by Olena

Cabbage Soup (Russian Shchi)

by Olena

5 from 3 reviews

Savory Cabbage Soup with beef ribs, potatoes, fresh cabbage or sauerkraut known as Russian Shchi. Served with sour cream or yogurt, dill and bread.

Cabbage Soup

Cabbage Soup Recipe

Cabbage soup or also known as Russian shchi. Basically, a tomato less version of famous borscht.

This cabbage soup recipe uses simple ingredients like potatoes, cabbage and possibly sauerkraut because that is what Eastern Europeans managed to store in the cellar during winter. Often meat was a luxury as well.

Cabbage Soup in red pot with laddle

This beef cabbage soup is supposed to be sour and a bit salty, so don’t skimp on salt. If you are worried about your sodium intake, eat a salt free breakfast.

Flavor is built on cabbage or sauerkraut, veggies and meat, and then fresh dill and sour cream “help out” at the end. Easy, cheap and the best!

Cabbage Soup with beef, potatoes and garnished with dill

How to Make Cabbage Soup

  • Prep: Most prep for healthy cabbage soup is chopping veggies. I usually do so while stock is coming to the boil and then cooking in next 2 steps. Cabbage soup is a layering process. beef ribs in pot with water and bay leaves
  • Make broth: Bring beef bones with cold water and bay leaves to a boil. Once liquid starts boiling, skim foam with a fine mesh strainer until broth is clear. Then add peppercorns and let it simmer for half an hour.skimming foam with a mesh strainer from broth
  • Saute veggies: While beef broth is simmering away, first cook the onion, then shredded carrots and cook for a few minutes each. At the end stir in tomato paste and turn off the heat. “Zazharka” is ready.sauteed onion and carrots and tomato paste in white skillet and wooden spoon
  • Cook soup: Add cabbage, potatoes, sauteed veggies, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cover to cook for 15 minutes. cooked beef ribs on cutting board with a knife
  • Chop meat and season soup: Remove bones to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves and peppercorns. Then chop meat using fork and a knife and return it to the pot, along with bones if you have bone lovers. Add vinegar and dill. That’s it!

Cabbage Soup recipe in red pot with laddle

Serving, Tips and Variations

  • Serving: In Russia and Ukraine, cabbage and beef soup is usually served with sour cream, rye bread and more dill. We, personally, like no sour cream and appreciate the sourness of this soup.
  • Vegan: You can make vegan cabbage soup by omitting meat and using mushroom stock.
  • Other meat: Chicken or pork cuts of meat with bones like drumsticks, thighs or ribs can be used. Bones and dark meat add flavor.
  • Sauerkraut: Often Russian cabbage soup is made with all or at least half sauerkraut. To do so, I recommend to rinse and drain at least some to reduce sodium content. Also skip salt and vinegar for now, adjust at the end. Add sauerkraut to broth after you skimmed the foam. You can also season soup with some of sauerkraut juice at the end.
  • Fresh tomato: Instead of tomato paste, you can use diced small tomato. It is all mostly for colour, anyways.

Cabbage Beef Soup in green bowl, spoon and bun

  • Mushrooms: If you have dried or fresh flavorful wild or at least brown mushrooms, saute a handful after carrots. This would add nice flavour to vegan soup especially.
  • Instant Pot: Reduce water to 8 cups or even less not to go over 2/3 full mark. Also use less salt to taste. Add all ingredients to the pot and cook on High Pressure for 10 minutes, then wait 15 minutes before releasing remaining pressure (prevents splatters). You do not have to saute veggies as they come out more flavorful in a pressure cooker, but if you wish you can do so right in Instant Pot first. It is definitely convenient to walk away and don’t have to skim foam and add ingredients in stages.
  • Slow cooker: Saute veggies, then add all ingredients to large slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on High or 8 hours on Low.

How to Store, Freeze and Reheat

Storing: Refrigerate cabbage soup in a pot you cooked it in (if you have room) or airtight container for up to 5 days. Because it consists mostly of sturdy veggies and meat, no ingredients will get soggy here.

Reheating: Reheat by simmering on low in small pot only amount you are planning to consume.

Freezing: Freeze in an airtight glass container for up to 3 months. Then thaw on a counter overnight and reheat.

More Soup Recipes

Cabbage Soup in a bowl

Cabbage Soup Recipe

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Cabbage Soup (Russian Shchi)

cabbage soup russian shchi

5 from 3 reviews

Savory Cabbage Soup with beef ribs, potatoes, fresh cabbage or sauerkraut known as Russian Shchi. Served with sour cream or yogurt, dill and bread.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup and Stew
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Russian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef ribs or soup bones
  • 12 cups cold water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 1.5 lbs (5 cups) shredded cabbage
  • 1 lb (4 large) potatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp oil, for frying
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste, low sodium
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp white or apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • Sour cream or yogurt, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large pot (I use 6 quart Dutch oven), add beef, water, bay leaves and bring to a boil.
  2. In the meanwhile, begin to wash, peel and cut vegetables.
  3. Once broth is boiling, start skimming the foam with mesh strainer until clear. Reduce heat to low, add peppercorns, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. In the meanwhile, preheat large skillet on medium heat and swirl 1 tbsp of oil to coat. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add carrots and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste, stir until combined and turn off heat.
  6. Transfer sauteed veggies to a pot along with cabbage, potatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Cover, bring to a boil and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
  7. Turn off heat, remove beef bones on a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes.
  8. Discard bay leaves and peppercorns. Add vinegar, dill and stir.
  9. Remove meat from bones, chop (I usually use fork and a knife) and return to the pot (along with bones, if you wish). Adjust any seasonings to taste, if necessary.
  10. Serve hot with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, if you wish. More dill in bowls is great too.

Refrigerate cabbage soup in a large pot you cooked it in for up to 5 days.

Reheat by simmering on low in small pot only amount you are planning to consume.

Freeze in an airtight glass container for up to 3 months. Then thaw on a counter overnight and reheat.

Notes

  • Vegan: You can make vegan cabbage soup by omitting meat and using mushroom stock.
  • Other meat: Chicken or pork cuts of meat with bones like drumsticks, thighs or ribs can be used. Bones and dark meat add flavor.
  • Sauerkraut: Often Russian cabbage soup is made with all or at least half sauerkraut. To do so, I recommend to rinse and drain at least some to reduce sodium content. Also skip salt and vinegar for now, adjust at the end. Add sauerkraut to broth after you skimmed the foam. You can also season soup with some of sauerkraut juice at the end.
  • Fresh tomato: Instead of tomato paste, you can use diced small tomato. It is all mostly for colour, anyways.
  • Mushrooms: If you have dried or fresh flavorful wild or at least brown mushrooms, saute a handful after carrots. This would add nice flavour to vegan soup especially.
  • Instant Pot: Reduce water to 8 cups or even less not to go over 2/3 full mark. Also use less salt to taste. Add all ingredients to the pot and cook on High Pressure for 10 minutes, then wait 15 minutes before releasing remaining pressure (prevents splatters). You do not have to saute veggies as they come out more flavorful in a pressure cooker, but if you wish you can do so right in Instant Pot first. It is definitely convenient to walk away and don’t have to skim foam and add ingredients in stages.
  • Slow cooker: Saute veggies, then add all ingredients to large slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on High or 8 hours on Low.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

10 comments on “Cabbage Soup (Russian Shchi)

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  1. We really enjoyed the soup. One Question though. When making it in the Instant Pot, do you recommend reducing the amount of water. I was only able to get 8 cups water in before my pot was to it’s limit and I have the middle size. Seemed like there was plenty of liquid when done. Great recipe though! Thanks.

    1. Yes, I completely forgot about less water. Will fix that, sorry! 8 cups is the right amount. You can add less if you would like thicker soup. And probably less salt as well.

  2. Made this soup this morning, so easy quick, once the cabbage was shredded.
    I Love this soup!! So healthy and delicious, kids love it as well.

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