Estonian Borscht

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Grated beets, red cabbage, carrots and apple all come together in this slightly tangy borscht, a soup which has its roots in the Ukraine, but is popular in many of the Eastern and Central European countries. I love this soup for its color, simplicity and the fact that it uses all fresh produce. Not quite vegetarian, but if desired, vegetable broth can be substituted for the chicken broth. The borscht is flavored with caraway seeds, popular in the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Since we are on a culinary tour of Estonia, I thought this soup would fit in perfectly for that event hosted by myself. I served it with a homemade rye bread, the recipe soon to be posted.

When making the borscht, a food processor makes easy work of grating the beetroot, cabbage, apple and carrots. No problem if you don’t have one though, a hand grater will work as well. Garnish the finished soup with chopped hard boiled eggs, sour cream and a sprinkling of caraway seeds. Although delicious when first made, after a day in the refrigerator allowed the flavors to meld. For more recipes on Estonia, visit Estonia- “O” is for Orzotto- Abbecedario Culinario della Comunita Europea. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. Enjoy!

Estonian Borscht

Original Recipe

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

1-3/4 pounds beets (beetroot), peeled and grated

1 small red cabbage, finely shredded

1 large cooking apple, grated

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 carrots, grated

1 large bay leaf

2 garlic cloves, minced

8-3/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 hard boiled eggs, chopped, to garnish

1/2 cup sour cream, to top soup

Melt butter over medium heat in a large heavy pot. Add the caraway seeds and beets. Stir to coat in the butter. Season to taste.

Add the cabbage and apple to the pan, then the vinegar, carrots, bay leaf and garlic. Cover and simmer gently for 2 hours, adding a little water if needed to maintain the soups consistency.

Serve the hot borscht topped with the hard boiled egg and pass the sour cream around. Serves 6-8.

Abbecedario Culinario della Comunita Europea


Please do not use images or text without my permission. 


  1. Chiara Giglio
    November 3, 2013 / 9:54 am

    I’ll have to give your recipe a try, have a nice day Lynne !

  2. SeattleDee
    November 8, 2013 / 8:29 am

    I agree, borscht does mellow and the flavors deepen after resting a day or two in the fridge. This version sounds quite tempting.

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