Vegetarian Cabbage Roll Soup and General Soup Musings

“A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting.”
Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow was, in my humble opinion, a brilliant man.  His well-known Hierarchy of Needs is studied in psychology and sociology classes throughout the world for good reason.  The man knew a few things about human beings – and clearly he knew a few things about soup.

This quote from Maslow speaks so wonderfully to his philosophy, I think, as well as to my own.  Producing good food, even if (perhaps especially if) it is simple food – can be a wonderfully creative act.  There are infinite possibilities with soup and they can result in a work of art – or an all out culinary disaster.  And, as anyone who believes in Maslow’s theory about human needs knows, we must first be fed and nourished satisfactorily before we can transcend to greater levels of enlightenment and creativity.

Well fed bodies are the foundation for well fed minds, so to speak.

I also love this Maslow quote because it specifically calls out soup.  Soup is one of my favorite foods to eat.  Soup has the potential, when done well, to provide me with a particular kind of satisfaction that I always long for, whether I realize it at that moment or not.

When all is not well with the world – give me a good bowl of soup and I will at the very least feel comforted.  When all IS well with the world – well give me a good bowl of soup and it will only be better!

The soup I present to you here is hearty and bright with the acidity from the sauerkraut.  It’s a twist on a classic Eastern European dish – updated to nourish the healthy-minded.  I also adapted the original recipe (found at the link below) to fit a vegetarian diet.

While I found the soup to be very satisfying on its own, I served it alongside some roasted cabbage slices (a simple, but absolutely delicious side dish) and a small loaf of onion-dill potato bread made locally.

Mmmm.  I wish I still had leftovers.


“Soup is cuisine’s kindest course.  It breathes reassurance; it steams consolation; after a weary day it promotes sociability, as the five o’clock cup of tea or the cocktail hour.”
Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’ (1949)


Vegetarian Cabbage Roll Soup

Adapted from

Makes about 7.5 cups of soup


12 oz Smart Ground Original Veggie Protein Crumbles (or brand of your choice)

1 tblspn olive oil

1 medium white onion (chopped)

2-3 cloves garlic (minced)

½ cup uncooked brown rice

3 cups vegetable broth

28 oz canned, diced tomatoes

2 cups sauerkraut, with liquid

1 tblspn Hungarian paprika

½ tspn red pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

1 tspn salt

** Optional toppings/add-ins for serving: lemon juice, chopped Italian parsley


  1. Warm olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat.  Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to turn translucent (about 7-8 minutes).
  2. Add garlic to pot and cook, stirring frequently so garlic doesn’t burn, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the rice and veggie protein crumbles.  Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add vegetable broth, tomatoes, sauerkraut, paprika, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, and salt.  Stir to mix well.  Bring to a boil.  Then reduce heat and let simmer (uncovered) for approximately 40 minutes, or until your rice is tender and some of the broth has evaporated, making a thicker soup. Taste to adjust seasonings.  Remove bay leaves and serve.

Roasted Cabbage Slices


1 small or ½ large head of green cabbage

2 tblspns lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 tblspn olive oil

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Cut cabbage into slices approximately ½ inch thick (You can do them thicker if you like.  I prefer them on the thinner side because they crisp up a bit more – and I love crispy, charred vegetables!).  Arrange slices on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice.  Brush or drizzle half of the mixture onto one side of the cabbage.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Turn and repeat on second side.
  4. Roast for about 25 minutes, flipping cabbage slices once halfway through.

3 comments on “Vegetarian Cabbage Roll Soup and General Soup Musings

  1. Joanne says:

    I feel the same way about soup! It calms me in a way that few other soups can. This one looks seriously comforting.

    • Joanne – it definitely was seriously comforting! Its one of those that I don’t mind eating even when it is hot and sunny, because it still makes me feel good.

  2. T Hollis says:

    I love soup! It warms me from the inside out!
    Thanks for stopping by my Post today!

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