Beet and Cabbage Borscht

Beet & Cabbage Borscht. Photo © Molly Watson
  • 3 hrs
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Yield: 16 servings
Ratings (6)

Technically, borscht is any stew-type soup. The best-known kind in the U.S., however, is made with beets and is brilliantly red. This beet and cabbage borscht is packed with roasted red beets, onions, cabbage, and white beans - all the better to make it through a cold winter night. Homemade chicken stock adds a depth of flavor missing in canned varieties, but this soup is tasty even when made with plain old water for a delicious vegetarian version.

This recipe makes enough for a crowd. It freezes extremely well, however, and is a treat to pull out of the freezer and heat up after a long day's work. It is particularly satisfying to devour on a snowy or rainy night.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup cannellini (dried, or other small white beans)
  • 6 large beets (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil or butter)
  • 2 medium onions (halved and thinly sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
  • Optional: 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 head green, Savoy, or Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced or shredded
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 8 cups chicken broth (or beef or vegetable broth)
  • Optional: lemon juice to taste
  • Garnish: plain yogurt, sour cream, or crème fraîche
  • Garnish: chopped dill

How to Make It

  1. Put the beans in a large pot and add cold water to cover generously. Bring to a boil, cover, turn off heat, and let sit 1 hour.
  2. Drain and return the beans to the pot. Cover again with cold water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to keep a simmer and cook until beans are tender to the bite, about 20 minutes. Drain the beans and set them aside.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F. Wrap the beets in a large sheet of foil, place on a baking sheet, and cook until tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Let the beets sit until cool enough to handle.
  1. Peel them (their skins should slip off easily after being roasted) and grate them on the large-hole side of a box grater. Set aside. (Note: I like the ease of peeling roasted beets, but feel free to peel and grate raw beets - they will cook quickly enough in the soup.)
  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat add oil, onions, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, if using, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the cabbage, stir to combine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage wilts, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add the caraway seeds and beets. Stir to combine and add the broth or water.
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer, add beans, and cook until vegetables are tender and flavors blend, 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Serve hot, with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and a sprinkle of dill, if you like.