Classic beetroot Borscht

This vibrant, nutritious soup could convert the most ardent beetroot doubter! Its delicious served chilled or warm.
  • Prep time:
    15 minutes
  • Cooking time:
    1 hour
  • Serves:


  1. If you are making your own stock, first heat a dash of olive oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the pancetta, carrot, celery and onion and sauté until golden brown.
  3. Add 1 litre water, the herbs and a good seasoning of salt and black pepper.
  4. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 40 minutes uncovered.
  5. Strain the stock into a bowl, throw away the herbs and vegetables, and  pour the stock into a clean saucepan.
  6. While the stock is cooking, put the beetroots in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover, plus a pinch of salt.
  7. Simmer gently with the lid on for 40 minutes or until tender.
  8. Drain, then add cold water to cover. 
  9. When the beetroots are cool, remove the skins (wear gloves), chop into small cubes and add to the prepared stock.
  10. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  11. Using a slotted spoon, remove the beetroot cubes from the saucepan. Put them in a blender and whiz until smooth.
  12. Make a paste with flour and butter.
  13. While the blender is running, add the flour paste and stock, followed by the crème fraîche or natural yoghurt. When fully blended, add the lemon juice and season to taste.
  14. Serve warm or chilled, with a swirl of soured cream.


  • Use 1 litre vegetable or ham stock, or make your own.

For the stock

  • Dash of olive oil
  • 175g pancetta, cubed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Handful parsley stalks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

For the soup

  • 700g uncooked beetroots, washed and stalks removed
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 25g soft butter
  • 75ml crème fraîche or natural yoghurt
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
  • Soured cream, to serve

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