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Vegetarian Borscht

(recipe, Carrie Floyd)

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Recently a friend shared her bounty of garden vegetables — beets, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage — which inspired me to make borscht. The recipe I followed (adapted from an old issue of Saveur) was not as good as I remembered, until I tinkered with it. The Spanish paprika heightens both the color and flavor, adding an element of je ne sais quoi.


  1. Olive or vegetable oil
  2. 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  3. 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  4. 2 celery stalks with leaves, diced
  5. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 3 large (about 4 cups) beets, peeled and chopped
  7. ½ medium cabbage, thinly sliced
  8. 7 cups water
  9. 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  10. 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, chopped, with juice
  11. 1 bay leaf
  12. 1 tsp. sweet Spanish paprika
  13. ½ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
  14. 1 tsp. honey
  15. Juice of ½ lemon
  16. Salt and pepper
  17. Sour cream, for garnish


  1. Pour enough oil into a large stockpot to cover the bottom. Over medium-low heat, sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add carrots, celery, garlic, beets, and cabbage. Cover and cook, lowering heat if necessary, until tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put the water and potatoes, with a generous pinch of salt, in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the potato-cooking water.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, bay leaf, paprika, two-thirds of the chopped dill, honey, and lemon juice to the stockpot. Stir to combine, then add the potatoes and the potato-cooking water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the flavors are combined and all the vegetables are tender.
  4. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice if you like. To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls and top each with a dollop of sour cream and the remaining chopped dill.