Green borscht (soup) with sorrel recipe

To cook green soup with sorrel is an easy and delicious way to welcome spring. Green borscht has its name because of the main ingredient used in it. Ukrainians call it schavel. It gives the dish specific green color.

What is schavel

schavel shav sorrel

Schavel is a wild or garden plant used in cooking soups or sauces. The main Ukrainian dish where this ingredient is used is green borscht (soup) which is seasonal. Schavel has specific sour taste but it easily loses its bright green color and shrivels when heated. So in order to make the dish thicker and more nutritious spinach or nettle may be used instead. They remain bright green even if heated or boiled and have neutral delicate flavor. If combined with schavel they emphasize its taste.


To make green borscht, take:

  • spareribs (or chicken) – 300-400 g;
  • sorrel leaves – a big bunch;
  • carrots – 1 piece;
  • onions – 1 piece;
  • parsley or parsnip root – to one’s taste;
  • potatoes – 2-3 pieces;
  • eggs – 2 pieces;
  • butter – 50 g;
  • spices: salt, pepper, bay leaf – to one’s taste;
  • sour cream – to one’s taste.

How to cook

First make broth using spareribs or chicken. Then add carrots and roots chopped in big pieces. Slit onions and boil with broth for 20 min.

Boil eggs. Cool them down under cold running order and peel.

After broth is ready remove parsnip roots and bay leaves.

Peel and cut potatoes into pieces. Add them to sour sorrel borscht.

Add salt and pepper to your own taste.

Rinse sorrel leaves properly, separate from stalks and shred. Grind parsley. When potatoes are almost ready add sorrel and boil for another 3-4 min.

Put greens and eggs, keep boiling for 2 min.

If you crave for green borscht in winter and didn’t get the chance to freeze some shavel use spinach twice as much to cook spinach borscht. But then don’t forget to add lemon juice to give sour taste to the dish. Otherwise the taste will change.

Zelenyi borscht has about 60 calories per 100 g.

If cooked without meat it has fewer calories and is considered dietary.

green borscht with sorrel ukrainian

How to serve

An important step in serving Ukrainian green borscht is adding a piece of butter. It gives shavel borscht unique taste. The dish must draw for 10-15 min. After that go over to serving.

Shav soup is normally served hot with sour-cream and garlic on top. Greens and spring onions go well with it. As the dish is traditionally cooked in spring and summer time it is often called summer borscht and may be served cold.

Chef advice

  • Real green borscht shouldn’t have watery bod. To make it thicker add a raw egg at a final stage or mash a full potato.
  • Put sorrel leaves at the very end. Otherwise they will lose not only taste and look but also health-giving properties.
  • Old sorrel leaves are sourer than fresh ones. If you parboil them before use this will help to get rid of extreme sour taste.
  • Keep in mind that if shav borscht is cooked with raw eggs it will expand. So leave space, don’t fill up saucepan with water and after adding eggs don’t cover it with a lid.

Available ingredients, easy cooking process and delicious taste make green borscht with sorrel favorite dish of many Ukrainians regardless of the season.

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