Bernie's beetroot soup

borscht with sour cream and dill

Bernie's beetroot soup is just the traditional Polish borscht, made alternatively with a chicken-bones stock.

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 15th October, 2020.

Bernie's beetroot soup in pressure cooker

Notice incidentally that this is cooked on an induction stove; a wonderful inexpensive innovation for any kitchen, they use half the electricity and cook at twice the speed.

I have had a love affair with beetroot dishes ever since I discovered, after years of misery, that its soluble fibre was the cure for my miserable chronic constipation. Whenever I get gummed up these days, I know where to turn.

Follow it up with Helen's fifteen-euro salad, and perhaps stewed prunes for breakfast and I guarantee the rabbit pellets will be a thing of the past.

We always keep our chicken-bones in the freezer, and then make up the stock; it is very strong so you must dilute it several times. Hopefully you have a pressure cooker; in half an hour you will have the wonderful benefits of this anti-inflammatory medicine to add to the flavour; that is proven information from Harvard, incidentally.


  • Half a dozen medium sized beets
  • Small bunch of beet greens
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 chopped parsnip
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken bone broth
  • Large pat of butter to saute the onion
  • 1/3 of the pulp of a lemon; get the pips out.
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cream
  • Salt, pepper, fine chopped dill and sour cream for a topping.
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spices.

Tip: You'll often find recipes recommending vinegar. It is much nicer with lemon juice.

Pressure cook the beetroot for fifteen minutes, cool them and then peel off their skins which you can discard. Add your choice of mixed spices, salt and pepper, and set aside whilst you prepare the other vegetables.

  1. Saute the chopped onion lightly in the butter.
  2. Add the chopped vegetables and spices, minus the tomato, and saute further for a few minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable or chicken bones broth and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and boil gently until all the vegetables are tender.
  5. Add the beet greens.
  6. Add the beetroot and simmer for another five minutes. Remove from heat.
  7. After removing the cinnamon stick, add the pulp of a third of a lemon, and puree using a stick blender. 
  8. Taste. Dribble in more lemon juice to taste. More salt?
  9. Pour into the soup plates, and add a dollop of sour cream and garnish with the chopped dill, green coriander or rocket.

It is just as good hot or cold.

This is not just a matter of inconvenience. Chronic constipation is the underlying cause of many serious bowel conditions including colorectal disease, and is certainly a factor in acute lower back pain.

Bearing down to pass the stool is not just agony but will also certainly aggravate a slipped disc; that is the DC speaking.

Borscht is usually a vegetable dish but I often make it using our chicken-bones bouillon. I abhor throwing away all the pulp when making a veggie stock; that is where more than half the goodies are.

Just compare OJ from a carton and freshly squeezed orange juice including the pulp; chalk and cheese.

The traditional vegetables in your borscht would be beetroot, onion, carrots, celery, tomato and a parsnip. Add some vinegar and sour-cream and you have the tantalising sweet and sour taste.

Some recipes use red wine instead of vinegar; I have yet to try it, but it sounds good. Today I'm going to use lemon juice.

If the beets are young enough, they have plenty of sweetness; no added sugar, or perhaps just a teaspoon, is necessary. Add your favourite spices and some fresh dill and you have Bernie's beetroot soup.

A pressure cooker means cutting the time by two-thirds; perfect for the busy chef, and a nice little saving on your electricity bill, and your carbon footprint. If you potter around my Bernard Preston site, you will soon realise both are big on my agenda; I worry that our pristine world will not be there for my grandchildren to enjoy as I have. I hope that bothers you too; stuff the kids is what most people actually practise, even if they say differently. Actions count for more than words.

Bernies beetroot soup

"Anyone who tells a lie does not have a pure heart, and cannot make a good soup."

- Ludwig van Beethoven

Bernie's beetroot soup raw vegetables in pot

Bernie's beetroot soup for something very easy to make, but a little different. I would lay even money on you never having enjoyed it before.

My choice of spices is a stick of cinnamon and a few whole cloves which should be removed before liquidising; it is not a train-smash if you cannot locate them all.

And maybe a little allspice and a touch of cumin would be to your liking. You choose your favourites.


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself, your family and friends, and Mother Earth for future generations. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books!

Here are the back issues.

  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home


Borscht vegetables simmering in stock

Whilst not wanting to get neurotic about your borscht, it is a good idea to count the colours you enjoy every day. There's strong research showing that the phytochemicals in your food prevent many diseases; how many does Bernie's beetroot soup have?

Borscht vegetables and tomatoes simmering

Induction cooktop stoves are so quick.

More, following a large group of people over twenty years, scientists found that those enjoying seven or eight coloured foods every day had a 35% lower all cause of death; that is massive.

Bernie's soup has beta carotenes in the beets, lutein in the greens and more phytochemicals in the carrots; then there is anti-tumour falcarinol in parsnips, allicin in the onion and lycopene in the tomatoes. 

In short, borscht is a medicine chest of phytochemicals and fibre, not to mention the vitamins and minerals.

Coriander is a favourite herb in our garden that grows like a weed.

Rocket is another.

Borscht with cream being blended


Bernie's beetroot soup is a wonderful concoction of soluble and insoluble fibre that, enjoyed regularly, will deal with the most stubborn constipation. Remember it is the prime cause of colo-rectal malignant disease; that is no small beer.

Beets together with Helen's fifteen euro salad, and stewed prunes for breakfast totally cured me of years of misery.

  1. Bernard Preston
  2. Power of purple foods
  3. Bernie's beetroot soup

Did you find this page interesting? How about forwarding it to a friend, or book and food junkie; or, better still, a Facebook or Twitter tick would help.


56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa