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Micah Siva’s Fennel and Beet Borscht


On the table in… 1 hour

Although my great-grandmother emigrated from Ukraine to Canada as a young woman, her love for her country’s traditional cuisine never faltered. She brought with her the recipes of her childhood, sharing them among the generations that followed. In Canada, winters are long, meaning root vegetables are seemingly always in season, and they find their way into many dishes. Unsurprisingly, beet borscht was a staple dish in our family. This vegan version is an ode to my family’s borscht, updated with fresh fennel, savory miso and a creamy coconut milk garnish.

Photo courtesy Michah Siva

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, cut into ½-inch pieces

2 fennel bulbs, quartered, cored and roughly chopped

2 medium carrots, sliced into ¼-inch rounds

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 pound baby potatoes, quartered

2 large beets, peeled and grated

1/2 medium green cabbage, finely chopped

6 cups vegetable broth, low-sodium if preferred 1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon white or yellow miso paste

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving

1/2 cup canned coconut milk, for serving

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the fennel, carrots, garlic and potatoes and cook until the vegetables begin to soften slightly, an additional 5 to 6 minutes.

Add the grated beets, chopped cabbage, broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, decrease the heat to low, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, miso and dill, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in bowls, drizzled with about 1 tablespoon of coconut milk per bowl, and sprinkled with additional dill.


Substitute dairy kefir for the coconut milk, if preferred. Add a 14-oz can of drained and rinsed white beans to this dish for additional protein.

Add 2 teaspoons of ground sumac to this recipe for a tangier variation. Omit the sesame seeds and add hemp seeds for added protein.

Serves 8

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