Romanian Red Orach Soup (Ciorba De Loboda)

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Red orach also known as mountain spinach or purple spinach is a spring plant full of vitamins that Romanians use to make (what else?) our all times present sour soup (ciorba).

red orach soup (ciorba de loboda)
red orach soup

This soup is incredible both in taste as in color, it’s a delight for the eyes and your taste buds. You can keep it vegetarian, but I like to make it more consistent and use a little bacon or pancetta to enhance its taste and savor.

Every spring I cannot wait for this herb to appear in farmer’s markets to be able to enjoy this soup. Let’s make it together.

Ingredients Needed

For this soup we are going to need:

  • several bunches of red orach
  • onions, carrots, celery root, parsley root, parsnip
  • one small bell pepper
  • a piece of bacon or pancetta
  • canned tomatoes
  • fresh parsley and lovage
  • lemon, vinegar or borscht as souring agents
  • salt, cooking oil


Put water to heat in a pan on medium flame. We are going to use it for the soup.

1. Prep the ingredients

Peel and wash the vegetables. Chop the onions and the bell pepper. Grate / shred the carrots, celery root, parsnip and parsley root. Cut the bacon in small pieces.

2. Brown the meat

In a large enough pot for the soup, heat some cooking oil and brown the bacon. Take it out and set aside. Next, add the onions and saute until translucent.

brown the bacon

Add the rest of the veggies and saute 3-4 minutes more until they soften and leave their color into the oil.

add vegetables

Pour over the heater water (3/4 of the pan) and stir. Add the bacon back, season with salt and let the soup cook for 10-15 minutes.

3. Prepare the orach

Meantime, prepare the orach. Use just the leaves and ditch the tough stems. Rinse the orach leaves in plenty of water, 2-3 times. Let it dry in a colander for a little bit.

Add the canned tomatoes to the soup, stir and let them cook for another 10 minutes. Cut the orach in medium size stripes and add it to the soup.

add orach to the soup

Carefully stir it in and let it cook for another 5 minutes. This plant is very soft and delicate (it’s spinach) and will cook very quickly.

Add borscht if you have it and let it simmer together for 5 more minutes. Turn off the flame.

If you don’t have borscht, you can sour the soup with fresh lemon juice or 3-4 tablespoons of vinegar after you turn off the heat.

More can be added upon serving, to personal taste.

adding borscht to the soup

Finely chop the fresh parsley (and lovage if available) and add it to the soup. This orach soup (ciorba de loboda) is ready to be served and enjoyed..

red orach soup recipe

Serving This Orach Sour Soup

Serve this orach soup with slices of bread and some chili peppers aside if you eat spicy. This soup is very colorful and full of vitamins and antioxidants. It’s a nutritious bomb, tastes great and has very few calories.

ciorba de loboda - red orach soup
Romanian ciorba de loboda

An easy dinner for those on a diet or the first course for the rest of us – you’ll love this soup!

Storage & Preserving

Let the soup cool completely, then transfer it to the refrigerator with a lid on where you can keep it for about 4-5 days. Reheat only the amount you need to serve. You can freeze it for 2-3 months.

Other delicious soup ideas:


red orach soup (ciorba de loboda)

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Romanian Red Orach Soup (Ciorba De Loboda)

Romanian red orach sour soup full of color and vitamins.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Romanian
Keyword: red orach, soup
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


  • 5-6 bunches red orach
  • 1 piece bacon or pancetta (optional)
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 small celery root
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 parsley root
  • 2-3 medium onions
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • 1 can diced canned tomatoes
  • 3 cups borscht or juice form 1 lemon /2-3 tbsp vinegar
  • fresh parsley and lovage
  • 5-6 tbsp cooking oil


  • Place a pot full of water to heat for the soup. Clean and peel the vegetables. Dice the onions and bell pepper. Grate the rest of the vegetables.
  • Cut the bacon in small pieces. Heat the oil in a large enough pot and brown the meat. Take it aside and saute the onion in the same oil until translucent. Add the rest of the veggies and let them saute together for until they soften.
    Add the hot water and the bacon back to the soup. Stir, season with salt and let it cook for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the orach.
  • Separate the leaves from the stems and rinse them 2-3 times in cold water. Let them dry in a colander.
    Add the canned tomatoes to the soup and let them simmer for another 10 minutes. Cut the orach into strips and add it to the soup. Stir and let it cook 5 minutes more. Add borscht if you have, simmer again for 5-7 minutes together and turn off the heat.
    Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and lovage. Serve with your favorite bread,
  • Let it cool completely and keep it covered into the fridge for about 4 to 5 days.
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