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.
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.
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!
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.
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Sweet and sour cabbage and tomato soup with rice
- 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.