Kaleenka Borshch (borsch/borscht)

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Total Time
10 mins
30 mins

One of my favorite restaurants in Seattle was Kaleenka's on First Avenue. I loved their borshch and piroshky, and I always felt warm and comfortable in the restaurant. Kaleenka's has unfortunately closed, but I did find their recipe for borshch in "Dining Ethnic Around Puget Sound" which was published in 1993. This is an excellent borshch, well worth making! Kaleenka featured good Russian hearty fare, traditional cooking from the Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Georgia. The name "Kaleenka" was derived from a ubiquitous shrub that grows all across Russia, which is revered since ancient times as a symbol of the land and culture. According to Kaleenka's... there are many variations of the soup called "borshch," and this one is a vegetarian recipe. What's the secret of a good borshch? Brown the vegetables separately. How do you pronounce "borshch?" Like the "sh ch" in "fresh cheese." In Russian it is indicated by a single letter.

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  1. In a large skillet, brown the onions, beets, carrots, and potato separately in oil, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. In a large pot, bring water to boil.
  3. When water is boiling, add the cabbage, green pepper, and celery; the vegetables will cool the water, so bring it back to boil.
  4. Then add the browned vegetables from the skillet, salt, and pepper; simmer until the vegetables are soft but not mushy, about 20 minutes, then add the tomato juice.
  5. Serve hot, topped with a generous dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of dill.
  6. If you put the borshch in a crockpot and bring along the garnish, it goes over well at potlucks, too!