Make Ahead

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup

April 27, 2019
1 Ratings
Photo by IngridHeather
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

I absolutely love the sweet and sour cabbage soup from any good Jewish deli, but I couldn't find a straightforward recipe that didn't require flank steak or some other meat.

I also wanted to use up all the floating extra veggies in my crisper (one carrot here, two stalks of celery there, you know the deal). The secret ingredients are sauerkraut and piloncillo (which I had bought long ago for a picadillo experiment) but other than that this recipe is so flexible you could play around all sorts of variations. A great way to clean out your fridge. Makes a huge pot and I've been eating it all week. —IngridHeather

What You'll Need
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 onion
  • 4 tablespoons olive oi
  • 5-6 tablespoons sauerkraut
  • 32 ounces broth of your choice (I used beef, but obviously you could use vegetable broth and make this vegetarian)
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, or two taste
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1 small cone of piloncillo
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 14.5 oz can of diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lemon (optional)
  1. Chopped the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and cabbage. Put the onion powder, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt in a little bowl, so you have it ready.
  2. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil, and saute the onion until translucent. (5-7 minutes). Add the garlic, carrots, celery and cabbage and continue to saute until the cabbage just starts to wilt.
  3. Add the spice mix (onion powder, red pepper, salt) and continue to saute. Add more olive oil if things start to dry up. Continue to saute until the spice mix is distributed evenly and the cabbage starts to become cooked through.
  4. Add the tomatoes, the broth of your choice and simmer over medium heat, covered, for about 30 minutes. The soup may seem too broth-y at this point, but that will be taken care of later.
  5. After 30 minutes, uncover and toss in 5-6 heaping tablespoons of sauerkraut. Simmer for 10-15 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Lower heat and toss in the cone of piloncillo, and stir until dissolved.
  6. Taste the soup and make the following adjustments if necessary: -- squeeze lemon if soup is too sweet and/or add more sauerkraut -- add salt if necessary -- if too liquidy, simmer for 10-15 minutes with lid off -- if not enough liquid, use tomato can as measuring cup and add water
  7. Optional Step: Take off heat and let sit for an hour or so to allow flavors to meld, and then reheat before serving. Or enjoy right away!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lisa Garsko-Wilson
    Lisa Garsko-Wilson
  • IngridHeather
  • Renerich

3 Reviews

Lisa G. April 11, 2020
This was very good. Definitely don’t use more than a teaspoon of red pepper if you don’t like it too hot and not more than 1 teaspoon of salt if you don’t want it too salty. Piloncillo Cone is brown sugar and Molasses formed into a cone shape. I used 2 tablespoons of Sukrin gold in place of brown sugar and a tablespoon of molasses but it wasn’t sweet enough so I added another tablespoon of molasses and two packets of Splenda to make it sweeter which worked for me. I guess adding raisins too would be nice. ( Next time). Will definitely make it again. Nice vegetarian cabbage soup.
IngridHeather April 21, 2020
Thank you so much Lisa! This is my first recipe, and you made my day.
Renerich January 2, 2021
Piloncillo is natural cane sugar. Brown sugar is sugar plus molasses. Piloncillo is about as natural as sugar gets!