2 February 2009


Russian Beetroot Soup

RUSSIAN BEETROOT SOUP – From Russia with love:

Not from James Bond, but from Katya – my gorgeous Russian friend, who definately passes for a Bond girl, but who prefers to spend her spare time in the kitchen rather than being a damsel in distress!

When I asked her about Russian cuisine, she said that ” it is traditionally based on peasant foods because of the extreme climate, and that it is very common for Russian recipes to include simple ingredients such as eggs, flour, milk, sour cream, cabbage, potatoes, carrots and beetroot.”

When I think of Russian beetroot soup the 1st thing that comes to mind is borscht – made with cubes of beetroot, a variety of other vegetables & served with sour cream.

The current recipe is a hand me down from Katya’s friend, a Russian chef, who gave it to her, she then passed it on to me & I am now sharing my version with you 🙂 It is a delicious modern take on the traditional Russian beetroot soup. There are no potatoes or cabbage and the sour cream has been replaced by goats cheese.

The taste is surprising complex – as the ingredients work so well together that you cannot immediately distinguish one from the other. Only after a few minutes does each flavour take on its own persona. The goats cheese* is a nice contrast in colour, taste & texture to the soup, which is warming, rich & smooth, just perfect for the winter months.

I did a little improvising when reading through the recipe & decided to make it with only 1L of stock & not 2, giving it a slightly heartier consistency. I also reduced the cream to a fraction – for digestion reasons and put only a 1/4 of the garlic into the goats cheese and dried basil instead of parsley (which I didn’t have on hand) . In the future I will toast the pine-nuts as it brings out their flavour.

*NOTE: If you have a food allergy or do not like goat cheese, I would suggest using cream cheese, crème fresh or greek yogurt. Any one of the three will work. If you are sensitive to raw garlic, you can always omit this or use just a little sprinkle of dried garlic fakes.



  • 1 extra large raw beetroot without stalk (400 gr)
  • 1 large carrot (100 gr)
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1L vegetable stock

Goats cheese cream

  • 100 gr fresh goats cheese / fromage de chèvre
  • 1/4 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • Pine nuts for decoration
  1. Peel & chop the beetroot & carrot into small cubes, set aside.
  2. Peel & chop the onion. Heat the oil & sweat the onions for a few minutes.
  3. Add the chopped beetroot & carrots. Stir & cook on medium/low heat until slightly soft.
  4. Add the tomato purée & then the stock. Stir, then cover. Cook until vegetable become soft (10 minutes)
  5. While waiting, in a small bowl mix the goats cheese, crushed garlic, dried basil & pepper to taste. Set aside.
  6. Toast the pine nuts till slightly golden.
  7. Separate the stock & cooked vegetable. Using a blender mix the vegetable while gradually adding the stock.
  8. Finally add the cream to the mixed soup.
  9. Serve warm, with a teaspoonful of goats cheese cream & sprinkled with toasted pine-nuts.


  1. Katya Says:

    So happy you liked it! A nice soup for the cold winter days, it has become a favourite in our family.
    Love the Russian dolls in the background 🙂

    • Katya : hi lovely, thanks for the note. It has become a favourite in our family too! Made it 3 times in 1 week. We will soon be turning pink ha ha
      A sweet friend of mine gave me the lovely dolls we I adore!

  2. Irena Says:

    nice,I like how it is written…but some comment about Russian food from petersburger, who are only said to be “russians”.
    North and south Siberia and Far North are so different.I am writting a book about local food of the North Russia and think about who we are and who I am…most common food in the North fish, fish,fish, sea fish river fish,berries adn mashrooms, veggies- meat for Xmas. And if I dare to say- more common root local food looks like Finnish and Swedish, then we get to German one and Russian one and then it is French.Borsch- yes happens but it is known as Polisha dn Southern thing. pancakes- special occasion of Orthodox Church in traditional family, but Jewish adn german fish dishes are something for weekend… and everyday.YOu brought up with Grimm brothers adn soucrout and sausages,red cabbage and farschmak…Then instead of pancakes you rather have ” petifurz” and “buche” and some other funny things like finns have. So it is with words- baton-white bread there is white bread but really bread is wholegrain one and made of rye and oat as well as wheat.
    When I come to Moscow I get into another world, when I get to Murmansk again- something of Old free Russia.
    but things have changed…

    • Hi Irena,
      thanks for your detailed comment. I would love to hear more about Russian food from you and perhaps try some of your recipes.
      While we were in Moscow this summer my friend Katya made us a wonderful honey & smitana cake. It is on my to do list.

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