This vegetarian recipe for slow cooker borscht is bursting with flavor and beautiful color. It’s a hearty beet stew made with potatoes, carrots, cabbage, fresh dill, and a delicious broth spiked with vinegar and tomato paste. The final step is blending part of the soup with olive oil to give it some creaminess. Serve with sour cream and crunchy bread for a yummy meal!
Boy oh boy…this is a good one!!! It’s hard to believe I don’t have a borscht recipe on here already, given my affinity for beets and all. So I’m really glad to finally be sharing one now!
My version of borscht is vegetarian and made in the slow cooker. Even without meat, it’s hearty and satisfying, and cooking it in the crock pot makes it a very low maintenance recipe. Plus, you’ll get that added bonus of the house smelling AMAZING while it cooks, just like my Rosemary Honey Slow Cooker Beets.
The best part about borscht is the flavorful broth. I made sure to add some acid from tomato paste and vinegar to yield that signature sour taste. There’s a little sugar to balance it all out and plenty of fresh dill, too. You’re going to love it!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Beets: Since this is a slow cooker borscht, you’ll use peeled, raw beets that you cut into cubes. If you want to make the recipe on the stovetop, you’ll need to use roasted beets. See the Variations section for tips. Red beets will provide that beautiful borscht color, but you can use golden or chioggia beets if desired.
- Potatoes: Use a starchy potato, such as Yukon gold or Russet. I use Yukon gold.
- Carrots: If you don’t have carrots, consider substituting parsnips.
- Onion: I like to use yellow onion but you can substitute red or white onions or even leeks.
- Cabbage: Any kind of cabbage will work here. Red cabbage adds some more beautiful color, but I usually use plain green cabbage.
- Dill: Use fresh or dried dill. If substituting dried for fresh, use ⅓ of what the recipe suggests.
- Vegetable broth: You can substitute beef broth if that’s all you have.
- Salt, pepper, bay leaf, garlic, sugar: To add flavor and balance the sour ingredients.
- Tomato paste: If you don’t have tomato paste, you can substitute 4 ounces (½ cup) of tomato sauce.
- Red wine vinegar: This is my preferred vinegar for slow cooker borscht, but you can use apple cider or white wine vinegar too.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Blending a couple cups of soup with olive oil creates an emulsion and contributes some creaminess.
- Sour cream and bread: For serving. Skip if you need this recipe to be vegan and/or gluten free. You can also serve with yogurt instead of sour cream.
The full recipe card with ingredient quantities and steps is at the bottom of the post.
Prep the ingredients. Peel and cut the vegetables into cubes. You can keep the peel on the potatoes and carrots if desired, but the beets should be peeled.
Place the vegetables (except for the cabbage) in the slow cooker. Whisk together the ingredients for the broth, pour over the veggies, cover, and cook for at least 4 hours on high and 7 to 8 hours on low.
About 45 minutes before serving, transfer 2 cups of cooked soup to a blender. Add ½ cup olive oil and blend until smooth.
Add the olive oil and soup mixture back to the slow cooker. Stir in the cabbage and fresh dill. Cover and cook until the cabbage is tender, about 30 to 45 minutes on high.
- Stovetop: If you want to make slow cooker borscht on the stovetop instead, you will need to use roasted or canned beets. Use pre-roasted beets, like Love Beets, that you can find at most grocery store to save time. Follow these steps for making stovetop borscht:
- Cook the onion in a little olive oil in a pot.
- Add the carrots and potato and cook for about 10 minutes until they start to soften.
- Stir in the beets, garlic, salt, pepper, and tomato paste. Cook for a couple minutes.
- Pour in the broth and vinegar. Add the sugar and bay leaf to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes or until the potato is tender.
- Stir in the cabbage and dill and cook until the cabbage is tender.
- Add more protein: Stir in a can of white beans or chickpeas for more vegetarian protein.
- Using an immersion instead of upright blender: I recommend transferring a couple cups of soup to an upright blender to blend with the olive oil. However, you can use an immersion (handheld) blender to blend up some of the soup. Just be careful not to blend it all and to leave chunks of vegetables. Stir in the olive oil before using the immersion blender so that it gets well-incorporated.
Storage and Reheating
Borscht, like most soups, tastes even better the next day! Store leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through.
You can also freeze slow cooker borscht. Let the soup cool completely. Transfer to freezer-safe containers, leaving about an inch of headspace to allow for expansion while freezing. Seal tightly and label. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months. Reheat straight from frozen in a covered saucepan, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Alternatively, thaw frozen soup in the fridge overnight before reheating.
I love to serve borscht with crunchy bread and butter. You can also serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches, baked fish, pork tenderloin, or a salad. Try it with my Kale and Broccoli Salad with Lemon Parmesan Dressing.
More Beet Recipes
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Slow Cooker Borscht
- 1 yellow onion - diced
- 1 pound beets - peeled and diced, about 3 cups
- 3 carrots - peeled and diced, about 1.5 cups
- 1 Yukon gold potato - diced, about 2 cups
- 7 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups shredded cabbage
- ½ cup chopped fresh dill
- Sour cream - for serving; leave out to make vegan
- Crunchy bread and butter - for serving; optional
- Add the diced onion, beets, carrots, and potato to a slow cooker (at least 4 quarts or larger).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the broth, garlic, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour this over the vegetables. Add the bay leaf to the pot.
- Cook on high for at least 4 hours or low for 7 hours. The vegetables should be tender.
- After the soup has cooked for 4 hours on high or 7 hours on low, carefully transfer 2 cups (without the bay leaf) to an upright blender. Add the ½ cup of olive oil. Blend until smooth. You will want to allow steam to escape while blending by cracking the lid slightly or removing the center plastic piece and covering the opening with a dish towel. Pour the blended soup back into the slow cooker.
- Stir in the shredded cabbage and chopped dill. Cover and cook on high for 30 to 45 minutes or until the cabbage is cooked through.
- Serve the soup with sour cream or yogurt and bread if desired. Enjoy!
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post)!
- Store leftovers in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until warmed through.
- To freeze borscht, let it cool completely. Transfer to freezer-safe containers, leaving an inch of headspace for expansion. Seal tightly and label. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months. Reheat from frozen or thawed.
Enjoy this cozy meal! – Lizzie
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