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Every year I make the vegan borsch for Sebastopol World Friends’ annual Friendship Dinner. The recipe below is reduced from the 12 quart version that I make for the Friendship Dinner.  It should make about 6 quarts of a thick soup. I have made this recipe for several years and tweaked it along the way.  I am a very intuitive chef so it was hard for me to describe exactly how I made the borsch and the proportions of liquid and spices.  I recommend that you taste the borscht and add salt, pepper, dill and other spices to taste as it simmers.  Also you can substitute vegetarian soup stock for water if desired. Other additions are garlic powder, caraway seeds and paprika to taste. – Beth Lamb


(Makes about 12 – 2 cup portions or 6 quarts)

  • Olive oil (other oil can be substituted) – to coat pan (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 onions – ½ inch diced
  • 2 carrots – ½ inch diced
  • ½ bunch celery – ½ inch diced
  • 4 red or white potatoes – ½ inch diced
  • 4 beets (parboiled and peeled) julienned
  • 2 parsnips – peeled and ½ inch diced
  • 1 cabbage– remove core rough chop
  • 1 head garlic – minced
  • 1-16 oz. can of crushed tomatoes (whole are ok)
  • ½ can tomato paste (3 oz.)
  • 1 cup white beans (precooked from dry or canned)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch dill chopped (dry ok)
  • 1 bunch parsley chopped
  • ½ cup maple syrup (or sugar) to taste
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Water to cover (vegetarian stock ok)


  1. To begin parboil beets by placing whole beets in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Plunge beets into cold water and then rub off the skins and stems.  Then cut beets julienned or diced.
  2. Begin the soup by sautéing the onions in some olive oil (5-10 minutes until translucent).
  3. Add carrots, celery, continue to sauté (10-15 minutes).
  4. Add cabbage, potatoes, beets, parsnips, garlic, tomatoes and tomato sauce and beans.
  5. Pour in water to cover all the veggies.
  6. Add bay leaves, dill (if using dry) and some salt.
  7. Heat to boil then reduce to a slow simmer.
  8. After an hour on simmer. Taste the soup and add maple syrup (if beets are not sweet enough), add salt and pepper.
  9. Continue to simmer until potatoes are soft.
  10. Soup is done when all the flavors have melded. Usually 3-4 hours on simmer.
  11. To serve top with sour cream fresh dill and parsley.