This soup was one of my Mother and Grandmother’s regular soups. There is a debate as to whether Cabbage Borscht is Borscht or if Beet Borscht is the only real Borscht. Both are staples in many Jewish households. My mother tended to make the cabbage version more often. She used a soup bone and soup meat. Occasionally she made the hot beet version also with meat. More often she would open a jar of store bought beet borscht- served cold with sour cream and diced cucumbers. This was good for a dairy meal or especially during Passover. It was refreshing in the summer heat. I personally prefer the cabbage version.
My grandmother was from Romania, my grandfather was from Russia. On my father’s side, he was from Lithuania. I’m not sure where this soup originated in my family. Researching the soup history shows it was a staple in Jewish households as well as non-Jewish households from many different countries. It may have originated in the Byzantine period of the 9th Century when cabbages were introduced to Byzantium. Every country and century seems to have a version of the soup. Some make it just sour, some sweet and sour. Most have meat, but my preference is a vegetarian version that leans towards the sweet side.
My version is a hearty vegetarian soup. It has a sweet and sour tang (I prefer it more on the sweet side). I’ve tried it sugar-free with Stevia and also had good results. You can make it more on the sour side by adding a squeeze of lemon or a very small pinch of sour salt (citric acid)—very, very small. I ruined a pot of soup by adding too much and haven’t used it since. The tomatoes and juice tend to have a slight tartness alone, so you don’t need much unless you like it to be very sour. Whatever version you make, it will be delicious!
1 -12 ounce bag of coleslaw mix (cabbage and carrots grated)
1-8 ounce bag of frozen mixed vegetables
6 ounces of frozen corn
1-28 ounces of crushed tomatoes
1- 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1-46 ounce bottle of V8 juice (or tomato juice)
1-32 ounce vegetable stock
6 tablespoons garlic powder
4-5 tablespoons Montreal seasoning
1 tablespoon salt (20 grinds of salt grinder)
1/8-1/4 cup of sugar (can start with less and adjust after cooking). (As my husband prefers it less sweet I often add it to my bowl with some stevia)
Optional sour choices -squeeze of a lemon, tiny pinch of sour salt (I leave these out)
This soup gets better the more it is cooked. Lean towards the longer cooking times.
Place all ingredients in the pot. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, on low for 8-9 hours. Adjust sweet/sour flavor as needed.
Place all ingredients in the pot. Use Soup function button. Adjust for 3:00. Let pressure release naturally. Adjust sweet/sour flavor as needed.
Place all ingredients in Dutch oven or stock pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 3-4 hours. Stir frequently. Adjust sweet/sour flavor as needed.