March 2, 2022: Ash Wednesday (Worldwide Day of Prayer and Fasting for Ukraine)

This post is dedicated to our friend Olga W. whose family is fighting for survival in Ukraine. Olga was Islander’s classmate when we lived in Illinois. We join others around the world in praying for peace in her country. We also pray for the Russians who do not support their government’s war with their neighbor; sometimes hatred is misplaced on the people because of their political leaders’ actions.

Borscht, which is believed to have originated in Ukraine (see Notes), is a vibrantly colored vegetable soup made with beets, cabbages, carrots, onions and potatoes. It was a dish that Olga would cook when Islander came to visit and stay with her in Indiana during spring break, which often fell on Lent Fridays. This budget-friendly soup is suitable as a meatless meal on Ash Wednesday as well. As the season of Lent begins, cook borscht as a sign of solidarity and support for Ukrainians and continue to pray for peace around the world.


Inspired by Olga W.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shallots, chopped finely (may substitute for onion)
  • 2 large red beets, peeled and grated
  • ½ head of green cabbage, sliced finely
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-7 cups water
  • Sour cream 
  • Dill, chopped (optional garnish)


Chop the shallots, grate the beets and slice the cabbage.

Grate the carrots and cube the potatoes. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Sautee the shallots until softened, around 5 minutes, being careful not to burn the bottom of the pot.

Stir in the beets, cabbage and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are softened, around 15 minutes. Stir in the potatoes. Season again with salt and pepper. Pour in the water, bring to a boil, stir then simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and dill.