Comforting sweet & sour cabbage and tomato soup with rice

Filled with nostalgic flavours, this delicious vegan cabbage & tomato soup with rice is substantial enough to be a meal in itself. A wonderfully comforting recipe.

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

Stuffed cabbage

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 minced meat and rice, and folded/rolled around it. They’re baked under a layer of sweet and sour tomato sauce, and are utterly delicious. 

These days I don’t eat meat, although I have been known to make vegetarian holishkes with rice and mushrooms. Really though, it’s the cabbage-tomato-sauce-sweet-&-sourness that I love. I don’t miss the meaty part at all. 

Sweet and sour cabbage & tomato soup with rice.

Memories of soup

The second childhood food memory is tomato and rice soup. I had thought that it was just trendy in the 1980s, rather than being particularly Jewish. However a little research suggests that’s it’s Polish/Eastern European in origin, so it may well have Ashkenazi significance after all. Who knows? 

A winning combination

I wanted to combine all the flavours of holishkes & tomato-rice soup, into a tasty, chunky, comforting bowlful, and I think I have succeeded. The shredded cabbage and rice give this soup a lovely chunky texture, and the flavour is deliciously sweet and sour and rich with tomatoes.

My daughter Kipper and I had this cabbage and tomato soup for dinner with some toast (which she enjoyed dunking immensely) and I’ve been eating 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!

Sweet and sour cabbage & tomato soup with rice.

To blend or not to blend…?

Although Kipper thoroughly enjoyed dunking toast, she wasn’t so excited about eating the rest of her soup with a spoon. Until I blended some of it for her – that changed everything! Once blended, the soup was thick and rich, as you might expect. I prefer it chunky but 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 sweet and sour cabbage & tomato soup with rice is substantial enough to be a meal in itself. A wonderfully comforting recipe.

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

Want deliciously easy, family-friendly recipes like this one delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up. (Of course, I’ll never pass on your email address to anyone.)

Sweet and sour cabbage & tomato soup with rice.
Print Pin
5 from 1 vote

Sweet and sour cabbage and tomato soup with rice

Course Soup
Cuisine Vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Calories 261kcal
Author Helen


  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium cabbage (around 550g)
  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • 500 ml vegetable stock (2 1/4 cups)
  • 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 100 g rice (1/2 cup)


  • Peel and slice the onion. Trim the outer leaves from the cabbage, remove the core, and shred finely. Rinse well.
  • 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.
  • Add the stock, tomatoes, sugar and lemon juice and mix well. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  • Stir in the rice, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to stand for a while before reheating to serve.Note: 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.


261 calories, 10g fat, 6g protein, 41gcarbs

If you love a hearty soup, you’ll love this delicious mushroom soup with freekeh, this easy butternut squash and lentil soup, and this creamy vegan courgette and potato soup.

Sweet and sour cabbage & tomato soup with rice.

I’m entering this cabbage and tomato soup into No Croutons Required, a vegetarian soup & salad challenge organised by Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa at Lisa’s Kitchen




  1. Pingback:The Recipe You Need Right Now – Turmeric, Lentil & Lemon Soup | food to glow

  2. Pingback:26 Yummy Soup Recipes | Foodies 100

  3. Sarah Klinkowitz

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

  4. Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours

    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!

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

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

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

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

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

  10. 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.

    • Thanks Choclette! I’m glad I’m not the only one having massive nostalgia at the moment 🙂

      • 5 stars
        Can also be made with with a chunkwor two of meat (flanken, short ribs, etc.) but in any case, and handful of raisins or currents will really really enhance the taste (like my Bubbe used to make).!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *