Reprinted from The Blood Type Diet Website (

Contributed by: from Janet Berketa blogAdded: Mar 14, 2008 at 01:12 PM


I will try to tell you here how to make borscht. I donít measure anything, so itís difficult to describe it, but hereís what I did:

  • 1 large onion
  • Thinly sliced leafy celery
  • white beans [or other BTD compliant beans or barley]
  • water
  • rutabaga
  • carrot
  • tomatoes (optional)
  • cabbage (optional)
  • 3 large beets
  • dill
  • turnip
  • parsnip
  • collard greens with stems (finely chopped) or beet greens
  • parsley
  • garlic
  • bay leaves
  • sea salt
  • sour cream, yogurt or lemon juice
How to make it:
  1. Sautť a large onion in a little olive oil, adding thinly sliced celery to the mix.
  2. I usually buy the leafiest celery I can find in the store (a challenge, to be sure!) because the leaves give a huge amount of flavor to any soup. Chop them small if you can get them. The cabbage should be sautťed with the onion and celery, if you use it.
  3. In the meantime, pick over a goodly amount of white beans, culling the broken and discolored ones (and any little stones or clumps of dirt) and wash them well. Remember to stir the onion/celery mix from time to time while you do this. Add these to the cooked onion/celery mix, and cover with water.
  4. Now the work begins! Borscht is a vegetable soup, mostly the hardy type of root vegetables. I cannot make it without using rutabaga and carrot. I have an A blood type housemate, so I canít use the traditional tomatoes and cabbage, even though, as a B non-secreter, I can eat borscht with these ingredients. It tastes just fine without them. If you can use them safely for your blood type, throw them in.
  5. The borscht I made yesterday included the lovely sweet white and purple turnip, parsnip, collard greens (with stems) chopped very fine, parsley, garlic, a couple of bay leaves, rutabaga and carrot. At the end, I peeled and chopped 3 large beets. This is the main and most important ingredient for borscht. The water must be a deep red when you finish putting the vegetables into the pot.
  6. Keep adding water as you add vegetables, and make sure it is an inch or two above the top of the vegetables in the end. If itís not already boiling, bring it to a boil, cover the pot and keep it on a low simmer for the rest of the day Ė partly to make sure the beans are cooked well, and partly to bring the flavors of all the vegetables into one homogenizes delicious mass.
  7. When you are ready to serve the borshcht, it should be a dark pinkish color, red if youíve added enough beets. The mixture I made yesterday tasted quite sweet, so it needed a fair amount of salt, which I usually add just before serving, tasting to make sure itís right.
  8. The two main ingredients that make vegetable soup into Ukrainian borshcht are a lot of beets, and dill weed. It is not borshcht if it doesnít have dill weed in it, and if it isnít red in color. The dill weed will lose flavor if you add it too early, so I usually throw it in at the end, before serving. I added two handfuls of it, dry, grinding it between my hands to create more flavor.
  9. The last thing to add as you serve your borshcht is a dollop of sour cream, which really adds a lot. Yogurt can also be used, but itís not as nice a flavor (says she who grew up eating sour cream on almost everything from the kitchen). If sour cream is really not to your taste, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice will add a bit of zing and is an acceptable substitute.

    It is very nice if you have fresh dill growing in your garden, to snip some of the weed into the pot at the last minute, or if you remember to buy it when out shopping if itís not garden season. I always keep a jar of dry dill weed in my kitchen in case I donít have either of the above options.

    You can also use other beans or barley, another specifically Ukrainian ingredient, and my parents would use a large soup bone with shreds of meat clinging to it. If Iíd had a bunch of beets with greens on top, I would have used the beet greens and stems as well, instead of the collard greens.

    While borshcht is a vegetable soup of the clean-out-the-refrigerator type, not all vegetables are good for it. Avoid soft types of vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli. Peppers are also a no-no. I have never used squash Ė winter or summer varieties - for the same reason.