Make Borscht, Not War: A Fundraiser to Help Ukraine

Russia’s unprovoked, brutal attack on Ukraine has left many of us asking, “What can we do?” For one, we can send financial support to help Ukrainians.

Donate to organizations working in the area

Cook borscht in a pay-what-you-feel workshop–fundraiser

A traditional hearty vegetable soup, borscht originated in present-day Ukraine and is enjoyed throughout Eastern Europe. We will make the red version—with beets—and we will (of course) use all the parts of the beet. The leaves and stems will go into the soup and the peels and scraps into a very small amount of fermented beet kvass (apologies for the heretical kvass name).

Hang out with fun people, get dinner on the table and raise money! We will make our pots of borscht together over Zoom on Tuesday, March 8th at 4pm Pacific time. Cooking takes about an hour but people often like to hang out and socialize afterward for a little longer.

If you would like to secure a spot, either:

  1. Donate any amount of money to any of the organizations above—or to another one that supports Ukraine. Next, email proof of payment to (a screenshot works) and you will receive the top-secret Zoom link for the workshop.
  2. Or register on the Eventbrite page here. All proceeds from Eventbrite registrations will go to José Andrés’ organization, World Central Kitchen, which has chefs on the ground cooking in Poland for displaced Ukrainians fleeing there. After registering, you will receive the Zoom link from Eventbrite.

Vegetarian Borscht Workshop Materials

Please bring the following to this workshop.


  • sharp chef’s knife
  • vegetable peeler
  • cutting board
  • measuring cup and spoons (if desired)
  • large stockpot and lid
  • wooden spoon
  • 4-cup jar if you’d like to make beet kvass with the beet scraps (apologies for the kvass heresy)


I’ve included the prepped descriptions for the vegetables below (chop, dice, mince and so on) for anyone who’d like to prep in advance but most people chop during class.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 6 medium Yukon gold or red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (see Note)
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (see Note)
  • 6 medium beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (see Note)
  • leaves and stems of the beets (see Note)
  • 1½ cups chopped cabbage or kale
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, or to taste
  • salt
  • pepper
  • sour cream for garnish (optional)


  1. I don’t peel potatoes or carrots. I do buy organic, however, and so the peels I eat do not contain residues from synthetic pesticides.
  2. Save the beet peels and scraps for a savory fermented drink we’ll make during the workshop. You’ll need a quart-size mason jar for this.
  3. If your beets do not have attached leaves and stems, add more cabbage.

Something else we can do: Move away from fossil fuels

As Bill McKibben wrote in The Guardian on Friday, this war “is a war underwritten by oil and gas, a war whose most crucial weapon may be oil and gas, a war we can’t fully engage because we remain dependent on oil and gas. If you want to stand with the brave people of Ukraine, you need to find a way to stand against oil and gas.”

Read Day 11, Day 12 and Day 19 of my newsletter, 30 Days of Climate Action, for practical ways individuals can move away from fossil fuels.

5 Replies to “Make Borscht, Not War: A Fundraiser to Help Ukraine”

  1. Is there an oil free option to this borscht recipe?

    1. Hello Reena. I will post the recipe on my blog sometime after the class. But basically, sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes, add the tomato paste and herbs and stir for a couple of minutes. Add all the vegetables and add enough water just to cover them. (You can use broth but this will have lots of flavor even with just water.) Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cook partially covered until the potatoes and beets are tender (maybe 20 minutes). Then add dill, salt, pepper and lemon juice or vinegar to taste.

  2. We have collected many useful links in order to help #Ukraine 🕊👉

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