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Cabbage Roll Soup

 I'd describe this soup as half way between Borscht and Hamburger Soup. And for me.....soda crackers with butter are a given when serving a tomato based's a taste from childhood for me. 
(This recipe if made as directed is gluten free)

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • 1 cup celery, sliced fine
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth ( gluten free)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 4 cups canned diced tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice ( I use Kokuho Rose gourmet sticky brown rice, which is wheat and gluten free)
  • 2 cups cabbage, finely chopped (or more)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  1. Fry ground beef in large soup pot over medium heat breaking up the ground beef as it fries to make it very fine.
  2. Once beef is half way cooked through add the onion, celery and parsley. Continue to cook meat and vegetables until onions are translucent. 
  3. Add water, broth, diced tomatoes and the spices and bring to a light boil. 
  4. Immediately add rice and cabbage. Turn to a low simmer and allow soup to cook for an hour, but it's even better if you leave it too cook for several hours for all the flavours to combine.
Note: This soup will be quite thick. If you like a less thick soup add an extra cup of water. 
If you don't have tomato sauce substitute with a can of tomato soup.


  1. I make a similar recipe but add a little brown sugar and red wine vinegar. I live in Pittsburgh and cabbage rolls are a staple in most kitchens so this recipe makes a nice quick change to an old favorite.

  2. Thanks Kathy - this sounds delicious and so much easier than making cabbage rolls! I agree with you about the buttered soda crackers too!

  3. I've got a cabbage in my fridge & a craving for soup. This will definitely make an appearance in my kitchen later today! Thanks!

  4. What a terrific idea! I love cabbage rolls . . . and I love soup. I'm definitely trying this. (Reminds me a bit of pizza soup; not specifically, but as a general idea.)

  5. Now you have me craving this for lunch! LOL!

  6. Sounds fabulous indeed.

    Thanks for all the wonderful recipes you share


  7. My husband has been dropping some very strong hints about wanting cabbage rolls... I'm thinking I agree with Rosella's comment -- this would be soo much easier !! Wonder if I could get away with it ? I just might !! Thanks, Kathy!

  8. Oh, this sounds so good Kathy - it makes me wonder why it's not been thought of sooner.

  9. Did you taste this at the little "carpathian" cafe, by chance? (I don't know if we're allowed to actually name the restaurant.) They sure have good Mennonite verenike, as well as the more Ukrainian perogies! :)

    1. Hi Joan, no that was not the restaurant I had it at. I've never eaten there but I have heard great things about it.

  10. Cabbage rolls are a pain in the neck to make! This soup even tastes better than rolls that took forever to parboil, roll, cook the rice first, etc., etc. I have to admit, though, that I use a less acceptable rice (to nutritionists) than brown rice: Jasmine rice is my favorite kind of rice - it just always "gets" better than any other I've used.

    Thanks for your web site!

  11. I used to consider cabbage rolls a royal pain and only made them occasionally. But, since I learned of frozen cabbage.. it is so much easier that I can make a roaster full in just under an hour.

    To do that... just freeze your cabbage heads at least 4 days in advance as it takes a while for the freezing to go right through if they are large and heavy. Then in the morning of the preparation I take out the cabbage and allow to unthaw a bit but not completely otherwise its just very hard to separate the leaves. Then I par-boil the rice and set aside.. Collect all the ingredients I need and back to the cabbage. I run it under warm running water to separate and within 10 mins. its all done. Or five if doing one head. Mix up the raw hamburger and rice and spices etc. . roll up in a roaster with water in the bottom (about 2 cups) and fill it up. When done add you own version of a tomato sauce as there are lots of variations.. I always top it off with a sprinkle of brown sugar on top... and bake in a LONG SLOW oven..

    Hope this helps some of you cooks out there.. Enjoy

  12. Followed your recipe to the letter. So simple and so easy. Best soup ever... Thanks

  13. Just made a big double batch of this soup. I checked my mom's cabbage roll recipe and added a bit of lemon juice and paprika. The soup is delicious!! Might be my new favourite soup. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. So glad you enjoyed it. Those additions sound perfect. I'll try that next time I make this soup.

  14. how much will this recipe feed?