• 8 beets. (I used the small ones you usually buy in bunches of four, fewer beets if you're using big ones.).

  • 1/4 of a medium-sized head of green cabbage, shredded (i.e., cut into strips no more than a quarter inch wide, and as long as you like).

  • 3 large carrots: 2 grated, one quartered lengthwise and cut into slices.

  • 3 small yellow potatoes (don't use Russet potatoes); half grated, half cut into pieces around the same size as the carrot pieces.

  • 1 medium/large yellow onion, cut into thin strips.

  • ~1/2 pound dry white kidney beans. (You can use whatever beans you like, I suppose.)

  • 2-3 tbsp tomato paste.

  • fresh lemon juice and/or white wine vinegar, to taste.

  • sugar, to taste.

  • dill and parsley, to taste.

  • 10-12 cups vegetable stock (ideally home-made).

  • salt and pepper.


  • Night before

    • Soak beans overnight, covered by at least two inches of cold water. At least 10-12 hours.

    • Trim beats (but don't peel them). Put them in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a fast simmer, and cook until they're fork tender.

      • Cooking time varies with the size of the beets; the small ones I used take about half an hour. It's okay if they're a bit undercooked, as they'll finish cooking in the soup.

      • Once they're done, shock them will cold water to stop them cooking. Once they're cool enough to handle, the skins should come off easily.

    • Make vegetable stock, ideally.

  • Day-of

    • Beans

      • Drain beans from their soaking liquid.

      • Put them back in the pot and just cover them with liquid. I used half stock half water.

      • Bring the pot to a boil. Cover, and reduce to a simmer.

      • Simmer the beans until they're tender. For the white kidney beans I used, that took about an hour. Check them often.

      • About half way through the process, salt the cooking liquid well. (Less salt if your stock is already well seasoned, of course.)

    • Do the rest of the veggie prep work while the beans cook.

    • Carrot/onion mixture

      • In your big pot (the one you'll eventually cook the whole soup in), heat some olive oil over medium heat.

      • Add the grated carrot and onion.

      • Season.

      • Cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

      • Scoop all of this out and reserve it for later.

    • Final process for the soup

      • Once the beans are done, drain them making sure to reserve the liquid they simmered in.

      • Add the bean liquid to your big pot, along with the sliced potatoes and sliced carrots.

      • Simmer the potatoes/carrots for 5-7 minutes.

      • Add shredded cabbage and grated potato to the pot.

        • Add stock as necessary to immerse all of this stuff.

      • Add salt/pepper as necessary here. This seasoning will absorb into all the veggies.

      • Simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes. At the end of this, the cabbage should be softened but not fully cooked, and the sliced potatoes/carrots should be almost cooked.

      • Add the beans and beets to the pot.

        • At this point you should be at approximately your final volume of soup, so if there isn't enough liquid for the amount of stuff, add more stock/water.

      • Season again.

      • Add at least 2 tbsp tomato paste, at least 1 tablespoon of sugar, and at least 1 tablespoon of acid (lemon juice or vinegar).

      • Add herbs. I suggest at least a half cup of chopped parsley and dill, though you'll adjust this to taste.

      • Bring everything to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 10-20 minutes, to give everything a chance to combine nicely.

      • At the end of this, give it a taste to adjust seasoning.


  • This is ideally made a few hours before when you intend to start eating it, so the flavours get a chance to mellow and combine.

    • In particular, there's a lot of vegetable mass in this soup that needs time to absorb seasoning, or else the soup will be bland.

  • You can make your life easier by using precooked beets. I don't think you lose any flavour by doing that.

  • You can also make your life easier by using canned beans, though they won't taste as good (because you can't get flavour into them as they cook).

Vegetable stock


  • 1 large yellow onion, rough chopped (skin and all)

  • 4 large carrots, rough chopped (no need to peel)

  • 4 stalks of celery, rough chopped

  • 1-2 cups of hearty greens (I used collard greens, but kale would also work; spinach is too soft and would not work), trimmed and rough chopped

  • 4 (or more) cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

  • 1 cup parsley, rough chopped (stems too)

  • 3-4 tbsp tomato paste

  • 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 2-3 dried bay leaves

  • 1/2 tbsp dry thyme

  • 1/2 tbsp dry rosemary

  • handful of black peppercorns, cracked with the side of a chef's knife

  • salt and pepper

  • 10-12 cups of water


  • Heat a big pot over medium heat, with a bit of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Season well. Sweat them until translucent, stirring often.

    • Towards the end of this, add the dry thyme and rosemary.

  • Add water, parsley, greens, bay leaves, peppercorns, and some more seasoning. Bring to a boil.

  • Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and add tomato paste and nutritional yeast.

  • Cover, and simmer for a while. Minimum 30 minutes, ideally 1-1.5 hours.

  • Towards the end, taste and adjust seasoning for your desired flavour.

    • Stock is usually not heavily seasoned, to give you more control over the seasoning of whatever you use it in. In this case, if you're making it for borscht, you want it pretty heavily seasoned.

  • Strain out the solids. If you're picky, filter the liquid through cheese cloth to clarify it a bit. (I'm not picky.)

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