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bowl of vegan borscht beet soup with vushka dumplings
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5 from 2 votes

Meatless Borscht Soup (Pisnyi Borshch) пісний борщ

Pisnyi borscht is a traditional vegan beet soup served on Christmas Eve in Ukraine, and it’s also enjoyed all year round. Recipe for Instant Pot or stovetop.
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 1 hr 15 mins
Total: 1 hr 45 mins
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Eastern European, Russian, Ukrainian
Servings: 6 bowls
Calories: 138kcal
Cost: $0.49


  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil 50g; see Note 1
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin 15g
  • 1 onion, finely diced 200g
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced 140g
  • 1/8 head green cabbage, chopped 100g *can sub 1/2 cup sauerkraut for a more sour soup
  • 3 red beets, shredded or grated 450g
  • 1 handful beet leaves, roughly chopped *optional
  • 2 fresh tomatoes or 1/4 of a 28oz can, diced 200g
  • 1 tsp fine salt or 1/2 tbsp kosher salt 6 g
  • 1 tsp ground paprika *optional
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns or 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 allspice berries or 1/8 tsp ground allspice *optional
  • 1 qt vegetable stock or water 960g + more for a thinner soup
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped 7g
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped 7g


  • Set the Instant Pot to Sauté function on Normal mode. (Stovetop: put a stockpot or Dutch oven on medium heat.) When the display reads "Hot," pour oil into the pot followed by garlic, onion, celery, and cabbage.
  • Sauté for 5 minutes, then add the beets and beet leaves.
  • Sauté another 5 minutes, then add tomatoes, paprika, salt, and vegetable stock, and turn off the Instant Pot.
  • Put the bay leaves, black peppercorns, and allspice berries into a soup bag or tea ball, then drop it into the pot. (If you don't have an infuser thingy, I suggest using ground spices instead and remember to fish out the bay leaves when the soup is done cooking.)
  • Lock the lid onto the Instant Pot. Press the Soup function and adjust the time to 10 minutes. (Stovetop: cover and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.)
  • When the Instant Pot finishes cooking, allow pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes before releasing any remaining pressure. (Stovetop: turn off the stove and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.)
  • Remove the lid and give everything a stir. Scoop out the soup infuser ball.
  • This soup can be eaten hot or cold. Before serving, top with dill and parsley. If you're serving borscht for Christmas Eve, drop 4–5 boiled vushka (see Note 2) into each bowl.