  1. Latte oops borscht art:) I try to impress my guests with this:P

  2. More artistic bowl! I love all of them! Congratulations! I am very intrigued by your beetroot soup... The roasting sounds like an extraordinary idea, but if I can suggest something for next experiment... try cooking it with a stock (most Central/Eastern European soups are) even if you roast beetroots apart. On the other hand your borshch/borshch lacks an acid element. Whatever the ingredients or regional version, I think all the borshtches are acid. The easiest way is to add some lemon juice at the end (there is also a complicated way of course... traditionally it's fermented beetroot "juice"). Of course puréeing was your own creative touch :-)
    It's funny. In Poland "Ukrainian barshtch" is completely different from which is called simply "barshtch" or red barshtch" and what was your idea I guess. Ukrainian barshtch is full of vegetables (cabbage, potatoes etc.) and is a thick soup not a clear one. I have always hated what was called the Ukrainian barszcz but liked the clear one when it was well made and spicy.
    It's difficult to say which country it was invented in, especially since it's a very very old soup...

    1. It wasn't too bad with water but it would have been far better with stock. Unfortunately there was no stock at home.
      Good spotting. Most (or all) recipes suggested some acid - like lemon juice or red wine vinegar. I have some leftovers, I will try with vinegar. Or maybe I should leave the soup out for a few days for natural acidity:) I never heard of that method, bit like sourdough soup.
      I have tried borscht in a Polish restaurant, it wasn't the clear version that you mention. They probably served the Ukrainian version

    2. Oh, yes it must have been the Ukrainian barshch. The more popular one (Polish) is always clear red with some small dumplings or just with bits of beetroot.
      The lemon gives also a nice bright red colour for a longer time.
      You have actually made me crave for barszcz! (Another funny tongue twister for foreigners and a famous "5 consonants in a row" word that scares people ;-)
      I will see if I can prepare it soon! (No beautiful patterns in view though, I'm not as artistic as you!)

    3. Looking forward to seeing the barszcz post. Not only tricky to say but tricky to type also, hopefully not tricky to prepare.

  3. Oh, I would forgotten: It's funny but I have never seen it served with sour cream in Poland, so it must be a Ukrainian habit.... Of course it was very useful with your artistic drawings :-) (Ok, I have an impression that beetroots are the only common point between the Polish and Ukrainian borshch!)

    1. I've seen borscht usually served with sour cream (smetana) and many recipes also suggested it. However I preferred without it. The sour cream here served another purpose:) Maybe this is the acidic element!!!

  4. Hi Three Cookies!
    Beautiful soup art you have going on here! :) I think for the beetroot soup to be called borsch, it has to include either fresh shredded cabbage or sauerkraut. Oh, and it is always served with a generous spoonful of smetana :)

    1. Thank you. OK, thats the Russian perspective. The borscht I ate in Soviet Republics came with cabbage/smetana and usually meat. If you ask for vegetarian option they remove the meat but sometimes you can still find it:)

    2. Yeah, don't ask for a vegetarian option because they will simply remove the meat... Russian cuisine is very meat-centered and a lot of dishes contain meat/poultry. I always have the hardest time when cooking Russian food for my vegetarian American friends! In fact, I don't know a single Russian vegetarian! :o)

    3. There are lots of nice vegetarian Russian salads but I guess you can't really feed your guests salad!

  5. I'm here from Sissi's blog, With a glass.
    What a beautiful colour in that soup; I also prefer to roast my vegetables for soup. I've had Borscht only once and I wondered if it was authentic, it was a terribly tasteless beet soup with a lot of cabbage. I love the colour of your soup and the decoration is quite beautiful.

    1. Thank you for visiting. Sorry to hear about your unpleasant encounter with borscht - must have been unlucky


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