Summer Borscht

This summer borscht, this more refined and lighter version of the hearty beet soup popular in eastern Europe is made with beets, carrots, celery, and tomatoes and served chilled.

A small bowl of lemon wedges and two white bowls of deep purple summer borscht with a dollop or sour cream and sprinkling of chives in each.

This summer borscht is an easy and elegant version of the traditional robust and hearty beet soup from Eastern Europe. It has a more subdued, subtle beet presence than you’re probably accustomed to and will garner endless accolades when served chilled, whether as a starter, side, or a simple lunch.–Angie Zoobkoff

Summer Borscht

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 20 M
  • 1 H, 10 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 2 reviews
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  • For the borscht
  • To serve


In a large saucepan over high heat, toss in the vegetables, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, water, sugar, and salt.

Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 40 to 60 minutes.

Strain through a fine mesh sieve, reserving the broth and discarding or composting the vegetables. Let the soup cool.

Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Taste and, if desired, adjust the salt, pepper, and lemon.

Cover and refrigerate until chilled through, at least 2 hours and preferably at least 12 hours to allow the flavors to meld.

Serve the borscht cold, ladled into bowls or poured into cups or shot glasses. If desired, embellish with a swirl of heavy cream or a spoonful of sour cream and a scattering of chives.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Since marrying into a Russian family, I have had many bowls of borscht. And there have definitely been none quite as light and refreshing as this one. I really enjoyed its freshness and how each of the vegetables shone in this simple broth. There was a strong beet undertone but not overwhelmingly so. Even my hubby, who generally is only a fan of the versions that are heavy on cream and butter and light on beets, enjoyed it.

It was simple to make, and while I'm not sure that the sour cream added anything, it was certainly pretty to look at. (Besides, Russian food generally involves a mandatory dollop of sour cream on everything.)

This borscht was a simple recipe to pull together. The ingredients are easily found and the kitchen smelled AMAZING while this was cooking. I couldn't wait to taste it. The finished product was beautiful and tasted wonderful.

I can absolutely see it being served in little glasses to guests before dinner out on the lawn or terrace. Kind of a non-alcoholic aperitif. It’s elegant and tasty. Although it’s so thin that I can't imagine it standing alone. I think I would add a few mini cubed beets to the broth before serving. They could be cooked in a microwave while to broth is simmering so they retain their flavor.

I see myself making this again in the winter but with tiny bits of beets, carrots, and potatoes. It is simply too good not to make again and again I just need to figure out how to make it work for me.


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