Comforting Borscht Soup


I was reminded recently of this recipe in The Nourished Belly Diet, and being deep January in Berkeley (which, yes it’s cold here, particularly because houses in Northern California do NOT have great insulation) this is the perfect recipe. Borscht has an interesting history. I had always associated Borscht with Russia, but it was originally created in what is now Ukraine, was made with a parsnip rather than red beetroots, and in later forms also had a bit of a tangy taste due to some fermentation. It’s a good reminder to add a bit of sauerkraut to add some tanginess and some healthy probiotics. Borscht was also originally associated with peasant food, which as I dive deeper into traditional healthy foods, it’s always those with little means that instinctively knew how to make foods that held deep nutrition.

The first time I made this soup, I was working on a farm on the central coast of California and one of my roommates was a Russian girl named Liz. Although she had spent much of her childhood in the Bay Area, she still had a strong connection with her roots. I’m grateful to her for helping me adapt this simple recipe. Beets are extremely nutrient rich, and their beautiful magenta color is a sign of that, although you could use golden beets as well. Beets are full of minerals, are great for the liver, and they add a natural sweetness that most palates enjoy. It’s hard to mess up, and you can throw in just about anything you have in your fridge.


(feeds 8)  

1–2 pounds beef shank or short ribs

1 pat butter or beef tallow (optional)

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

2 medium potatoes, chopped

2 cups sliced cabbage

4 medium beets, chopped

4 carrots, chopped

½ 24-ounce jar stewed tomatoes

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For the optional garnish:

(mixed together or separate)

½ cup minced parsley

½ cup green onions

½ cup yogurt or sour cream

½ cup sauerkraut



1) If using a Crock-Pot, before going to bed, place the beef shank or short ribs in the Crock-Pot and cover with water. Turn on low.  If using the stovetop, place the beef shank or short ribs in a large stockpot and cover with water. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 1 hour.

2) Optional: Sauté vegetables for added flavor in a pat of butter or beef tallow.

Or, skip step 4 and add the onion, potatoes, cabbage, beets, and carrots straight to the stockpot or Crock-Pot.

3) Add the tomatoes.

4) If using a Crock-Pot, set it on low for at least 4–6 hours and you are free to leave the house!

5) If using a stockpot, simmer on low for roughly 50 minutes. When a fork goes through beets easily, it’s done!

6) Add salt and pepper.

7) Serve with parsley, green onions, yogurt or sour cream and sauerkraut, if using. Mix the garnishes together or use them separately, as desired.



Coconut Squash Soup

You know the seasons are changing when, aside from the foliage reflecting hues of crimson, brown, and gold, the stands at your favorite grocery store or farmers market are bursting with these warm colors. This beautiful time of year brings all things warm and cozy, including delicious and warming recipes. One of my favorites? Squash! A vegetable, originating in Central America that was originally cultivated for its seeds, is now found in recipes around the world and a favorite thanks to its rich, sweet flavor!

Squash is a chi-tonic and warming food, which makes it medicinal to many areas of the body including the stomach, spleen, and large intestine. Packed with generous amounts of nutrients, these vegetables are a GREAT source of natural sweetness, carbohydrates (providing starch), and alpha and beta-carotenes. The unique carotenoid complex along with the significant amount of Vitamin C (about 1/3 cup of recommended daily value in every cup) makes them a winning choice with their high level of antioxidant support. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, manganese, and fiber.

Now, would you have ever thought these superfood vegetables would have been a part of the melon family? Well… they are. Squash actually belongs to the melon and gourd family or Curcurbitaceae. A wide variety of squash including acorn, butternut, pumpkin, kabocha, and others accompany many other family members including cucumber, zucchini, pear, watermelon, and so on. Feeding humanity for centuries, the origin of this families many members, span the world.

Unlike summer squash, winter squash is eaten when fully matured. They are available from August through March, but are best when in their peak season- October through November. When choosing yours, look for one heavy for weight with a firm rind. Soft rinds can be an indication that the squash is watery and has little to no flavor. A good squash will be overflowing with delicious, rich flavor. Also check for soft spots or signs of decay, for these blemishes can manifest and spoil the entire vegetable.

Another unique characteristic of squash is their ability to act as the main starch component of a meal. With about 90% of its calories coming from starch, we recognize squash is a very starchy vegetable. Now, I know what you may be thinking. Isn’t that… maybe... not the greatest? On the contrary! Research shows that not all starch is the same and with this starch in particular, there are great health benefits including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and insulin-regulating properties. Remember, it is important to eat these vegetables with a healthy fat to ensure maximum nutrient absorption! I recommend organic grass fed butter and coconut oil….yum.

The transition into the Autumn and Winter seasons, bring a chilly breeze, cozy sweaters, and kitchens filled with captivating aromas. That means… it’s time to head to the kitchen! Check out Tammy's favorite recipe below! Some of my favorites include Spaghetti Squash, Beet & Brussels and Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Kale. Take a look at these other fall recipes and try experimenting with different flavors at home!

Written by Ashley Green for The Nourished Belly

Fall is the time for winter squash.  These really are such a treat.  For this soup, you can use any squash, but Kabocha is one of my favorites.  You can even mix them together!  I prefer to steam kabocha, since it can be dry if roasted.  However, if using another squash such as butternut or acorn, roasting will bring out a sweetness that will be lost in steaming.  Simply cut the squash in half, place on a baking sheet face down, and bake for approx 40 minutes!

Coconut Squash Soup 

Serves 4


Coconut Squash Soup

1 medium squash (butternut, kabocha, acorn, or delicata work great!)

1 quart bone broth/veggie broth/water 

1/2 can Native Forest Coconut Milk 

1 medium onion

1/2 teaspoon minced ginger 

sea salt to taste 

pinch of cinnamon (optional)

handful of cilantro/parsley and pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)


1)   Cut Kabocha squash in half , and take out seeds.  Put them in the compost.

2)   Cut into large cubes, you’ll blend everything together later, you just want the pieces to cook quicker.

3)   In a large pot, place kabocha cubes with 1 inch of water.  Put over medium heat.  Cover.

4)   When the water starts to steam, turn down heat and cook for 10 minutes or until a fork slides through easily. 

5)   While the squash is steaming, slice onions into slices and heat a sauté pan on medium heat. 

6)   Place coconut oil or butter in the pan and put in onions and minced ginger.  Sauté for 4-5 minutes or until onions are translucent.

7)   Once kabocha is finished, add in onions, ginger, chicken broth and the coconut milk. 

8)   Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. 

9)   Simmer for another 10 minutes.  Add filtered water if you desire a more liquid consistency, or more coconut milk. 

10)        Add salt to taste and serve with cilantro/parsley or pumpkin seeds



- Wood, R., Pitchford, P., Markel, P. (2010). The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia: An A to Z of Selection, Preparation and Storage for More Than 1000 Common and Uncommon Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, and Herbs. New York, NY: Penguin Books.

- Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., Pizzorno, L. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods: The Most Comprehensive, User-friendly A to Z Guide Available on the Nutritional benefits and Medicinal Properties of Food. New York, NY: Atria Books.

- Organic For All, Inc. The Cucurnitaceae Family. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from

- Drummond, R. (2013, Nov 11). Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Kale. Retrieved from

- J Dean. (2013, Oct 5). Spaghetti Squash, Beets & Brussels. Retrieved from

- George Mateljan Foundation. Squash, Winter. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from