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This soup is a thick and hearty vegan variation on Russian Borscht and comes from The art of Living International Centre in Canada. Organic ingredients are preferable so that the skin of the vegetables can be used, as it is between the skin and the flesh of the vegetable that the vitamins and minerals are stored. The cooking water is not thrown out so that all these nutrients are retained.

“Beets are a blood tonic and so are good for anemia, heart and circulation. They purify the blood, alleviate constipation, and aid the liver.” (The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, Wood, Rebecca)

Beets are grounding for Vata as they grow in the ground. As they are sweet they also balance both vata and Pitta. But taken in excess, their heavy and grounding quality will increase Kapha. To cool Pitta types, use ground coriander and /or cilantro in the recipe. Coriander is a very good cooling herb for Pitta and helps to tone down the red colour which can aggravate this dosha.


4 beets
1 turnip or rutabaga
1 white potato
1 bulb fennel with fronds (celery can be substituted here)
1 carrot (with top, preferably)
3 tomatoes
1 head Napa or green cabbage
1 Tbs fresh chive, chopped
1 Tbs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
1 Tbs fresh dill, chopped, or 1tsp dried
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 Tbs cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1tsp ground coriander
1 Tbs fresh ginger, chopped
1 Bay leaf
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup whole red lentils (brown lentils)
3 Tbs coconut oil or olive oil

Preparation method:

Peel beets, turnips (or rutabaga), potatoes, and carrots. Save the peels and put them in a saucepan with three cups of water and a sprig of thyme, bring to boil then simmer one half hour.

Wash and rinse lentils, add, with bay leaf, to six cups water, bring to boil and simmer one half hour. If using carrot top, it can be added here

Chop fresh herbs, grate ginger, medium dice peeled vegetables and fennel (or celery). Put into separate bowls. If using Napa cabbage the stems can be removed, chopped and added to the fennel’s bowl.

Put 1 Tbsp in a skillet on medium high heat, when oil is hot add ginger, sauté til brown and add tomatoes, add half of the thyme, the oregano, and a teaspoon of salt, cook until tomatoes liquefy.

Once the peels have cooked for a half hour, strain the liquid into the lentils, and add the tomato mixture as well.

Add 1 Tbsp oil to a soup pot and heat on medium-high heat, add cumin when the oil is hot and stir; sauté til it browns, then add turmeric. Stir spices and immediately add beets, cook the beets, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Then add the carrots, sauté for 1 more minute and add all the other vegetables except the cabbage. Saute for about 5 minutes and turn down the heat. Add the cooked lentils and their broth.

Cook the soup til the vegetables are soft, but do not overcook, probably about 10 more minutes. Add the lemon juice.

In a new saucepan, add the last bit of oil, over a medium-high heat, and once the oil is hot, add the fenugreek and brown it lightly, making sure not to burn it. Add the cabbage and stir. Regular green cabbage will take longer to cook thanNapa cabbage. Napa cabbage can be cooked for under a minute.

Blend the soup with an immersion blender, or add to a blender before adding the cabbage.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne.

The soup can be chilled if desired and can be garnished with the dill and chives. It can be served with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt. Enjoy!