Hearty Cabbage and Meatball Soup

Hearty Cabbage and Meatball Soup: This hearty main-course soup made with beef meatballs, cabbage and tomatoes has flavors reminiscent of Hungarian stuffed cabbage.

Similar in taste to Hungarian-Style Stuffed Cabbage, this hearty soup is made with beef meatballs, chopped cabbage, tomatoes and broad egg noodles. It only takes a little over an hour to prepare, but if you can, make it a day in advance to give the flavors extra time to develop. Served with a green salad, it makes for a satisfying meal.

Hearty Cabbage and Meatball Soup

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 medium head green cabbage (about 1-1/2 lbs), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can (15-ounce) diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 2-1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3-1/2 cups low-sodium tomato juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 ounces broad egg noodles, cooked and drained
  • For the meatballs:
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup soft breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Make the meatballs first. Place the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and onion in a large bowl. Combine thoroughly and form into 1-inch diameter meatballs.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook until lightly browned on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Discard any fat remaining from the meatballs, add the olive oil to the pan and heat on a medium setting. Add half of the chopped cabbage and cook, stirring frequently, until the cabbage is soft and wilted, about 6 minutes. Add the paprika and some freshly ground black pepper along with the remaining cabbage and continue cooking until all of the cabbage is tender, about 6 to 8 minutes longer.

Stir in the tomatoes, beef broth, tomato juice, Worcestershire, vinegar and sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer, add the meatballs, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 45 to 50 minutes.

To serve, place a portion of egg noodles in the bottom of individual serving bowls and ladle the soup over top. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.

Recipe Notes:
You may notice that the only salt in our ingredient list is a small amount in the meatball mixture. This isn't an oversight though. Even the low-sodium varieties of tomato juice and beef broth can be rather salty, so it's best to be cautious when adding salt. We do however, go rather heavy with the quantity of black pepper we add to this soup. We really like the little bite that it adds to the cabbage. Experiment and do what suits your taste.

comments & replies

I made this soup (with slight variations) and I and family must say it is the best I've ever made. I browned the beef in my Presto Cooker, removed it and sauteed a large onion with celery, green bell pepper, and a little garlic, and then added Worcestershire, diced tomato's, beef bullion, 1/2 a small can of tomato sauce, paprika and plenty of black pepper plus additional water to cover. Brought it to a boil and then simmered for several hours. Unplugged and put the covered Presto (after cooling a bit) in the Fridge. Next day added raw cabbage and uncooked noodles and plenty of water to cover, brought to a boil and then simmered till cabbage and noodle were tender. A really hearty soup. I make a fantastic chicken noodle soup but it doesn't come close to this soup.

Made this soup this evening, but not as soupy as the recipe suggested. Used ground pork, because that's what I had, and savoy cabbage. It rocks. I used all tomato leftovers in my fridge and a can of stewed tomatoes. My husband and I loved it and we'll have leftovers for another couple of meals. This is just the flavor I remember from my childhood of my grandmother's stuffed cabbage and half or a third of the work. Thanks for coming up with this.

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