Guest Post: Valerie Yankelevich- Why I Like Borsch

Valerie Yankelevich is a guest in the Veggietorials kitchen today sharing her family recipe for borsch. She is the Creative Designer that designed my latest logo and is helping me make things look a little more interesting across all my channels. I was thrilled when I found out she was just excited about food as I am and asked her to share her favorite Ukrainian recipe.

Borsch is one of the Ukrainian traditional mainstay dishes. It combines a wonderful sweet and sour taste with a little bit of spice and garlic. It also contains a lot of different vegetables, proteins and fats. So, in one meal you get all the nutrients you need.

When I was growing up back in Ukraine, soups were considered a very healthy food. My parents made a different soup every few days and every day I had to start my dinner with one. I was never a big fan of those soups. I did not like the boiled vegetables very much and the fact that if you don’t wait for it to cool down you can burn your tongue.

But those days that my grandmother made borsch it was different. It was kind of sweet and sour and tasted different then any other soup. Plus with garlic it had a very tangy flavor. I also really liked eating it with rounded corner of dark rustic bread. I remember cutting all the corners of a loaf of bread and just leaving behind the soft inside. My parents were not to happy about that. In my family we actually would take garlic and rub it on the bread crust and it that with borsch. Back then most of the time it was cooked with beef and sometimes I would find a marrow bone and eat it. It brings a smile to my face even thinking about it.

I also remember it was extremely filling food. It was usually first serving of a three servings dinner but after eating a plate I pretty much felt like getting out of the table and going for a nap. I even forgot about the deserts which were my favorite part any ways.

So, now days I still love Ukrainian and Russian food but unfortunately a lot of it is extremely fattening. Back then we never counted calories. It was just food. You cook it and eat it. And because there were always shortages with meat we ate it rarely but were happy to have it.

But now days I am always thinking about what is going on into each meal. And looking through my favorite Ukraine recipes, Borsch is one of the few that I can enjoy and fill well about. Of course I don’t use meat in it any more. But all the other ingredients are there. And it tastes exactly as it did back in Ukraine when I was growing up.


You need two cooking pots. A large one and a medium one. And  grater.


1) 1 a cup beans

2) 2 medium beats

3) 1 large onion

4) 2 medium carrots

5) 2-3 medium potatoes

6) 2 chilly papers

7) 1 large cabbage

8) Catchup or tomato paste

9) Garlic

10) Sour cream

11) Black bread



1) Put beans into container with cold water  and soak for about half an hour

2) Put beans into a large cooking pot and start boiling

3) At the same time boil carrots and beats in a separate cooking pot until they are half cooked. They must be semisoft.

4) Take the beats and carrots out of the pot. Cool them. Peal them. Use grater with the largest holes in it. You don’t want it to be too fine. This is not a cream soup.

5) Cut onion into medium size long strips

6) Cut cabbage into long fine strips

7) Peel potatoes and cut into medium size pieces.

8) Add beats, carrots, onions and cabbage into the large pot that already contains beans. Also, add solt, paper and 2 chilly papers

9) In about an hour you should see how soft your cabbage and beans are. If they are pretty soft and close to being done you can toss in your potatoes. Also, add the main ingredient catchup. It’s up to you how much you add. I like to add quite a lot. I try to get the super to be pretty sweat. Sometimes I even add sugar to it.

10) Cook for another half an hour or until potatoes are soft.

11) Take garlic and cut into small cubes. Those those cubes into the soup. It’s up to you how much you want to add.

12) Serve this soup steaming hot. Pore it into plates. Add one table spoon of cold sour cream into each plate. This should cool the soup down to the normal temperature. This is what gives sourness into already pretty sweet taste

13) Also, this soup should be eaten with dark bread top crust of which should be rubbed with garlic.


Recipe courtesy of  Valerie Yankelevich
Photo: Juerg Vollmer from Zürich, Schweiz (Borschtsch 01) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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