Botwinka or Beet Greens Soup is a traditional Polish soup made using young beets together with their vibrant, crunchy stems and plentiful leafy greens. With added carrots, new potatoes and plenty of fresh dill, this delicious and filling soup is a real celebration of early summer's garden bounty.
In the early spring I designated one row in one of my raised beds especially for beetroot and with botwinka in mind.
I decided on the baby beet variety that produces smaller roots to be harvested in the early summer.
Smaller roots don't mean less greenery and I was blessed with gorgeous beet greens, perfect for this traditional Polish beetroot soup.
You can also check out my take on Polish Vegan Borscht.
🥬 What is botwinka?
Botwinka is a traditional Polish soup made with young beets in their entirety including not only roots but also stalks and leafy greens.
There are lots of different versions of this Polish beetroot soup, most including other spring vegetables and also sometimes served with hard boiled eggs.
Some keep the soup very simple with botwinka being predominantly beetroot based and all the extra veg served on the side (e.g. sautéed potatoes) .
My version of botwinka is fully plant based and includes other new season's veg like carrots, new potatoes and plenty of fresh dill.
I also went one step further and added some kidney beans to my soup to make it even more substantial and filling enough to be served as a main meal. You can of course keep them out (see below for details on ingredients, extras and possible substitutes).
✔️ Why you'll love this recipe
- Zero-waste recipe, using the entire beetroot.
- Celebration of new season's veggies.
- Easily customisable.
- Quick and easy to make.
- It's filling and nutritious and with added beans it's fully balanced too.
📝 Ingredients and substitutes
Here's what you will need to make Botwinka (Beet Greens Soup):
Young Beets (with stems and leafy greens) - These can be sometimes tricky to find unless you grow them yourself but in the late spring and early summer you should be able to get them from your local farmer's markets, farm shops, veg box delivery services or briefly even from supermarkets.
No part of the beet is wasted with this soup so make sure to choose a bunch with nice, healthy and firm looking greens.
***Quick Tip*** If your beets are really tiny, you might want to add one extra medium size beetroot to your soup. Not necessary but it's an option. Botwinka is mostly about the greens but some people love a lot of actual beetroot in it too.
New potatoes - I like to add them here for extra body and substance plus we do love potatoes. If using new potatoes, you don't even need to peel them, just give them a good scrub.
Carrots - We are using just roots here but if you've got some tops you can make my carrot top pesto.
Onion & Garlic - Lovely base for any soup.
Bay Leaves & Allspice Berries - I like to add these here as extra aromatics but feel free to leave them out.
Lemon - Lemon juice is very important for bringing the acidity to botwinka. I would recommend sticking to it but you could also use good quality apple cider vinegar instead.
Fresh Dill - It's pretty much non-negotiable as far as I'm concerned. Dill and beets flavour combination is extraordinary and there really is no replacement for it.
Vegetable Stock - Feel free to use homemade stock but bouillon powder or stock cube are fine too.
Soya Cream or Coconut Milk - Botwinka is originally finished with substantial amount of cream to give it that lovely soft pink hue and richness. I like to use either soya cream or full fat coconut milk, the latter providing that bit of sweetness which we love.
Feel free to swap and change and use whichever one you fancy.
***Quick Tip*** If using coconut milk, make sure to give it a good stir to combine coconut cream that separates and usually sits on top with water at the bottom. Alternatively, you can use the cream that sits on top on its own.
Kidney Beans - I like to add beans here to make this soup a well rounded and nutritionally balanced but you can leave them out or swap for different type.
Ingredient quantities & detailed instructions to be found in recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Start by preparing all the veg.
Peel and finely chop an onion.
Peel and finely chop or mince garlic cloves.
Scrub and/or peel carrots (no peeling required if using new season's carrots) and slice them (not too thinly).
Scrub and/or peel new potatoes and cut them into small(ish) cubes.
Prepare beets by separating the roots from the stems, peeling them and cutting into half moons (you might want to use gloves here).
***Quick Tip*** You want the size of cut beets to be similar to that of carrots and potatoes so that all the veg cooks evenly.
Give beet greens a good wash and separate the stalks from the leaves. Chop the stalks finely and roughly chop the leaves.
Heat up couple of tablespoons of oil in a large pot with a lid or in a stockpot.
Add onion and garlic and sauté for few minutes until they start to soften. Make sure to stir from time to time to prevent garlic from catching and burning.
Next, add potatoes, carrots, beets (root only), bay leaves and allspice berries (if using).
Let them fry for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until they start to brown a little.
***Quick Tip*** Feel free to add a splash of water to help veggies along.
Pour in veggie stock, bring to boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until veggies are tender (you will need to give them a quick check with the tip of the knife).
Next, add chopped beet stems and let them cook for a couple of minutes.
***Quick Tip*** If adding beans you will want to add them at this point too, to allow for them to warm up nicely.
Last but not least add chopped beet greens, cook for a minute or two and take the soup off the heat.
With the soup off the heat add soya cream or coconut milk (as per your preference) and give it a good stir.
Follow with lemon juice and plenty of fresh dill.
Taste and season well with salt and pepper.
Store: Keep leftover soup in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheat: Reheat gently on the hob but do not boil rapidly as it might make the cream curdle.
Freeze: Botwinka can be frozen for up to 3 months (without cream but ok to freeze if you've added coconut milk instead).
💭 Pro Tips
Try and cut your veg into similar size chunks for even cooking.
Beetroot is notorious for staining so wear gloves when peeling it to prevent your hands from going pink.
If you grow your own beets and find yourself with lots of them, simply freeze them. Prepare roots and greens as per above and freeze for later. This way you can make botwinka even in winter.
If your baby beets are really small, you can always add one extra medium size beetroot for added colour and substance.
If using soya cream, remember to add it once soup is off the heat or on very low heat. Rapid boiling and high heat will make the cream curdle. This is not an issue if using coconut milk.
Always taste and adjust seasoning according with your preference. The amount of salt you add will depend on saltiness of your stock.
🍴 Serving suggestions
My version of botwinka is pretty much a meal in itself.
Having said that, we always have it with some type of bread on the side. We do love homemade bread in this house so much!
If you're not vegan, you can serve it (as per tradition) topped with some hard boiled egg halves.
No you don't, you can keep it super simple and perhaps serve potatoes either boiled or sautéed as a side dish.
That's absolutely fine. Your soup will be darker and obviously not creamy but it will still taste great. You might want to serve it with a small drizzle of cream or perhaps a dollop of plain vegan yogurt instead at the table.
Yes, botwinka can be served either warm or cold. When served cold it is called "chłodnik" in Polish.
Have you tried my Botwinka (Beet Greens Soup)?
Please consider giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in recipe card below and share your views or tips in the comments.
😋 More beetroot recipes
Botwinka (Beet Greens Soup)
- 1 bunch young beetroot with stalks and greens I used 7 small (golf ball size) beets. Beets peeled and cut into half moons, stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped.
- 2-3 medium carrots scrubbed or peeled and sliced
- 500 g new potatoes scrubbed or peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped/minced
- 2 bay leaves optional
- 4 allspice berries optional
- 20 g fresh dill finely chopped
- 1.3 ltr vegetable stock homemade or bouillon or stock cube
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice or more (to taste); apple cider vinegar can be used instead
- 120 ml soya cream or coconut milk see notes
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 x 400 g tin of kidney beans optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- Start by preparing all the veg.
- Peel and finely chop an onion.1 onion
- Peel and finely chop or mince garlic cloves.2 garlic cloves
- Scrub and/or peel carrots (no peeling required if using new season's carrots) and slice them (not too thinly).2-3 medium carrots
- Scrub and/or peel new potatoes and cut them into small(ish) cubes.500 g new potatoes
- Prepare beets by separating the roots from the stems, peeling them and cutting into half moons (you might want to use gloves here). You want the size of cut beets to be similar to that of carrots and potatoes so that all the veg cooks evenly.Give beet greens a good wash and separate the stalks from the leaves. Chop the stalks finely and roughly chop the leaves.1 bunch young beetroot with stalks and greens
- Heat up couple of tablespoons of oil in a large pot with a lid or in a stockpot.Add onion and garlic and sauté for few minutes until they start to soften. Make sure to stir from time to time to prevent garlic from catching and burning.1 onion, 2 tablespoon olive oil, 2 garlic cloves
- Next, add potatoes, carrots, beets (root only), bay leaves and allspice berries (if using). Let them fry for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until they start to brown a little. Feel free to add a splash of water to help veggies along.2-3 medium carrots, 2 bay leaves, 4 allspice berries, 500 g new potatoes
- Pour in veggie stock, bring to boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until veggies are tender (you will need to give them a quick check with the tip of the knife).1.3 ltr vegetable stock
- Next, add chopped beet stems and kidney beans (if using) and let them cook for a couple of minutes. Last but not least add chopped beet greens, cook for a minute or two and take the soup off the heat.1 bunch young beetroot with stalks and greens, 1 x 400 g tin of kidney beans
- With the soup off the heat add soya cream or coconut milk (as per your preference) and give it a good stir. Follow with lemon juice and plenty of fresh dill.Taste and season well with salt and pepper.Enjoy!20 g fresh dill, 3 tablespoon lemon juice, 120 ml soya cream or coconut milk, salt and pepper
- Nutritional information is approximate, per serving (based on 4 servings) and should be treated as a rough guideline only.
- Leftover soup can be stored int he fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freeze (without cream) for up to 3 months. For more info see - Storing.
- For other ingredient substitutes see - Ingredients and substitutes above.