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Vegetarian Cabbage Soup


Slightly adapted from a Craig Claiborne & Pierre Franey recipe. If you wish to make a version closer to the original, which included bacon and chicken stock, see this recipe: Paul Steindler’s Cabbage Soup

I was recently listening to a Milk Street podcast and heard Sara Moulten mention that she never thickens soups with flour, preferring instead to purée a portion of the soup. If you have an immersion blender, this will be easy. Otherwise, you could ladle a few cups of soup into a food processor or blender. I love this idea, especially if gluten intolerance is a concern. Will try it next time, though I have no problem using flour, and don’t find it adds an off taste or texture to the finished soup.

Re stock: When I made this most recently, I found the stock yielded 2 quarts, all of which I used here, along with 2 more cups of water. So, if you don’t have a full 10 cups of vegetables stock, using a mix of stock and water will work just fine.

I’m not sure why the recipe calls for submerging cabbage in boiling water for one minute, but I suspect this step helps rid the cabbage of some of its water content, which can be stinky, and which might therefore cloud the flavor of the broth.

Note: This is a double recipe, and it yields a lot, but it’s so nice to have on hand, especially, if you have company arriving. With a little hunk of fresh bread, it makes the most wonderful lunch, and with a salad, a perfect dinner. 


  • 12 cups shredded cabbage*
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cups finely diced onions
  • 1/2 cup flour, see notes above
  • 10 cups homemade vegetable stock or water, see notes
  • 2 cups finely diced carrots
  • 2 to 3 cups finely diced potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons whole caraway seeds, crushed or pulverized
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill (or more or less to taste)

*If you use one relatively large head, you may get about 14 cups — use it all.


  1. Place cabbage in a large bowl. Bring enough water to a boil — I fill a tea kettle, but you could always fill a large sauce pan — to submerge the cabbage in the bowl. Pour the water over the cabbage; let sit one minute or longer; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat the oil over high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions, immediately turn the heat down to medium or low, and cook, stirring, until they are soft, about 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with flour and stir. (Note: If you do not wish to add the flour, see the notes above for an alternative method for thickening the soup.) Add the broth or water, stirring rapidly with a wire whisk. When the mixture simmers, add the cabbage, carrots, potatoes, salt, pepper, caraway seeds, vinegar and sugar.
  3. Simmer, stirring every so often, for about about 30 minutes. Stir in the cream and simmer five minutes. Add the chopped dill to the pot. Taste and adjust as needed with more salt and pepper to taste. I typically add 1 to 2 teaspoons more salt, but I am a salt lover, so adjust as needed. Serve, adding more chopped dill to each bowl if desired.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American, Eastern European

Keywords: cabbage, soup, vegetarian, dill, caraway, vegetables