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slow cooking European
Cabbage Borscht

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 0


Served with dark rye bread this hearty soup makes a soul-satisfying meal. I prefer the flavor when it’s made with a combination of beef and vegetable stock, but if you’re a vegetarian, the vegetable stock works well, too.



  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) tomatoes, including juice, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) brown sugar
  • 3 medium beets, peeled and diced
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups (1 l)  Basic Vegetable Stock  or 2 cups (500 ml) each prepared vegetable and beef stock
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 4 cups (1 l) finely shredded cabbage
  • Sour cream, optional 
  • Finely chopped dill


Large (minimum 6 quart) slow cooker

1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add onions, celery and carrots and cook, stirring, until carrots are softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, caraway seeds, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

2. Transfer to a food processor fitted with a metal blade . Add half the tomatoes with juice and process until smooth. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Add remaining tomatoes, brown sugar, beets and potato to food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Add vegetable stock.

3. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until vegetables are tender. Add vinegar and cabbage and stir well. Cover and cook on High for 20 to 30 minutes, until cabbage is tender. To serve, ladle into bowls, add a dollop of sour cream, if using, and garnish with dill.


If you’re not a vegetarian, and prefer a more substantial soup, add thinly sliced kielbasa to the soup bowls before adding the garnish(es).


If you prefer a smoother soup, do not puree the vegetables in Step 2. Instead, wait until they have finished cooking, and puree the soup in the stoneware using an immersion blender before adding the vinegar and cabbage. Allow the soup time to reheat (cook on High for 10 or 15 minutes) before adding the cabbage to ensure that it cooks.


This dish can be partially prepared before it is cooked. Complete Steps 1 and 2. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to cook, continue with Step 3.

Mindful Morsels: Most North Americans do not consume enough fruits and vegetables. A person who needs 2,000 calories a day should be eating at least 4½ cups (1.125 l) of fruits and vegetables every day. One serving of this soup will provide almost a quarter of that amount.

Natural Wonders: CABBAGE

Cabbage is such a healthful vegetable that it is known as a “functional food,” which means it has been designated by the National Cancer Institute as a food with high cancer fighting power. Cabbage contains two particularly potent cancer-fighting phytochemicals: indoles, which protect against breast cancer by helping to metabolize estrogen; and isothiocyanates, which help the body to detoxify carcinogens. Research shows that people who consume significant quantities of cabbage have particularly low rates of colon cancer. Low in calories, cabbage is a source of vitamin C, folacin, potassium and dietary fiber. One caveat: if you have thyroid problems you might want to limit your consumption of this vegetable because cabbage contains substances that may interfere with thyroid functioning.

© 2006 Judith Finlayson

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information does not include optional sour cream.

138kcal (7%)
60mg (6%)
32mg (53%)
169mcg RAE (6%)
0mg (0%)
864mg (36%)
1g (4%)
4g (7%)
1mg (7%)

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