Traditional recipes

Beet Soup with Caraway

Beet Soup with Caraway

After making this soup, you'll have plenty of beets left over for tossing into salads at lunch.


  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ Big Batch of Oven-Steamed Beets (click here for recipe), chopped
  • 1 cup buttermilk, divided, plus more for serving
  • Fresh dill sprigs, cracked pepper (for serving)

Recipe Preparation

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add caraway seeds and cook, stirring, until they start to pop and dance around in the pan, about 1 minute. Quickly add onion, leek, and a splash of water to keep seeds from burning; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, 5–7 minutes.

  • Add beets and 2½ cups water to pan; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors come together, 15–20 minutes.

  • Let mixture cool slightly, then purée in a blender in 2 batches, adding ½ cup buttermilk to each batch. Gently heat soup, adding water to adjust consistency if needed. Serve drizzled with buttermilk and topped with dill sprigs and cracked pepper.

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 220 Fat (g) 9 Saturated Fat (g) 2 Cholesterol (mg) 5 Carbohydrates (g) 31 Dietary Fiber (g) 8 Total Sugars (g) 20 Protein (g) 7 Sodium (mg) 250Reviews Section

Our Best Beet Recipes

Beets are one of the most underappreciated root veggies. They’re often overlooked because of their bitter, earthy flavor but if you ask us that’s what makes them so special. They come alive when paired with bright, tangy flavors — or when roasted in the oven until tender and subtly sweet. Still not sure? Give these recipes a try they’re sure to make you a believer.

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Pasta Primavera with Beets, Radishes and Radicchio

This colorful recipe makes the most of what&rsquos available at the farmer&rsquos market during the spring. Roasted beets are paired with radishes, radicchio, red onion, ricotta salata and garlic for a hearty pasta salad that&rsquos as good to look at as it is to eat.

Beets With Chive Cream

Bive sweet-and-earthy roasted beets a tangy upgrade with a simple Greek yogurt-based dipping sauce. This easy recipe is one you'll make again and again.

Beet Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese

Beets and goat cheese are a classic combo, making them the perfect ingredients for this simple salad. We add buttery walnuts, peppery greens and a simple vinaigrette for a recipe you&rsquore sure to return to.

Beet, Ginger and Red Cabbage Soup

This creamy, ruby red soup has a touch of ginger and rosemary. It's topped with a dollop of sour cream and toasted walnuts for a simple, yet delicious, finish.

Roasted Beets

Ina proves you don&rsquot need much to elevate the humble beet. With a little orange juice, raspberry vinegar and fresh thyme, she turns it into a company-worthy side that&rsquos easy enough to make any night of the week.

Roasted Beet and Lentil Dip

This brightly-hued dip is packed with fiber, thanks to both red beets and lentils. Canned lentils can be found in most grocery stores and are a great alternative to the ever-popular chickpea. Just make sure to drain them well and give them a good rinse to eliminate extra sodium before using them.

Beet Negroni

Beet juice stands in for vermouth in this earthy, refreshing take on a Negroni. If your favorite taste is bitter, this is your drink.

Roasted Beets with Warm Fennel Vinaigrette

Not only is this ruby red side dish a showstopper. It's also packed with betalains, red and yellow pigments that act as antioxidants that search for and stabilize free radicals (which can cause cell damage). It's beautiful, delicious and good for you!

Microwave Beets with Greens and Goat Cheese

This impressive side dish cooks in a fraction of the time it would take to roast beets in the oven. We use the beet greens, but if you purchase beets without tops, you can substitute 2 cups of other greens such as Swiss chard or kale. To make this a meal, serve alongside juicy slices of grilled flank or skirt steak.

Summer Borscht

Ina&rsquos summery version of this Eastern European classic features plenty of beets &mdash but gets a nice, refreshing lift from cucumber, sour cream and plain yogurt. After the borscht chills completely, she tops it with an extra dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of fresh dill for a pretty finish.

Beet and Carrot Latkes

These crispy potato latkes get a gorgeous jewel tone from shredded beets and carrots. They&rsquore great during the holidays &mdash but we&rsquod gladly eat them year-round!

Hasselback Beets with Dill Yogurt Sauce

Give beets the hasselback treatment to ensure tangy dill yogurt sauce in every bite. Worried about making all those perfectly spaced slices? This recipe will walk you through it, step-by-step.

Beet-Carrot-Apple Juice

This ruby red juice is a good source of both vitamins C and K. It also contains Beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body-good for skin and night vision. Be sure to drink your juice as soon as possible after it's made for the most nutritious bang. Adding chia seeds helps replace the fiber that is lost in the juicing process.

Quick Ginger Beets

Looking for a new way to dress up roasted beets? Try a mix of cider vinegar, fresh ginger and honey.

Beet Tahini Hummus

The sweet earthiness of beets in this hummus is tempered by hummus tahini and creamy labneh. If you can't find labneh, just substitute full-fat Greek yogurt for the same rich dairy tang. Black sesame seeds and cilantro make a striking garnish on this beautiful dish that comes together easily.

Beets With Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette and Mint

Top these beets with a smooth, Greek-yogurt based dressing for a dish that's both hearty and heart-healthy.

Beet Reuben

Sweet beets get rolled in a pastrami-inspired spice rub for a quick, vegetarian version of this classic deli favorite.

Beet and Cabbage Salad

Need a quick and easy side for pork chops, burgers and more? Toss grated beets and thinly sliced cabbage in a sweet-and-sour caraway vinaigrette.

Beets with Walnut Pesto

You can use red or golden beets in this flavorful side. They&rsquore both equally delicious tossed with a simple, herbaceous parsley pesto.

Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad

The secret to flavorful beets? Dress them with vinaigrette while they&rsquore still warm &mdash they&rsquoll absorb more of the dressing that way.

Creamy Beet Toast

Need a break from your routine avocado toast? Spread cream cheese onto bread and top with tender roasted beets for a brunch-worthy dish you&rsquoll want to make every weekend.

Shredded Beet and Apple Salad

If you know someone that says they don&rsquot like beets, it&rsquos only because they haven&rsquot tried this sweet-and-tangy salad. We drizzle fresh apple and beets with a shallot vinaigrette and top with candied walnuts. Who could say no to that?!

Red Berry-and-Beet Smoothie

When fresh berries aren't in season, use frozen for drinks like this brilliantly colored, high-fiber smoothie. The beet adds a wonderful earthiness, plus antioxidants and fiber.

Warm Maple and Orange Beet Salad

If you have parchment, you can cook these beets in the microwave in a pouch, a la en papillote. Just lay out a rectangle large enough to hold the beets (say 11 by 14 inches) place the beets in the center and fold one end over to the other, like a book. Start rolling and crimping starting from one edge to the other-as you would a hand pie or empanada-until the beets are sealed inside.

Roasted Beet Salad

Use every part of your beets (including the leaves) with this easy and delicious recipe. If you&rsquove never cooked beet greens before, you&rsquore missing out. They&rsquore mild and subtly sweet &mdash the perfect addition to any salad.

Recipe Summary

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 medium beets, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • heavy cream

Warm olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onions and garlic cook until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in beets, and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in stock, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil cover, and simmer until the beets are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly.

In batches, add soup to a food processor, and pulse until liquefied. Return soup to saucepan, and gently heat through. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with a swirl of cream.

Vegetarian Beet Borscht

I slightly adapted Tanis’ recipe, basically omitting the celery, because Costas is not fond of it. Kale is not available here, but the beets come with their greens which I used you can alternatively add chard, kale, or any other green you like.

I simply top the wonderful soup with thick strained yogurt instead of the cream and freshly grated horseradish, which would be fantastic, if only we could get it on Kea!

In his introduction to the recipe, David Tanis talks about “…the long-gone resorts of the Catskills, in the so-called Jewish Alps. During their heyday, in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, these summer resorts hosted generations of Jewish Americans, at a time when virulent anti-Semitism prevented their admittance to non-Jewish resorts. Families would spend the whole summer in these mountains enclaves to escape the sweltering city. There were daily activities and nightly entertainment. Comedians who worked the circuit called it the Borscht Belt. And quite a lot of cold borscht was served in that era before air-conditioning.”

1 large onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 large leek, diced (about 1 cup)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

½ pound starchy potatoes (about 6 potatoes), peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks

2 pounds medium beets, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks

½ pound medium carrots (about 4 carrots), peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks

3 cups coarsely chopped beet greens, chard leaves or kale

1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaved parsley

1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar, or to taste

1/2 -1 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, to taste

Thick, full-fat yogurt (Greek) for serving

A handful of cilantro leaved, coarsely chopped (optional)

Put olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat and add the onion, and leek, stir to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring often, until the onion has softened. Add the garlic, tomato paste, paprika, caraway, bay leaf and thyme, and cook for 1 minute, stirring.

Add the potatoes, the beets and the carrots, 6 cups water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a brisk simmer. Simmer with lid ajar for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes, beets, and carrots are fork tender.

Add the greens, most of the parsley –keeping some for topping the soup– and vinegar and stir to distribute. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning, adding freshly ground pepper. Simmer briefly until the greens are done.

To serve, ladle into soup bowls, and garnish with parsley, and cilantro, if you like. Pass the thick yogurt at the table.

Delicious Peppery Beet Borscht Recipe

We’ve made it through another holiday season and many people are eager to atone for their holiday indulgences by doing a detox or cleanse.

The most popular detox programs often include eating raw and cold foods as well as using cooling and eliminating “detox” herbs.

But does eating cold raw foods make sense during the cold winter months? Is winter the ideal time to be purging and cleansing?

Many systems of healing believe that living with the seasons is a core practice for overall good health. Living in balance with the seasons isn’t some mystical act we need a manual for. Instead, it’s something many of us naturally do. We crave watermelon and lemonade in the hot summer months and hearty stews and crackling fires during the winter.

In Chinese Medicine winter is the time of the Kidneys. Rest and nourishment are accentuated so that we can restore our energy reserves for the busy months ahead.

In this light of seasonal living, cold winter temperatures and the importance of rest and nourishment make harsh detox programs that are filled with cold foods seem a bit out of place.

But there are ways we can support our body’s vital health and ability to detox in accordance with the seasons. These practices include eating warm cooked foods, especially nutrient-dense root vegetables cooked with warming spices.

Let’s look at two common examples of winter foods and spices with amazing abilities: beets and pepper.


Beet roots are an incredible food. They support liver health (one of our main detox organs) and are full of nutrients and antioxidants.

According to Jo Robinson, author of Eating on the Wild Side, beets are some of the highest antioxidant foods and have nine times more antioxidants than tomatoes and fifty times more antioxidants than carrots! Beets’ unique combination of phytonutrients and antioxidants have been shown to be especially helpful in reducing chronic inflammation.

Beets have a special pigment, betalin, which strongly supports the body’s phase 2 detoxification process. Phase 2 detoxification is when the body neutralizes and removes potentially harmful substances from the body by making them water soluble.

Beets can also spice up your love life! They are high in boron, an element that has shown to increase testosterone levels and therefore sex drive in both sexes. Beets have also been shown to widen blood vessels. This increased blood flow throughout the body also supports sexual health.

What about beet greens?
Beet greens are some of the healthiest greens available at your supermarket and have a similar nutrient profile to kale. If you buy beets with the greens attached you’ll know you are buying recently harvested beets, which can also have greater nutrient levels.

Black Pepper

It’s easy to dismiss pepper as a common spice. Its commonality almost makes it boring. What’s fascinating about pepper?

Turns out there’s lots of interesting things about pepper.

We’ve been studying pepper as our featured herb at and have been surprised at the amazing qualities of this spice.

Pepper has been in common use for thousands of years in the old world and is the most popular spice of our modern day. It accounts for 1/5 of the total spice trade in the world!

Besides adding a pleasant taste to our food, black pepper is a warming stimulant that promotes good digestion.

I think the most amazing ability of black pepper is its ability to increase the bioavailability of our herbs and foods.

Adding a bit of black pepper to herbal formulas or to our dinner plate means that we have increased the qualities and nutrients available to us. This can be crudely translated as getting the biggest bang for your buck. That’s a good investment!

Peppery Beet Borscht Recipe

Today’s beet borscht recipe is a beloved and traditional soup from Russia. Borscht soup is a fantastic way to support your body’s natural detox abilities while enjoying a delicious winter soup.

There are lots of different borscht recipes out there. In this version I included those incredibly nutritious beet greens and added extra pepper for zing and increased nutrient absorption.

What you’ll need…

  • 1 1/2 cups cubed potatoes
  • 2 cups cubed beets
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup chopped beet greens
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped purple cabbage
  • 2-3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a couple handfuls of shitake mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • sour cream (optional)
  • green onions for garnish

This post is sponsored by our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs.

  1. Heat the butter in a large pot. Sauté the onions until they are translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, caraway seeds, salt, pepper, bay leaves. Sauté for 1 minute.
  3. Add the celery, carrots, cabbage, beets, potatoes, mushrooms and stock. Simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

  1. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, beet greens, honey and tomato puree. Cover and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  2. Serve with a dollop of sour cream (optional) and green onions for garnish.

Print out and save this recipe

About the Author - Rosalee de la Forêt

Rosalee is the Education Director of LearningHerbs and author of the bestselling book "Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods & Remedies That Heal." She’s a registered herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild and she teaches students from all over the world how to confidently use medicinal plants. Explore more herbs with Rosalee at her website, Herbs with Rosalee, where you can get her free course, How to Choose the Best Herb For You.

All content and photos in this article are copyright © Rosalee de la Forêt.

  • For the Beef Broth:
  • 2 1/4 pounds (1kg) bone-in beef short ribs (see note)
  • 3/4 pound (340g) fresh pork belly (see note)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly diced (8 ounces 225g)
  • 2 medium carrots, roughly diced (8 ounces 225g)
  • 2 celery ribs, roughly diced (4 ounces 115g)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 pounds (575g) beef marrow bones
  • 1 smoked ham hock (about 3/4 pound 340g)
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill
  • 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • For the Borscht:
  • 1 large onion, cut into small dice (12 ounces 340g)
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into small dice (4 ounces 115g)
  • 1 celery rib, cut into small dice (2 ounces 55g)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small celery root (celeriac), peeled and cut into small dice (9 ounces 255g)
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into small dice (6 ounces 170g)
  • 2 pounds red beets (900g about 5 medium beets), peeled with a sharp vegetable peeler and cut into small dice
  • 1/2 (12-ounce 340g) head green or white cabbage, quartered, cored, and shredded
  • 1 (28-ounce 784g) can peeled whole tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand
  • 4 medium red potatoes (1 pound 450g), diced
  • 1/4 pound kielbasa (4 ounces 115g), diced (optional)
  • Red wine vinegar, to taste
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) ground toasted caraway seeds (optional)
  • Minced fresh dill, for garnish

For the Beef Broth: Season short ribs and pork belly all over with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pot, add beef and pork belly and cook, turning, until browned all over, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer meats to a rimmed baking sheet or platter and set aside. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to pot and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until starting to brown, about 6 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, lowering heat if necessary to prevent scorching. Add 4 quarts (3.75L) water, short ribs, pork belly, marrow bones, ham hock, dill, parsley, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until meats are tender, about 3 hours.

Strain meat broth, reserving all meats and bones discard vegetables. You should have about 3 quarts (2.8L) broth. If you have less, add enough water to bring it up to 3 quarts. You can refrigerate broth and meats separately for up to 3 days before continuing with the recipe, or continue immediately.

For the Borscht: Pick bones from short ribs and ham hocks and push marrow from bones. Discard bones. Cut up all broth meats and marrow into small dice and set aside. (If marrow is hot, it won't dice neatly this is fine.) Skim rendered fat from surface of broth (if broth is cold, the fat will be a solid cap on top) reserve 1/4 cup (60ml) and discard the rest.

In a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot, heat the 1/4 cup reserved fat from broth over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 3 quarts (2.8L) meat broth and bring to a simmer.

Add diced meats to broth, along with celery root, parsnip, beets, cabbage, and tomatoes and cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add potatoes and kielbasa, if using, and cook until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add vinegar until soup hits the perfect balance of sweet and sour to your taste.

Stir toasted caraway, if using, into sour cream and season lightly with salt. Ladle hot borscht into bowls and top with dollops of caraway sour cream and fresh dill. Serve right away. Remaining soup can be refrigerated for up to 5 days and frozen for up to 3 months.

Ruby Red Beet Soup

Sometimes the colors that nature comes up with blow me away. Take the ruby red beets and red cabbage in this soup they’re as brilliant as the dahlias that grow in my backyard. So, too, is their taste, and when combined with sautéed onion, fennel, and celery, plus cumin, coriander, and caraway, the result is simply luscious.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 fennel bulb, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
Sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
Pinch of red pepper flakes
6 cups Magic Mineral Broth, vegetable broth or bone broth
8 ounces red cabbage, chopped
3 beets, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons full-fat plain yogurt, for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion, fennel, celery, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, caraway seeds, and red pepper flakes and stir until well combined. Pour in 1/2 cup of the broth to deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the cabbage and 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir. Add the beets and another 1/4 teaspoon salt, stir, and cook for about 1 minute. Add the remaining 5 1/2 cups of broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the beets are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

In a blender, puree the soup in batches until very smooth, each time adding the cooking liquid first and then the vegetables. Pour the soup back into the pot and heat gently. Taste you may want to add a pinch more salt. Serve garnished with the yogurt and dill, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

COOK'S NOTE: This is a wonderful soup that can be served hot or cold. If it’s been sitting in the refrigerator, give it a taste. You may want to perk it up with a spritz of lemon or orange juice.

Reprinted with permission from Clean Soups Copyright © 2016 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.

Borscht, Vegetables and Slavic Cultures

I think the 3 common ingredients along the whole ‘Borscht spectrum’ are cabbage, potatoes and tomatoes (or sauce/paste). And now that I wrote it out, I am sure someone might read this and tell me they know Borscht without even these three.

Well, this recipe is Borscht how I know it from my mom (hmm…together with the Plov and Cauliflower casserole, ‘mom-inspired‘ could be yet another series). It is quite a healthy soup full of good-for-you vegetables like beets, cabbage, carrots, and onion.

And as all the different variations show, Borscht is very open to adaptations. For a meatless (vegetarian/vegan) Borscht, I’d recommend using vegetable broth instead of water for added flavor. Just start with point 2 in the recipe instructions.

Beet Borscht

Some weeks you need a big-batch soup to use up a ton of in-season veggies. This tangy-sweet soup fills the bill &ndash it's great hot or cold, and freezes beautifully. This borscht is vegan on its own, but it's even tastier topped with a dollop of sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt) and a sprinkle of chopped fresh dill.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 1/2 lb beets peeled and diced
  • 5 cups diced green cabbage
  • 2 white potatoes (about 10 oz/280 g), cubed
  • 2 ribs celery diced
  • 1 carrots diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 10 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar

Nutritional facts Per each of 12 servings: about

  • Fibre 3 g
  • Sodium 398 mg
  • Sugars 7 g
  • Protein 2 g
  • Calories 85.0
  • Total fat 3 g
  • Potassium 425 mg
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Saturated fat trace
  • Total carbohydrate 15 g


In large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat cook onion, garlic and caraway seeds, stirring occasionally, until softened and light golden, about 4 minutes.

Stir in beets, cabbage, potatoes, celery, carrot, bay leaves, salt and pepper cook over medium heat, stirring often, until beets are starting to soften, about 10 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste and brown sugar cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in water bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beets are tender, about 40 minutes. Stir in vinegar discard bay leaves. (Make-ahead: Freeze in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)

Jay Sanderson’s Beet Variations

There was a lot of experimenting going on when I Zoomed with Jay Sanderson.

Sanderson is president and chief executive officer of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. As Michael Janofsky reported in his story on Sanderson earlier this week, Sanderson is facing the daunting task of meeting the needs of a community hit hard by the coronavirus.

He is also reeling from the death of his twin brother Jeffrey, who died from Covid-19 in April.

Despite, or maybe because of, all that hardship, I decided to conduct my Zoom interview with Sanderson while he… cooked.

Sanderson and I have known each other for over two decades. Sometimes the relationship has been testy– he ran the Federation, I ran a newspaper that often reported on Federation in ways that raised hackles. But the best part of our fights were the make-up meals, usually at restaurants (remember restaurants?) that we would painstakingly choose in back-and-forth texts and e-mails. Food was our salve. I knew it would still be, now.

So we experimented with a serious discussion-slash-cooking demo. In this crazy time, why not? And you know what? I think it worked.

When I Zoomed with Sanderson on May 21 in an event sponsored by the Los Angeles Federation and The Forward, he was in his kitchen. As we talked, he made what he called his “Beet Variations.” First up was a beet martini flavored with a rare French caraway liquor. Next was borscht, or beet soup, garnished (genius!) with dehydrated sauerkraut.

While cooking, Sanderson laid out the challenges facing the Jewish community during, and after, the pandemic.

Bottom line: Jewish organizations, including Federations, are being challenged as never before by this pandemic, Sanderson said, but the ones that emerge stronger will use the pandemic as an opportunity to innovate, change and grow.

“The Jewish community six months from now will never again be like the Jewish community six months ago,” Sanderson said.

Jay Sanderson’s beet soup with sour cream, dill and dehydrated sauerkraut

Jay Sanderson’s “ Beet Variations”

The Beet Martini

3/4 oz beet shrub 3/4 oz Doppelt Kummel Extra Liqueur 1 1/2 oz Potato Vodka preferably Boyd’s or Chopin Dehydrated beet powder

Rim a frozen martini glass with dehydrated beet powder.

Fill a mixing glass with ice, vodka, shrub, the liqueur, and stir vigorously. Strain and pour in the chilled martini glass.

The Beet Soup with Caraway

One pound of fresh beets A small bunch of fresh dill 1 cup of sour cream 2 leeks, white and light green part chopped 2 tablespoons canola oil 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds 2 cups of vegetable stock Dehydrated sauerkraut powder

Roast one pound of beets in a roasting pan 375 degrees until tender Peel and chop. Set aside.

Blend chopped dill with sour cream. Refrigerate.

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add caraway seeds, stir until they start popping. Add leeks. Stir. Add a cup of water to keep the seeds from burning. Cook until the leeks are soft. Add beets and vegetable stock. Cook 15-20 minutes to let flavors meld.

Put soup in blender. Blend until smooth.

Top with dilled sour cream and dehydrated sauerkraut powder.

Jay Sanderson’s Beet Variations

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