family, food, recipes

Mommy’s Lean Times Tomato Cabbage Soup

For most of our childhoods, my brother, sister, and I had it really, really good. We lived in lovely homes in suburban Baltimore County, Maryland and Central Florida, traveled widely, and were loved dearly. Of the meals my dear Mother prepared at home, I never remember meeting one I didn’t like (some of you may be surprised to know–and some not at all surprised–that as a tot, my favorite meal was my Mom’s homemade, gourmet-as-any-restaurant boeuf bourguignon). There were some lean times, financially speaking, that I never knew about until my early adulthood.  During these times, my Mother kept us well-fed and blissfully ignorant of the family finances. One of my favorite meals she prepared then, and a real comfort food for me is this super-easy-to-make and super cheap tomato cabbage soup. Since I am experiencing some lean times of my own and I’m comforted by this nostalgic meal, I decided to make it. It’s the perfect meal for the person with every excuse not to cook: it’s fast, easy, cheap, tasty, and healthy. Vegan? Got you covered.



Olive oil, canola oil, or whatever other vegetable oil you have on hand that won’t clash with the other flavors (sesame oil or coconut oil would probably not be good choices)

One cabbage (I got a medium-sized one at the Carrboro Farmer’s Market and it’s plenty big enough)

One 64-ounce bottle V-8 or other vegetable juice cocktail

One 16-ounce bag mixed vegetables (I sprung for Cascadian Farms organic ones)

Seasonings of your choice to taste (today I added fresh minced garlic, Mrs. Dash, and black pepper)


Coarsely chop  the cabbage. Heat the oil in a soup-sized pot. Sauté garlic in oil if using. Toss in chopped cabbage and stir occasionally until cabbage gets a little soft. (I sped up the process today by covering the pot and steaming it a bit.) Pour in veg juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, then add frozen veggies. Simmer until hot. Season to taste. Eat.

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