Mennonite Borscht

I have an old Mennonite cookbook from my mother’s collection that I use quite a bit. If you’ve never tried a good, old fashioned borscht, then you have been missing out on one of the best meals in a bowl there is.

This recipe is a compilation of several traditional Mennonite recipes. The nice thing about borscht is that you can change it around to suit what you have on hand, and it always works out.


  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 lbs soup bone (pork preferred). I just use a pork butt steak.

Slow cook over night. Remove bones, cool, remove fat. I take out the steak, remove the fat, chop up the meat fine, and put back into the stock. Or just skip this whole section and just add a half lb or so of extra lean ground beef to a couple of boxes of fat-free beef broth into your slow cooker.

Into the de-fatted stock, add:

  • 5-6 nice sized beets, pealed and sliced into thin strips
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • ½ medium green cabbage, sliced and chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • A handful or so of dried beans (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A sprig of dill
  • Some chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp allspice

Slow cook it all for 8 hours on low heat setting. Add more water if it needs it. Serve with a dollop of fat-free sour cream.