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Modern Ukrainian Food: What’s Hot in Our Diets?

Ukrainian cuisine is centuries old yet has adapted to current tastes. Modern Ukrainian food often combines traditional recipes with modern cooking methods and ingredients.

There’s always an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients in Ukrainian cuisine. A focus on farm-to-table cuisine allows Ukrainian chefs to highlight amazing Ukrainian vegetables, meats, and dairy.

Modern Ukrainian Food featured image | Girl Meets Food

Each meal is full of flavor and nutrition because we use high-quality, seasonal ingredients.

Let’s take a closer look at modern Ukrainian food and what is prevalent in my diet particularly.

What is Modern Ukrainian Food?

There are many modern Ukrainian foods, from Ukrainian-international fusion to creative twists on classics.

These dishes can now take on many shapes.

Traditional Foods Through Time

Ukrainian traditional meals on the table | Girl Meets Food

Modern Ukrainian food goes beyond borshch and varenyky (Ukrainian dumplings) but we love them just as much as our ancestors did.

I can’t imagine a Ukrainian household without borshch, Ukrainian beetroot soup, being on the menu at least once a week.

Varenyky are a timeless Ukrainian dish. These dumplings can be filled with anything from potatoes and cottage cheese to cherries or cabbage.

And holubtsi (cabbage rolls) round up this trinity of classic Ukrainian recipes. Cabbage leaves stuffed with a mixture of ground meat, rice, and spices make a comforting and delicious meal that has stood the test of time.

Of course, every region has their picture of their top 3 dishes. Ukraine is a large country so there are many variations and regional specialties.

I grew up eating comforting Ukrainian soups and dumplings drowned in sour cream.

When craving some sweet Ukrainian desserts, my family always made nalysnyky (crepes with sweet cheese) or poppy seed rolls.

Ukraine also grows fresh fruits, so fruit preserves and jams are very popular. They use simple ingredients and taste like home.

Vegan and Vegetarian Ukrainian food

Deruny (potato pancakes) on a wooden plate | Girl Meets Food

Many famous dishes can easily be made vegan or vegetarian. Vegetable broth can replace the traditional pork broth in soups, while mushrooms or lentils can stand in for the flavor of meats in holubtsi.

Despite a common belief that Ukrainian cuisine is heavy on meat, vegetarian versions of classic dishes are more and more popular these days.

I have created my compilations of the best modern Ukrainian vegetarian recipes and found many vegan Ukrainian ideas as well.

Healthy Ukrainian Options

In recent years, there has been a push towards healthier eating in Ukraine. This means using more whole grains, lean proteins, and lots of vegetables.

My diet now includes more quinoa, brown rice, and other whole grains. I also love incorporating a variety of beans and legumes into stews.

Another go-to component of my meals is tofu and can’t wait to see if it works as a meat substitute in traditional dishes.

Ingredients like quinoa, tofu and chia seeds are relatively new introductions and my grandparents certainly don’t have them in their kitchen. 

But I love experimenting with ingredients so new healthy ideas are always welcome.

Try out my favourite recipe of buckwheat porridge kasha🥣

A bowl of buckwheat milk on the table | Girl Meets Food
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 cup buckwheat groats (170 g)
  • 2 cups water (480 ml)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp honey (or sugar)
  • 2 tbsp butter (divided)
  • 2.5 cups milk (600 ml)


  • Rinse the roasted buckwheat groats thoroughly, similar to how you would rinse rice.
    1 cup buckwheat groats
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the buckwheat, 1 tablespoon of butter, and boiling water.
    2 cups water, 2 tbsp butter
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the buckwheat is tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the salt, remaining tablespoon of butter, and honey (or sugar).
    ½ tsp salt, 2 tsp honey
  • Pour in the milk and return the mixture to the heat to warm through.
    2.5 cups milk
  • Serve the porridge with additional honey and fresh fruit (optional).

International Cuisine in Ukraine

A plate of spaghetti topped with tomato sauce and basil leaves | Girl Meets Food

International cuisine has also made its mark on modern Ukrainian food. Sushi restaurants are a common sight in Ukrainian cities, and Mexican and Italian cuisine are also popular choices.

Many Ukrainian chefs have taken inspiration from other cuisines to create unique fusion dishes. Don’t be surprised if you see sushi with salo (cured pork fat) or other bizarre creations.

Pizza has perhaps become a more popular food at Ukrainian parties than varenyky. But you can find some Ukrainian versions of pizza, like one topped with homemade sausage and beetroot. Not very popular but still fun!

There are also kebab and shawarma stands everywhere, offering quick meals on the go.

Overall, Ukrainian cuisine has adapted to modern tastes and trends well, while still holding onto its roots.

Let me know your favorite Ukrainian recipes in comments!

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