Clear vegetarian borscht

Clear vegetarian borscht

135 mins
Laura Edwards

The oldest recipe for Christmas Eve borscht comes from the 16th Century and it is very similar to this recipe except it calls for soured beetroot juice. This is not a soup you can eat on its own, as it’s more of a drink, that you use to wash down other, solid foods, and can even be served in a cup. It is most commonly eaten with uszka but it would also work well with other dumplings, such as crispy pierogi.

If you cannot get hold of dried boletus mushrooms, you can use any other dried mushrooms.


Quantity Ingredient
10-15 dried mushrooms, preferably boletus, if unavailable use any dried mushrooms
3 litres water
4-5 beetroots, peeled
1 carrot
1 parsnip
1/2 celeriac
1 celery stalk with leaves
1-2 bay leaves
5-6 allspice berries
5-6 black peppercorns
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon caster sugar
salt, to taste
white pepper, to taste


  1. Wash the mushrooms. Place them in a bowl, covered with boiling water and leave to soak for 1 hour. Transfer to a pan with the liquid, add about 1 litre water, bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile place the beetroots, carrot, parsnip, celeriac, celery, bay leaves, allspice berries and peppercorns into a separate pan and add 2 litres water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.
  3. Strain both broths through a sieve into a clean pan (you can keep the cooked vegetables, chop them into small dice and combine with mayonnaise to make the Slavic salad). Add the lemon juice, marjoram and sugar and season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Return to the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste before serving, adding more sugar, salt or pepper to taste.


  • “Ten kraj pachnie jak dymiąca waza gorącego barszczu z grzybami…”

    “This country smells of a steaming tureen of hot borscht with wild mushrooms.”

    {Stanisław Brzozowski}
eastern european
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