Borscht Beets ♥ Beets in Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt

Borscht Beets (Beets in Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt) ♥, simple, summery. Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free.
Russian-style beets, cooked then tossed in sour cream or Greek yogurt, earthy caraway and fresh dill. It makes for a delicious beet salad!

Great for Meal Prep. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegetarian. Naturally Gluten Free.

Lucky Break the First Time

Back in April 2005, A Veggie Venture was only days old when I scanned the vegetable sections of some favorite cookbooks, attaching post-it notes to the promising-looking pages. Do you use this time-saving trick too? Post-it notes make it so easy, later, to flip from one pre-selected recipe to the next, bypassing the ones that don't stir interest or fit my cooking sensibility just then. It's like offline Favorites for cookbooks and cooking magazines! Sometimes I even add a tag like "fall" or "spring" or underline a key ingredient. Handy!

But I missed the Borscht Beets until July, when a cookbook opened up all on its own to an unmarked page. Thank you, Ye Veggie Gods – the recipe for Borscht Beets is a keeper!

But the Distinctive Flavors Keep This Recipe On Repeat

Back in 2005, the recipe was a winner if only because all the ingredients were on hand, including a bowl of field-dusty beets from the farmers market that needed attention. But the taste was utterly distinctive – the blend of caraway and sour cream was subtle and screaming at the same time.

So as it turns out, out, this is a recipe I turn to quite often. It's made with on-hand ingredients and people really like it. So do I! And now I make it both with sour cream and the more calorie-friendly non-fat Greek yogurt. Both are excellent!

ON A PERSONAL NOTE One of the many joys of food blogging is how certain posts remind me of sweet little moments that would otherwise be forgotten. My photography skills have improved since I updated this photo in 2011 but oh, how the memories flood back. The green serving dish was my mother's, the tree and the light confirm that the shot was taken while visiting my dad in Minnesota during summer. In the background is my dog, Lady, now gone, who loved our visits Up North. The photo captures her in a rare quiet moment and it all brings both a tear and a smile to my eye. Could there be a "better" photo? Not for me, not for me. ~Alanna

~recipe updated, first published way back in 2005~
~more recently updated recipes~


Hands-on time: 10 minutes if the beets are already cooked
Time to table: 15 minutes

If the beets need cooking:
Active time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Makes 3 cups

Water to cover
1-1/2 (680g) pounds uncooked fresh beets
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 small red onion or yellow onion, chopped
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (don't skip this)

Cooked Beets, bite-size pieces
Onion Mixture
1/2 cup sour cream (reduced from the recipe's 1 cup but I found it generous)
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
Additional kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

COOK THE BEETS Fill a large saucepan with enough water to cover the beets plus about an inch. Place it on the stove on MEDIUM HIGH heat and bring the water to a boil. While the water boils, clean and prep the beets. Wash them well. Without cutting into the beet itself, cut off the stem ends, leaving about an inch intact. Then trim the hairy roots. You'll be tempted but do not cut off the root end, that's the "tail" (aka the tap root) and if you cut it off, all the beet juices will seep out while cooking. Add the beets and salt to the boiling water. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. When the water begins to boil, reduce the heat to MEDIUM and let simmer for about 45 minutes or until the beets give way easily when a small knife is inserted into the flesh. Transfer to a colander to drain, let cool until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes.

ONION MIXTURE Combine the onion, vinegar, sugar and caraway seeds in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over MEDIUM HIGH. Set aside.

SALAD Peel the beets, just use your hands, the skins should peel right off. Chop into bite-size pieces. Stir in the Onion Mixture, sour cream and dill. Season to taste. Serve at room temperature.

You could also roast the beets, I have two favorite ways, My Favorite Way to Roast Beets and My Favorite New Way to Roast Beets. Either one would work. Consider roasting extra beets, they're so handy to have on hand, either for eating plain or making into other beet salads.
Sour cream is traditional here and so-so good. But I'll tell you, there's so much earthiness in the beets and so much sweet-sharpness in the slightly reduced vinegar that switching from sour cream to non-fat Greek yogurt is no sacrifice at all. Either way, I think you'll be happy.

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© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2005, 2008, 2011, 2019 (repub) & 2020

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. These sound delish! I'll have to give them a try.

  2. Alanna-This brought back a flood of memories for me as well, but with a slight (and simpler) variation. My Mom had enjoyed a similar dish at Boone Tavern inn Berea, KY in the early 60s and adapted it to fit her busy schedule. Should would use a jar of baby pickled beets, finely sliced green onions and sour cream. They would be served as a small side dish, beets, then the sour cream with the onions sprinkled on top. It became a family standard with better than average dinners...

    1. Hi Walter ~ It’s always so good to hear from you! And I’m happy to deliver a memory of your mom, it’s so interesting that you remember so many details! I love the simplicity of your mom’s version! Stay in touch!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna