Meatball Borscht

Rich, sweet, and beautifully colored, this meatball borscht is grain-free and GAPS legal.  Perfect for a cold or snowy day.   Originating in Eastern Europe, borscht is one of those foods with so many variations that it defies definition. This borscht is akin to the most common versions of recipes which use beetroot.  It’s different than most in that it uses meatballs rather than stew meat, pork, or sausage.

Because it’s rich and sweet, borscht has traditionally been served with sour cream, kvass, and sauerkraut, so it’s a perfect GAPS soup!  We like it with sliced lemon and fresh dill as well. Remember to add your probiotic foods to individual bowls once the soup has cooled a bit so that you don’t kill all the good bugs!

This recipe makes a large stockpot of borscht, so it’s perfect for batch cooking.  We eat it for a couple of days, then freeze whatever is left.  That way we have a quick meal ready to heat up on a cold day.  Enjoy!


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Meatball Borscht

Meatball Borscht

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  • Author: Deanna, CGC
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12-15 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Sauté, Simmer
  • Cuisine: Slavic
  • Diet: Gluten Free


A sweet, rich, and beautiful winter soup.  Grain-free, GAPS-legal. Perfect comfort on a cold day!




  • 3 Tbs beef tallow or ghee
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 cups chopped beets
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 14 oz canned (preferably in glass) diced tomatoes or 3 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 2 qts beef meat stock or bone broth
  • 2 qts water
  • 1 tsp dried dill weed
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon (23 Tbs)


  • 3 lbs ground beef, or mixture of beef and pork
  • 10 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt


Heat tallow in a large stock pot.  Add onions, celery, and carrots to the pot.  Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and sauté onions, carrots, and celery until onions are translucent.

Meanwhile, make meatballs by mixing meatball ingredients thoroughly and making palm-sized balls.

Add beets, cabbage, and tomatoes to the pot and pour stock and water over the vegetables. Add meatballs.  Bring pot to a gentle simmer.  Cook until vegetables are tender and meatballs are cooked through, about 50-60 minutes depending on the size of your vegetable chunks.  Turn the heat off.

Add crushed garlic cloves, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice.

Serve with 24-hr sour cream, fermented vegetables or sauerkraut, fresh dill, beet kvass, or lemon slices if desired.


This recipe is suitable for GAPS Introduction diet Stage 5 and beyond.

If you need more time to prepare the meatballs, or you like them a bit more rare, you can add them after the soup has been simmering for 20-30 minutes.

Meatball borscht

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