Classic Red Borscht with Ribs
This Classic Red Borscht with Ribs (beet soup) is a traditional Ukrainian dish, loaded with vegetables such as potatoes, beets, cabbage, carrots and more. This hearty soup is very popular and loved by so many all around the world.
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.
The Red Borscht is one of the family-favorite soup recipes that is always in demand and regularly on the menu. There are many varieties of this dish and all remarkable in their own way. Our classic version of this recipe had been in our family since forever.
Many red borscht recipes call for tomato paste, vinegar or lemon juice to bring out the ruby red color in this dish. I have tried adding vinegar to borscht, but it tends to shorten the time of freshness of cooked borscht. It turns out too sour by the end of the day. Keeping it simple and classic will keep this dish fresh-like next day.
The secret to the bright red color in borscht is hidden in the beets. I like to use Trader Joe’s beets as they always make borscht so vibrant. Beets from different grocery stores might bring different results in color. Your soup might turn out ruby red color, bright red or even dark orange. However, the texture and flavor will still be the same.
My Family’s Borscht Recipe (Beet Soup):
This is our family’s version of the classic borscht recipe and it’s one of the three soups that we regularly have on the menu at our house. Sorrel Soup being one of them.
We like to make the Red Borscht with pork ribs. The ribs take longer to cook as you want them to fall off the bones. If you want quicker results – use cubed pork meat instead. Cook them for half hour less than the ribs.
Red Borscht is very nutritious and loaded with super tasty and healthy ingredients. Red beets are the focal point of this dish, followed by potatoes, carrots, cabbage and beans. In other words, this dish is packed with iron, potassium, vitamin C, carotene, fiber, protein and much more. It’s the perfect healthy dish to serve for your family.
Because of so many delicious ingredients in red borscht, it is really good for infants. I started feeding both of my kids with this soup since they were 6-7 months old. I blended into puree and served at room temperature. It really helped with tummy issues.
How to Peel and Cut Beets:
- Use gloves when handling beets or your hands will stain red for a day (less or more).
- Peel the beets using a potato peeler.
- We like to grate beets onto a large hole of grater. The beets will soften once cooked and the texture will match other ingredients used in borscht.
Ingredients for Classic Ukrainian Borscht:
- Pork baby back ribs – the more meat on ribs, the better
- Large Yukon potatoes
- Medium red beets
- Green cabbage
- Medium yellow onion
- Medium carrots
- Pork canned beans
- Dried bay leaves
- Grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
- Kosher salt
- Sour cream for serving
- Fresh dill for garnish – optional
Prepare all of the ingredients while pork ribs are cooking. It will make the process of soup making faster and much easier. Start by peeling, chopping, grating, slicing and dicing all of the vegetables for borscht.
Transfer peeled, cubed potatoes to a bowl of cold water to keep them from discoloring until ready to use.
How to Make Classic Red Borscht with Pork Ribs:
1. Place rinsed ribs into a large soup pot (6 qt) or dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then drain water with the foam crud as soon as it boils. Rinse ribs and place back into the pot. Add cold water, bay leaves and kosher salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and keep at light boil for 1 hour until meat falls off the bones.
3. In a small skillet over medium heat, add grapeseed oil and saute chopped yellow onion for 4-5 minutes until softened and translucent. Add julienned carrots and continue to saute for another 4-5 minutes or until softened (adding more oil if it seems too dry). Turn off heat, set aside.
4. Once ribs are cooked, increase heat to medium and add grated red beets and cubed gold potatoes to the pot. Bring to a boil, cook for 10 minutes.
5. Add shredded green cabbage and sautéed onion/carrots to the pot, bring to a boil and cook 5-7 minutes or until potatoes can be easily pierced with fork.
6. Add rinsed pork beans, cook for 1-2 minutes. Add more salt to taste (I added 2 teaspoons kosher salt). Turn off heat. Let the pot rest covered for 20-30 minutes for the flavors to meld.
7. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh bread. Once cooled, refrigerate leftovers. Reheat over medium heat to enjoy the next day.
These Dishes are Regularly on the Menu at our House:
- Deruny (Ukrainian Potato Pancakes) – served as main dish, side dish or snack
- Easy Fluffy Pancakes – fluffy and delicious every time
- Marinated Baked Chicken Tenderloins – kids’ favorite
- Sweet BBQ Pork Ribs in Slow Cooker – the best BBQ ribs you’ll ever have
- Ukrainian Oven Roasted Cabbage with Pork – simple, easy and satisfying with each bite
- Ukrainian Pork Meatballs (kotlety) with Pasta – always in demand, freezer-friendly
Classic Red Borscht with Pork Ribs
- 4-5 pork baby back ribs
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 large Yukon gold potatoes - peeled and cubed
- 2 medium red beets - peeled and grated
- 1 1/2 cups green cabbage - shredded
- 1 medium yellow onion - finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots - grated or julienned
- 8 oz canned pork beans - rinsed in cold water
- 2-3 teaspoons kosher salt - or to taste
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil (vegetable okay too)
- sour cream - for serving
- fresh dill for garnish - optional
- 10-12 cups cold water - for soup
- additional water for cooking and rinsing meat
- Rinse 4-5 pork ribs in cold water, place into a large soup pot (6 qt) or dutch oven and cover with water (1-2” above ribs). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then drain water with the foam crud as soon as it boils. Rinse ribs to remove any foam crud left on them and place ribs back into the pot.
- Add 10-12 cups cold water, 2 dried bay leaves and 1 tsp kosher salt. Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and keep at light boil for 1 hour until meat falls off the bones.
- Peel, grate and/or chop all vegetables, keeping cubed potatoes in cold water until ready to use. Rinse canned beans in cold water and keep in cylinder until ready to use.
- In a small skillet over medium heat, add 3 tbsp grapeseed oil and saute 1 finely chopped medium yellow onion for 4-5 mins until softened and translucent. Add julienned 2 medium carrots and continue to saute for another 4-5 mins or until softened (adding more oil if it seems too dry). Turn off heat, set aside.
- Once ribs are cooked, increase heat to medium and add 2 grated red beets and 2 cubed gold potatoes to the pot. Bring to a boil, cook for 10 mins.
- Add 1 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage and sautéed onion/carrots to the pot, bring to a boil and cook 5-7 mins or until potatoes can be easily pierced with fork.
- Add rinsed 8 oz canned pork beans, cook for 1-2 mins. Add more salt to taste (I added 2 tsp kosher salt). Turn off heat. Let the pot rest covered for 20-30 minutes for the flavors to meld.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh bread. Once cooled, refrigerate leftovers. Reheat over medium heat to enjoy the next day.
- I like to purchase ribs at Costco as they have lots of meat on them.
- You may use cubed pork meat in place of ribs. Follow the same procedure, but cook cubed meat for 25-30 minutes.
- Shredded green cabbage can be substituted for purple cabbage in the same amount asked in recipe. The color of borscht will slightly be different.
- Canned beans can be replaced for any other beans to your preference.