Sweet & sour cabbage & tomato soup with rice

I seem to be in a very nostalgic mood recently. This soup is the love-child of two of my early food memories. 

The first is holishkes – stuffed cabbage rolls in tomato sauce that are traditionally served on Succot, the Jewish harvest festival. Each cabbage leaf is filled with a mixture of mince-meat and rice, and folded/rolled around it. They’re baked under a layer of sweet and sour tomato sauce, and are utterly, utterly delicious. 

Of course, these days I don’t eat them because of the meat, although I have been known to make vegetarian ones with rice and mushrooms, or soya, or something else. To be honest, it’s the cabbage-tomato-sauce-sweet-&-sourness that I really love. Yum.

The second childhood food memory is tomato and rice soup, which I suspect is just a 1980s thing, rather than a particularly Jewish thing! For some reason, it’s associated in my mind with eating at my Aunty Laura’s house. It was delicious!

Anyway, I wanted to combine all of this into a tasty, chunky, between-seasons soup, and I think I have succeeded πŸ™‚ . The shredded cabbage and rice gives it a lovely texture, and the flavour is deliciously sweet and sour and tomatoey. Kipper and I had this cabbage and tomato soup for dinner with some toast (which she enjoyed dunking immensely) and I’ve been having leftovers for lunches. The rice does keep on absorbing liquid, so you may need to add a little hot water when you reheat it. Unless you like soup you can stand your spoon up in!

Although Kipper thoroughly enjoyed dunking toast, she wasn’t so excited about eating the soup with a spoon. Until I blended some of it for her – that changed everything! (Apparently, having avoided pureeing her food as a baby, I now have to whizz it up for her as a pre-schooler!) Once blended, the soup was thick and rich, as you might expect. I prefer it chunky but of course you’re welcome to enjoy it either way.

This made four generous servings of sweet and sour cabbage and tomato soup with rice. 

Filled with nostalgic flavours, this delicious vegan cabbage & tomato soup is substantial enough to be a meal in itself! A great between-seasons recipe.

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Sweet & sour cabbage & tomato soup with rice
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
261 calories
41 g
0 g
10 g
6 g
1 g
515 g
544 g
6 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 261
Calories from Fat 84
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 544mg
Total Carbohydrates 41g
Dietary Fiber 7g
Sugars 6g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 medium onion
  2. 1 medium cabbage (around 550g)
  3. 2-3 tbsp oil
  4. 500ml vegetable stock
  5. 400g tin tomatoes, chopped
  6. 1 tsp sugar
  7. Juice of half a lemon
  8. 100g rice
  1. Peel and slice the onion. Trim the outer leaves from the cabbage, remove the core, and shred finely. Rinse well.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan over a low-medium flame. Cook the onion and cabbage for 5-10 minutes until softening and starting to just brown.
  3. Add the stock, tomatoes, sugar and lemon juice and mix well. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  4. Stir in the rice, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for a while before reheating to serve.
  1. The rice will continue to absorb liquid even once it is cooked. You may need to add more hot water to reach your preferred 'soupy' consistency before serving.
Family-Friends-Food http://family-friends-food.com/
I’m entering this soup into No Croutons Required, a vegetarian soup & salad challenge organised by Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa at Lisa’s Kitchen
I’m also putting it forward for Super Soup, over at Jo’s Kitchen.
Jo’s Kitchen is also hosting this month’s Credit Crunch Munch (organised by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All). Since I reckon the ingredients for the entire pan of soup came to well under Β£2, I’m sure this delicious soup qualifies.



  1. I would totally make this – some of my family like the cabbage, some only like the sauce and meat. This is perfect!

  2. I always think that lemon juice in soup makes such a difference as it really lightens the dish. For some reason I have a packet of economy rice in the cupboard that is really not that good as rice, but I think would be excellent as a filler in soup!

    thank you for entering #CreditCrunchMunch

    • Thanks Helen. I add lemon juice to everything! A squeeze at the end of a risotto is delicious, or over anything slightly oily or heavy. It just adds a delicious freshness. Glad you’ve found a use for the economy rice!

  3. Oh my. That sounds lovely and comforting. Thanks for sharing with NCR. The roundup will be posted in the next day or so.

  4. This looks yummy! Thank you for linking up to #SuperSoup

  5. No nostalgia for me here but it looks delicious!

  6. Love the sound of this – I’ll have to try it on my pre-schooler.

  7. This looks like an interesting combination of Ingredients in soup. I am going to try it.

  8. Oh, oh, oh, you’ve bought the memories flooding back. My aunt used to make stuffed cabbage rolls in tomato sauce. It was my favourite dish, though I remember it being really fiddly – cooking the leaves first and slices off the thick parts of the stalk whilst trying to keep the leaf in tact. She always cooked it for me as a special treat when I visited. Hers was a dish from Egypt, except they used vine leaves rather than cabbage leaves.

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