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Flavorful Classic Cabbage Roll Soup
All the flavors we love in our classic stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe but in a deconstructed, easy to make pot of soup!
We adore cabbage rolls but don’t always have time to assemble the ingredients in casserole form. That’s where this brilliant adaptation comes in. This cabbage roll soup is easy to make, hearty and filling making it perfect for lunch or dinner. Serve with a loaf of crusty, rustic bread for sopping up the broth!
Soup weather is finally here!
I enjoy soup year round but especially this time of year when the days are warm and the evenings are cool. There’s something special about a big pot of soup simmering away on the stove. The aroma is practically seductive as it permeates the whole house, building anticipation for what’s to come. Comfort food at it’s best!
What does cabbage roll soup taste like?
Our cabbage roll soup has a distinct sweet and sour tanginess from the addition of brown sugar and white balsamic vinegar.
The broth has a rich tomato flavor, the beef is tender, and the cabbage has a slight chewiness that I love. For this recipe we add a whole chopped sweet onion. The onion is slightly caramelized which builds the base for this flavorful soup.
Carrots and garlic round out the flavors and the whole pot is simmered to perfection.
Why do we add sugar and vinegar to cabbage roll soup?
When I was very young my grandmother told me to add a spoonful of sugar to cabbage while it cooks. This step will help ease the gassy effects of this leafy vegetable. I can’t find any scientific research supporting this old wives’ tale but I’ve always had good luck with this practice 🙂
In addition to this possible helpful benefit, a little brown sugar adds depth of flavor to this soup. It works to enhance the natural sweetness of the onions, carrots and cabbage.
The sweet and sour flavor combo is classic and beloved in many cuisines. Think Sweet and Sour Chicken, Hot and Sour Soup and one of our all time family favorites, Sweet and Sour Meatloaf. Feel free to adjust the sugar and vinegar in this soup, adding a little more if desired.
Don’t overcook the cabbage!
You don’t need to cook this soup too long, as the cabbage will become limp, pasty and produce an unpleasant smell. The soup will still be fine to eat, just a little less visually appealing.
Cabbage is great eaten raw, as in our coleslaw recipe so it doesn’t even have to be cooked! Cabbage is so versatile it can be braised, boiled, sautéed and stir-fried.
According to Healthline, cabbage is very low in calories, high in fiber and contains powerful antioxidants.
Cabbage is especially high in vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that may protect against heart disease, certain cancers and vision loss. So load up on the cabbage but don’t overcook it!
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Cabbage Roll Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced (1 heaping cup)
- 2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (do not drain)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
- 5-6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or beef broth)
- 1 small head cabbage, cored and rough chopped, about 6 cups
- ⅔ cups uncooked white or brown rice
- ¼ cup chopped parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until it starts to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30-seconds.
- Add the ground beef, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes (if using) to the Dutch oven. Sauté until the ground beef is cooked through. Drain the mixture and return to the pot.
- Add the carrots, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and broth to the beef mixture. Add the cabbage and rice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a tight fitting lid.
- Simmer the soup, covered, for 20-30 minutes or until the cabbage is just tender and the rice is cooked.
- This recipe is easily cut in half if you prefer.
- Our Cabbage Roll Soup freezes well too! Be sure you don't overcook the rice especially if you plan to freeze the soup.
Here are a few more recipes you might also like:
Next time you see big, beautiful, green heads of cabbage in the market, grab one up and make this delicious Classic Cabbage Rolls Recipe.
Our fresh Minestrone Soup is full of healthy legumes, green leafy vegetables, plenty of Italian herbs, a handful of pasta, and wonderfully rich tomatoey broth.
Vegetable Soup with Lentils & Seasonal Greens – a delicious, hearty and rustic soup with vegetables simmered in a rich flavorful broth with wilted seasonal greens & lentils.