Explore > Jewish Life > Regina Maksutova's Vegetarian Borscht

In the fall of 2006, led by a visionary group of advisors from the New York Russian community, we inaugurated our Russian Sundays series at 92Y.

A richly varied list of monthly events—mixing enlightenment with entertainment, history with the present, social issues with literature and arts—has included renowned Jazz musician and storyteller Valeri Ponomarev and his Hard-Bop Quintet, one of the world's greatest bass vocalists Mikhail Svetlov, conceptual artist Vitaly Komar, novelist Francine du Plessix Gray and Natan Sharansky, former Soviet dissident and Israeli political figure.

  • Organic vegetables are preferable.
  • 7 medium or 12 small beets, baked, peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1 small bag carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 3 or 4 parsnips, peeled and julienned
  • 1 small celeriac, peeled and julienned
  • 16 plum tomatoes, blanched & peeled
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 small bunch basil
  • spring water
  • For marinade: lemon, olive oil, salt freshly ground pepper and balsamic vinegar

Marinade beets. Sauté carrots, parsnips and celeriac in olive oil until well cooked. Cut tomatoes lengthwise and sauté in olive oil with whole cloves of garlic and basil. Simmer covered until done.

Combine all the cooked ingredients, add spring water—a cup for each serving. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper; bring to a boil and remove from the stove immediately.

It is ideal to make this recipe a day before serving it so that all of the vegetables blend properly. Serve either with vegetable or meat pirozhoks or vatrushkas (savory farmer's cheese danishes), the recipes for which can be found in Regina’s self-published cookbook: Born to Cook.