Shchavel Borscht (Sorrel Soup)
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Schavel (Sorrel) re-grows year after year. In Russia and Ukraine, sorrel is called shchavel’ (щавель). Shchaveloviy borscht or Green borsch is a classic Ukrainian sorrel soup – we serve it hot with a dollop of sour cream or mayo.
You can make this sorrel soup with pork or vegetarian using a good broth. It also freezes well so you can enjoy this soup in winter. My mom grows Shchavel in her yard and it’s currently flourishing – time to make soup! If you have a yummy recipe with sorrel, I’d love to hear from you!
Ingredients for Sorrel Soup:
14 cups water
(if not using pork, you will need 8 cups water plus 6 cups chicken broth)
2 large Pork Loin Chops or 1 pound chicken breasts, sliced or diced
1 Tbsp salt
4-5 medium potatoes (any kind will work), diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
2 Bay Leaves
3 Tbsp Dill (fresh or frozen)
4 cups fresh Schavel, packed, rinsed and chopped (or use 3 cups chopped, frozen Shchavel)
Sour cream or mayo to serve
How to Make Sorrel Borscht:
1. Fill a large pot with 14 cups water (or water plus chicken broth if not using pork) and bring it to a boil. Next, add the meat, 1 Tbsp of salt and simmer pork partially covered for 30 minutes (or chopped chicken for 10 minutes – I used chicken this time). Use a spoon to skim off any impurities that rise to the top.
2. After meat is done cooking, add diced potatoes, 2 bay leaves and lightly boil 15 minutes or until potatoes can be pierced with a fork.
3. While potatoes are cooking, saute 1 diced onion in 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until golden brown and add to the pot with the soup.
4. Next, lightly beat 2 eggs together and stir them in to the pot.
5. When potatoes are cooked through, stir in Shchavel (Sorrel) and Dill. Return pot to a boil and simmer additional 3-5 minutes or until sorrel is soft. Adding more sorrel (щавель) will make your soup/borscht more sour.
Serve hot with an optional dollop of sour cream or mayo.
Shchavel Borscht (Sorrel Soup)
- 14 cups water
- if not using pork, you will need 8 cups water plus 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 large Pork Loin Chops or 1 pound chicken breasts, sliced or diced
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 4-5 medium potatoes, any kind will work, diced
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 3 Tbsp Dill, fresh or frozen
- 4 cups fresh Schavel, packed, rinsed and chopped (or use 3 cups chopped, frozen Shchavel)
- Sour cream or mayo to serve
Fill a soup pot with 14 cups water (or water plus chicken broth if not using meat ). Bring to a boil. Then, add meat, 1 Tbsp of salt and simmer pork partially covered for 30 minutes (or chicken for 10 minutes). Use a spoon to skim off any impurities that rise to the top.
When the timer goes off on your meat, add diced potatoes, 2 bay leaves and lightly boil 15 minutes or until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.
While potatoes are cooking, saute 1 diced onion in 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until golden brown and add to the pot with the soup.
Next, lightly beat 2 eggs together and stir them into the pot.
When potatoes are cooked through, stir in Shchavel (Sorrel) and Dill. Return pot to a boil and simmer additional 3-5 minutes or until sorrel is soft. P.S. Adding more sorrel (шавель) will make your soup/borscht more sour.
Serve hot with optional dollop of sour cream or mayo.
Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review
I made this tonight with pork and used spinach + lemon juice since I can’t get sorrel where I live. I served it with toast, sour cream, and chopped hard-boiled eggs rather than stirring in the eggs. It was delicious! My son and I both went back for seconds. I had to add a lot more salt than the recipe called for but I’ll definitely be making it again!
I’m glad you loved the recipe, thank you for the feedback!
One of the great Ukrainian soups. A neighbour grows sorrel so I can make it just like it is traditionally enjoyed in Ukraine.
Yum! That’s so great! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.
I have been looking to make this soup for a long time but could never find sorrel. My friend actually was growing sorrel and I was able to use this for the recipe! I made pork broth in the instant pot the night before. Didn’t make too many changes, just some minced garlic and added more fresh dill. But, this soup was so good. I love how the sorrel melts in your mouth with that tangy sour taste. Best part, the soup was easy to make!
Hello Liz, thank you so much for your great review! I’m happy to know that you loved this recipe.
Hey Natasha it’s the guy on yt and I see raw chicken in a super large aluminum stock pot is that a super large aluminum stock pot
Hi Matthew, I have all of our favorite kitchen tools listed in our Amazon Shop.
Hi Natasha, love your recipes!
I just had some Schavel Green Borscht soup. What an amazing flavor. Terrific cold summer soup. Problem is finding sorrel that grows anywhere in southern Delaware. Can dried sorrel work?
Hi Walter, I haven’t tried that yet but I imagine that should also work. A couple of our readers have reported great results with using spinach and lemon juice also but I haven’t tried it myself. If you test it out, let me know how you liked it! 🙂
As far as I know per Mother-in -Law from Prussia. They grew their own Sorrel. She really made the best. Six cups of Fresh cut Sorrel. Adding raw bacon at the very end. So so good good. Add other ingredients as desired. The very best. Took some to a workplace and gave some to a client. She could not believe it! Had not had “SHIVAS” in such a long time. Main ingredient would be Sorrel Chopped and cooked light with bacon. May be served cold. Ummmmm
Thank you so much for sharing that with us! I hope you enjoy our version!
This is delicious. I have tasted shchavel soup before but this is my first time cooking it myself and it is a success! Thank you Natasha for this recipe.
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Cham!
Hi Natasha can I make this soup with no chicken or any meat in it ? I will make the chicken broth but can I omit breast or pork. I hate meat in my soup
Hi Jenya, it does add good flavor but should still work to omit.
Try raw bacon at the very end chopped just like the six cups of Sorrel.
Fabulous! Another way to get daily greens in our diet, but with a refreshingly different flavor. First time tasting щавель. Вкусный суп! (I’m a beginning Russian language студентка.) I stumbled across it our our local farmer’s market, being sold by a former Russian with proceeds going to her church. She told me soup was made from sorrel. YUM! Thanks for posting!!
You’re welcome, Becky! Thank you for that awesome review!
This spring, I ordered sorrel seeds from Russia and Ukraine via Amazon. And currently enjoying a great bowl of soup product of those seeds.
Thank you so much for sharing that with me. That’s so great.
Thank you so much for identifying this soup for me. My Ukrainian mother-in-law always made it in summer and I always loved it but she could never explain in English what the ingredients were – and my husband did not know either.
At first i thought it was your other summer soup recipe – the one for the cold soup with ham and cucumbers – but then I saw this one and I know this it it! It has a distinct flavour from the sorrel leaves. I always wondered what they were.
I’m so happy you discovered our recipe!! I hope you love it! Thank you for sharing that with me
I am Russian but born here. My mom, God rest her soul made the BEST Schav soup.Both hot and cold…. She used Mother`s Schav in a glass jar as a shortcut for fresh sorrel as a base for the soup, but now it is not available anywhere anymore it seems. Can using spinach and some lemon juice be used instead as a substitute?
Hi Natalie, thank you so much for sharing that with me! Yes, spinach and lemon juice are great substitutes. Several of our readers have reported great results!
Made this soup tonight. It was delicious!
I’m glad you love the recipe Nicole! Thanks for sharing!
This is such a delicious soup. I’ve made it three times now and we love it. Even the kids eat love it! Is it okay to freeze it?
Hi Amanda, I’m so glad you loved it!! I haven’t tried freezing it but I think that would work. Thank you for the wonderful review!
Great recipe! I buy canned sorrel in local Ukrainian store. Unfortunately, it is impossible to find fresh sorrel in America. I never stir beaten eggs in the soup. Serve with sour cream and chopped hard boiled eggs.
I’m glad you enjoy it Iryna! Thanks for sharing your review with other readers!
It’s pretty easy to grow, even if you have limited space!
I found fresh sorrel at our local farmers market last summer. I bought enough to use and freeze, so now I’m making the soup again in the middle of the winter. Yum!
I also use hard boiled eggs cut in circles, it just looks so much better this way than raw egg added into the soup.
Also, smb just told me Whole Foods has sorrell sometimes.
Natasha, we love your recipes! Thank you!
I’m glad to hear that, Olga. Thank you for your good comments and feedback!
I have been looking for this recipe. Mom made it, sorrel grew in our garden. The difference was she used chopped hard boiled eggs. Thanks. Looks easy enough!
You’re welcome Nonna! I hope you love it! Please let me know what you think!
looks great…..I use beef (chuck or flank steak) for my broth, I cheat and add a container of Campbells tomato soup, but to get “green borscht” I just add more and more beet leaves until it turns green….will try yours
Great suggestions Virginia! Please let me know what you think of the recipe when you decide to make it!
Can I use spinach instead of sorrel?
Hi Yelena, A couple of our readers have reported great results with using spinach and lemon juice but I haven’t tried it myself. If you test it out, let me know how you liked it! 🙂
Hello. Since I don’t like canned sorrel, I am using fresh spinach and fresh lemon juice. It turns out great!
Those are great substitutes! Thank you for sharing that with me!!
love this soup.Can I freeze my sorrel? If so how… Thanks Marilyn
Hi Marilyn, yes sorrel freezes really well! Rinse, dry and chop then store in containers or freezer safe ziploc bags in the freezer. Put them into your soup frozen – no need to thaw 🙂
Thanks, I will do that.just found sorrel at my local farmer’s market.
Madee the sorrel soup with chicken, I also made and added dumplings. Loved it with the sour cream addition too!! Yummy
Gail, thank you for such a nice review 😬
Gail, where did you buy sorrel?
Gail, where did you buy sorrel?
hmm, Ive never heard or tried this soup using chicken. Its always beef, and the boiled egg in the end.. Do you prefer the chicken? even over pork?
I’ve never tried it with beef but my Mom does frequently make it with pork and it tastes great that way also. A few of my readers said they added egg at the end, but we just add it as an egg drop rather than adding boiled egg.
My sister inn law made this borsch and I got some schevel from a friend. Made it today with pork hocks but never again too much fat will use chickenn ext time. my sister in law added diced hard boiled egg at the end. have no sour cream may try low fat mayo see how that works thankx
I do enjoy a leaner borscht also. Thanks for sharing!!
Runny egg? Hm interesting! My mother in law (Belarusian) always uses boiled eggs. Will try runny next time ;). Also- does shchavel freeze well?! The last batch is still growing in the garden. Would love to freeze it! Great thinking!
Hi Kalynn, yes sorrel freezes really well! Rinse, dry and chop then store in containers or freezer safe ziploc bags in the freezer. Put them into your soup frozen – no need to thaw 🙂
Wow my soup came out so healthy and amazing ! Thank you Natasha ! And by the way my name is also Natasha and I am also a nurse 🙂
So nice to meet you fellow nurse Natasha! 🙂 🙂 🙂 That’s awesome! I’m so happy you enjoyed the soup 🙂
Russian Mennonites call this somma borsch.the eggs look different and we use beet greens instead of sorrel or some real old fashioned use Zurump plant leaves(not sure what its in english) and we add green onions.also we add cream and vinegar instead of sour cream.and some use mayo or butter sandwich on side.yum
It sure sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing 🙂
I made this with pork, and instead of the runny eggs, I used diced hard boiled eggs. Oh and I threw the onions in raw after the pork was cooked because my husband likes it more that way. It’s also one less pan to clean 😉 Very yummy recipe
Lydia, thank you for the nice review and great job improvising 😀.
I made this recipe exactly as you have it except I used half a can of canned shavel from the Russian store. It was very yummy! Will definitely make again. Thank you!
You just gave me a great idea! Freezing shavel! We need to do that while it’s so plentiful in my Mom’s garden. We absolutely love sorrel soup!
Have you heard of lovage? Do you think I could replace the schavel with lovage in this recipe?
I haven’t heard of it or tested it. My readers have reported great results with using spinach and lemon juice but I haven’t tried anything else.
In the past I tried making this for our Unrainian host child, using spinach. She was used to having hers with hard boiled egg and mayonnaise. I didn’t have any sorrel handy so I used spinach, but without the lemon. She said it was close to what she was used to, but it definitely was not sour. Anyway, I recently had this soup in Kyiv and thought the sorrel reminded me of turnip greens without the stem.
Hi Sophie, was the one you tried in Kiev sour or mild?
It was on the sour side for sure. So delicious!
It had a sour taste to it. So yummy!
Most interesting reading a different version of schavel soup, thank you. Mama used to make it with chicken and heaps of chavel leaves with potato and carrot, fried onions, garlic and of course, the beaten eggs added to the mix at the end of cooking…I use quality chicken stock cubes or chicken broth I have made. I deleted making soups with meat content as I found it too filling before a main meal. I enjoy this soup with and without a dollop of sour cream 🙂 A Ukrainian cook told me cooking comes from the heart, not necessarily from a recipe………
Thank you for sharing your Mama’s method. I’m always curious how different people make theirs.
My father makes a sorrel soup a bit differently – here is the recipe:
2.5 quarts of water
7 chicken or vegetable bullion cubes
half pound of sorrel leaves when available, or package of 8 oz frozen chopped spinach
5 oz. rice
3 hard-boiled eggs
some chicken for stock
1. Dissolve cubes in water.
2. Cook 2 chicken thighs for additional flavor in this water (when cooked, take the meat off the thighs and
chop it into the liquid).
3. Cook sorrel or thawed spinach in a little water + tbs butter, Add the greens and rice to liquid and cook for about 20 minutes on low flame. If using spinach, add sour salt (citric acid powder or lemon juice) to taste 4. Before serving add chopped hardboiled eggs.
I bet it tastes great cooking the chicken thighs into the soup Yum!!! I’ve never tried with spinach but it sounds like a great alternative with the lemon juice. Thanks Natalia! 🙂 I will have to try your father’s version.
Do you know how to freeze it so it can be used during winter time? Thanks
Yes, rinse, thoroughly dry on paper-towels or in a salad spinner and coarsely chop as you would for soup then transfer to freezer safe bags and pop them in your freezer.
Wow – this was delicious!!!! I made the chicken version. Thanks so much for this recipe – really good! 🙂
I’m so happy you loved it! I’ve made it with chicken before too when I didn’t want to go to the grocery store 🙂
I just want to say addition of sautéed onions gives such a good flavor. I used to make without. I love your way, reminds borscht we ate in Ukraine 🙂
I’m so glad it reminds you of Ukraine :). I love how food brings back memories 🙂
You can use spinach as we’ll. chop spinach and squeeze fresh lemon juice mix it and let it sit for about 20 min the add to you’re borsch. The best. In my opinion better then schavel and spinach has more health benefits. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂
I make shchavel soup with spinach here, just add some lemon juice for sourness. Delicious!
I’ve heard of people making it that way with good results. I will have to give it a try! Thanks Natalie 🙂
Hi Natasha .. Have u ever tired doing pho soup? Do u like it?
I haven’t tried it. Have you? I’m actually making this sorrel soup for lunch today though 😉
oh yes many times, its one of my favorite soup. I just can not make it at home. Nice, it looks good, i need to try it!
Do you not have the sorrel available? It’s one of my favorites too. I love the sourness; so satisfying! 🙂
no i don’t have the sorrel available, i need to buy it. i think my mom used to do this kind of soup except a little different. ohh i bet, i love sour stuff. i add all the times to my borsh lemon and to my uha. I love ur uha btw, especially with the shrimp and tilapia, yummm i still have some..
Can you use pork riblets for the meat or is it too fatty? What do you prefer?
You can use pork riblets; my mom does all the time! I don’t like picking at it to get the meat off in the end so I use pork loin chops or chicken breast. 🙂
Can I use sorrel in a jar as cannot grow it and cannot find any where I live?
To be honest I haven’t tried any in a jar; I don’t think I’ve ever even seen it. I know some folks have even used spinach but I imagine you’d need some lemon juice to give it that sour kick. It might work from a jar but I just haven’t tested it. My mom grows a bunch in summer and then freezes it so we use her stash to make the borscht. Sorry I’m not too helpful.
I’m old now, when I was young my grandma made soup with sorrel and I could still feel the taste. I spoke to my mom and she says she has it in her garden many miles away. She did say she would give me seeds.
My husband just went to Poland after 62 years. I asked him to buy me some, thinking it might be dry leaves. He could only find some in jars that he brought back. I still need to try it. I will also look it up on the internet for seeds.
Thank you for posting all the loved Ukrainian recipes! I always refer back to your website when making something that I don’t do regularly! This blog helped me when I was a newlywed and my husband wanted me to make some foods that my mom never made 🙂 Keep up the great work and God bless!
Thanks Julia. God bless you too and I’m so glad you’ve found this site useful and helpful 🙂
I also use wild sorrel which is a weed here growing wherever there’s been a fire (it likes less acidic soil) but here’s one place you can get the seeds. It’s a hardy perennial AND it will self seed. It comes up early in the spring and then will give you good crops in the fall. Don’t let it get too hot or too dry in the summer. http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-6104-sorrel.aspx At one point I was growing so much of it that I began selling through our on line farmers market and everyone was going wild over it.
Thank you for sharing it with us Mark :).
Natasha, delicious recipe! How do you make your kid eat sorrel or any rejected veggie for that matter. I just can’t seem to приучит mine. Encouraging it doesn’t seem to help.
He doesn’t usually like sorrel, but I try to make eating fun. I first got him to eat broccoli by laughing together and pretending we were eating trees. 🙂 Also, dipping into ranch for green beans, or carrots, or broccoli work really well!
What can replace sorrel? They don’t sell it here in Philadelphia.
I would use fresh spinach or kale. Let me know how it will turn out :).
Before my mom moved closer to me and started supplying shavel, I was using spinach and some lemon juice. Not the same, but works somewhat. Or get shavel in a can fron russian food store.
For my recipe I use a lot more eggs and I boil and cut them. Also, I add a little bit of ketchup to onions, but this recipe sounds like what my mom made…….
I haven’t tried with spinach. My mom always grows loads of shavel and we rinse, dry, chop and freeze it so we can still make the soup in winter and frozen works just as well as fresh.
Natasha, I have just started my adventure with food blogging, published my Polish Sorrel Soup and found out that you are eating the soup as well with the beaten egg 🙂
Ok, Polish and Ukrainians have many almost the same recipes because of our history, so it will be nice to deep dive into your blog.
In Polish cookery books you can find a soup as a mixture of sorrel and spinach, although I have never done it. Maybe I need to try. I did however with spinach and with Swiss chard, and the taste is totally different. To those ones I am using a white wine to taste.
I’ve heard that spinach works too but haven’t tried it either.
FYI: Chicken broth – NOT vegetarian………………………….
I’ve had Shchavel once and dream of it ever since. I’m so excited to try this recipe. Thanks so much!
You’re welcome Laura. I love this too. I wish my son felt the same way 🙂
This is one of my favorite Borsh., but instead of adding eggs non cook to the borsh. I usually cook the eggs than peel them off and cut them into small pieces. I love this way a lot better:)) u should try if u havent yet.
I will definitely try that next time I make this soup! Thank you!
Hi, I just made this soup, although I followed a French recipe that was essentially the same but blended. Looked up yours as my DH is Russian and prefers his soup unblended. I was interested to see if the French and Ukraine versions were different, but the only difference was the lack of blending and addition of dill!
A tip to those that can’t find the sorrel pictured. It has a very different flavour to spinach and silver beet/Swiss chard so those would not be the same recipe but you can get sorrel for free very easily as it grows as a weed. It is very very common in Australia and all over US and Europe too, but it doesn’t look exactly the same as the picture. It’s called wood sorrel, oxalis, sour grass or sourob depending on where you live and it is a rampant and very common weed.
That’s why I’m cooking it… The soursob has taken over my whole garden!!
I have used Swiss Chard in place of sorrel and it is also tart and very good. It got it free from a farmer that wanted to give away some. I love this site.
Hmmm, I’ve never tried that before! Thanks for the tip!
I am unable to get sorrel, can I use baby spinach instead?:)
It won’t be the same because sorrel is tart and I haven’t tried spinach and lemon to see if that would taste ok.
I have sorrel growing in my garden in my garden and it grows all year long. And i also use about 7 boiled eggs in my soup. I love your blog Natasha .
i love sorrel soup after my mom introduced me to it. They sell sorrel at russian stores and for a whole bunch i believe its around $2 or even less. The only difference that i make and i see that others commented above, i boil 3 eggs, cut them in cubes and add to the soup close to the end. And also, i add 1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream at end, garnish it with chopped dill and italian parsley. Its delish, except don’t know if it will go with pork, i use chicken instead. I will have to try your version because i love pork, sorrel, and trying new soup versions. Thank you for the recipe.
This is how I make it.. and its my favorite soup..
i pre boil and cut up 7 eggs and put in soup..
als i add some carrots..
another thing before serving i add some green onion and cut up cucumber and eat with sour crem 🙂 YUM YUM
That does sound good! Do you bring the soup to a boil again after green onion and cucumber or is it more of a garnish?
dont bring it to a boil..just garnish at the end but it makes the soup SO GOOD 🙂
Erica, is yours served hot or cold?
I haven’t had this soup in years. My Mom and Aunt use to grow “щавель” in their garden and every week we would have this soup. This year I’m going to go to the Garden Nursery and get some to plant some in my veggie garden. I love how they pop up every year in the garden.
This recipe is so similar to my families recipe.
Thanks again for posting one of your graet recipes. Have a great weekend. 🙂
I never knew the correct name for it either, I always thought it was ‘spinach’. This soup is really good, I use chicken though since we are not that fond of pork. You gave me a good idea how to use up my left over Easter eggs:) It will be served at my table at the end of the week for sure!
Love your site! Good job girlie! This might seem funny, but in my 25 years of living and making this borscht many times I finally know the English name for щавель thanks to you!! 😀
Thanks for the many great recipes! Keep it up!
Alot of people put chopped boiled eggs in schavel..i serve it with chopped eggs and sour cream and its delicious! you should try it, im sure you’ll like it! 🙂
That’s what I can do with all the eggs left over from Easter. Thank you! 🙂
For some reason I thought “schavel soup” was with spinach? Or do you use spinach with the soup with the boiled eggs?
Schavel is sorrel and it has a sour taste. I don’t use spinach in any of my soups.
What kind of soup are you referring to with boiled eggs?
I make a soup with boiled eggs and spinach. We call it green borscht too though. I know that it is sorrel here but it was hard to find so we always just used spinach. My DH is Ukranian and it is his recipe so i think it is just a highly different variant of the schavel borscht you make… a recipe for every cook 🙂
We do it with meat+potatoes+spinach+eggs+parsley+dill
its like : 3lb beef chuck, 5-6 potatoes, 4boxes frozen chopped spinach, 6-8 eggs, 1 bunch dill, 1/2 bunch parsley.
Make broth with the beef, use carrots, onions, etc. Remove everything add thawed spinach, boil 10 min, add chopped eggs and greens, add back the meat. Serve with sour cream.
Ohh i forgot to add the green onions- 3-4 bunches
Sounds really healthy and tasty! I printed your instructions. I will have to try that too. Thanks again Anna!
This soup is one of my favorites! That’s alot of shchavel your mom grows! Where did she get seeds from?
Can you buy sorrel at a store?
I saw it at Albertsons but it’s not cheap considering how much you need for the soup. Try a farmers market or planting it- it re-grows every year 🙂