Making Borscht More Heart-Healthy

February 1, 2023


This borscht recipe provides the flavor without much saturated fat by using beef bone broth or vegetable broth (for a plant-based version). Bone broth also has about 9 grams of protein per serving. The bright flavor of the beets and tomatoes adds complexity and richness to the broth.

Borscht is typically made with red meat. For a heart-healthy version, choose ground turkey, double the beans or use tofu. Tomatoes, parsnips and potatoes add potassium, which can help lower blood pressure. Less sodium is also better for blood pressure, and this recipe keeps it under 500 milligrams per serving.

Recipe: Lower-Sodium Borscht


  • 1–2 pounds ground turkey (optional, for meat-based protein)
  • 32 ounces tofu (optional, for plant-based protein)
  • 1 small head (about 3/4–1 pound) green or purple cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (15 ounces) “no added salt” diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper (or the amount you prefer for taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups beef bone broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 medium-size beets, peeled and grated
  • One can white beans or kidney beans
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch fresh dill for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons (per serving) reduced fat sour cream
  • Rye bread or whole wheat bread (optional)


  1. If using meat, add meat and olive oil to skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, sauté the onions and cabbage with the olive oil until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste and garlic. Stir together.
  4. Add cumin, pepper, bay leaf and all of the broth. Stir together.
  5. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce to low heat and let simmer.
  6. Add the beets, carrots, parsnips, potato and beans to the broth.
  7. If you are adding a protein, return meat or add tofu to broth.
  8. Allow soup to simmer on medium until potatoes and other vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes. Remove soup from heat.
  9. Taste broth and season with salt as needed, about 1/2 teaspoon.
  10. Garnish with fresh dill and a dollop of reduced-fat sour cream.