Ukrainian food is hearty and filling. Cabbage rolls, called holubtsi are a popular dish in Ukraine. Meat may also be used to stuff peppers or tomatoes. Dumplings called varenyky or pyrohy are made with flour and stuffed with cheese, meat, vegetables, fruit or jam. They are often served with sour cream.

One of the most famous Ukrainian dishes is borscht, a soup made with beets and meat. Different regions of Ukraine have different recipes for this soup. Sauerkraut and cabbage soups are also Ukrainian favourites. Ukrainians often spread salo (pork lard) on their bread instead of butter. Sometimes salo is flavoured with garlic or mixed with bits of bacon.

Traditionally, Ukrainian Christians did not eat meat or dairy products during Lent, the forty days before Easter. As a result, they developed many vegetarian dishes.

Ukraine is famous for its breads and pastries. At Ukrainian weddings, it is traditional to offer korovai, a special bread built up to form a tall cylinder. Kolach, a Christmas bread made with sour cream and honey, is dipped in salt and honey and given to each member of the household during the traditional Christmas meal. At Easter, a special egg bread called paska, which is often shaped into a cross, is served.

Ukrainians are famous for another Easter tradition: decorated eggs called pysanky. They prepare the eggs by painting a design on them using wax and dipping them in dye. The dyes can be made from natural ingredients: red cabbage leaves for blue, onion skins for yellow or orange, herbs for green, beets or raspberries for red. The designs use traditional patterns and symbols, some of which are much older than Christian traditions.

Ukrainian Cabbage Soup


1 head shredded cabbage
250 gm chopped sweet pepper
1.5 L beef broth
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh basil
500 gm fresh peas
Lemon juice to taste (optional)


Simmer all ingredients but the peas for 1/2 hour. Add peas and simmer for 10 more minutes. Serve garnished with sour cream.