Cabbage Borscht

This image courtesy of Colin Ericcson

This hearty soup makes a soul-satisfying meal, particularly in the dark days of winter.


Cooking MethodSlow Cooking



Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe CourseMain Course

Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Gluten-free, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free

EquipmentCrock Pot

MealDinner, Lunch

Taste and TextureSavory

Type of DishHot Soup, Soup


  • Medium to large (3½ to 5 quart) slow cooker
  • Blender or food processor
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 15 mL
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds 5 mL
  • ½ tsp sea salt 2 mL
  • ½ tsp cracked black peppercorns 2 mL
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) tomatoes with juice, coarsely chopped, divided
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar 15 mL
  • 3 medium beets, peeled and diced
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced, optional
  • 4 cups beef stock or vegetable stock 1 L
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (see Notes) 15 mL
  • 4 cups finely shredded cabbage 1 L
  • Sour cream, optional (see Notes)
  • Finely chopped dill


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

  2. Transfer to a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade (see Tips, left). Add half the tomatoes with juice and process until smooth. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.

  3. Add remaining tomatoes, coconut sugar, beets, and potato, if using, to stoneware. Add stock.

  4. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until vegetables are tender. Add vinegar and cabbage, in batches, stirring until each is submerged. 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.


  1. If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (approx. 2 quart) slow cooker.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.

  2. Make Ahead: Complete Steps 1 and 2. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to cook, complete the recipe.

  3. Vinegar: I am very comfortable using fermented vinegar in recipes. Recent studies show that consuming vinegar reduces the glycemic response in both healthy individuals and those with diabetes.

  4. Sour cream: Make your own sour cream or purchase it from a trusted provider (not a mass market brand) to ensure that virtually all the lactose has been eliminated in the process of fermentation and that it does not contain any additives.

    Making sour cream or crème fraîche is not difficult. But proper fermentation takes about 12 hours and requires a starter, such as buttermilk. The less-processed your base cream is, the better your results in terms of digestibility. If you are using a commercial starter, follow the instructions. If using buttermilk or yogurt (with active cultures) you will need about 1 tbsp (15 mL) per cup (250 mL) of heavy cream. Stir well, cover lightly, and set aside at room temperature for at least 12 hours. When the mixture has thickened, cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.


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