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Unstuffed Hungarian Cabbage Roll Soup

Growing up, my grandmother’s cabbage rolls were a favorite dish on her dinner table. With a large family to feed, she could feed all of her seven children fairly inexpensively with ingredients from the family garden. Unlike my version, most of her ingredients would have been homegrown and preserved. Her meat would be chosen from what she had on hand that my grandfather had slaughtered, and her spices would probably have been limited primarily to salt and pepper. But she always included rice in her cabbage rolls unlike many recipes you might find.

Using her ideas, I turned her cabbage rolls into an easily-prepared soup which, honestly, we prefer over the rolls. Hearty and filling, it makes a complete meal when paired with your favorite cornbread or crackers.

The De Nigris Apple Cider Vinegar splash really perks up the flavor, and I encourage you not to skip it. We like to garnish it with some shaved parmesan and a sprinkle of flat-leaf parsley.

Unstuffed Hungarian Cabbage Roll Soup


  • 2 Tablespoons Riceland Rice Bran Oil
  • 1 32-ounce package Italian style frozen meatballs
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage
  • 1 32-ounce package unsalted beef stock
  • 3 cups spicy V-8 Juice (substitute regular)
  • 6-8 ounces chili sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or salt substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika (substitute smoked paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups prepared Riceland Long Grain Gold Perfected Rice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons DeNigris Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Water, if needed
  • Shaved parmesans and minced parsley as garnish, if desired


  1. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat Riceland Rice Bran Oil over medium-high heat. Add in frozen meatballs and brown on all sides; remove to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.
  2. Add onion to Dutch oven and sauté until softened, about 5-8 minutes. Add in minced garlic and sauté until softened.
  3. Add chopped cabbage to onion mixture and sauté just until slightly softened. Return meatballs to Dutch oven.
  4. Pour beef stock, V-8 and chili sauce over it all.
  5. Add in all remaining ingredients except rice and vinegar. (The soup may be transferred to a slow cooker at this point, if desired.)
  6. Cover the soup pot and simmer 25-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before serving stir in cooked rice.
  7. If soup is too thick, add in water as needed
  8. Remove soup from heat and stir in vinegar. Adjust seasonings.
  9. Let the soup rest 10 minutes and remove bay leaves before serving. 

Post by The Women Bloggers member Debbie Arnold of DiningwithDebbie.