Spring is almost here! Unfortunately, even as it is still snowing, the pudge has built up and either our clothes have shrunk or it’s time to clean up and shed the winter fat layer.
Prime time to detox! Fortunately, it’s cabbage to the rescue with this delicious low-calorie, low-fat and nutrient dense cabbage soup, chock full of cancer-fighting properties and importantly, flavor.
This recipe is based on one my grandmother apparently learned from her grandmother, making it a definite old country favorite. Since these recipes were highly variable from person to person, region to region, feel free to adapt to your preferences.
1 Cabbage – small-medium head, shredded or chopped
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tbsp olive or other organic oil
1 large and 1 small can of organic whole peeled tomatoes, chopped (can substitute pre-diced or fire-roasted)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. hot red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tbsp. chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I like the flakes)
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
2 tsps. thyme or Italian seasoning
1 tsp. basil (fresh if available)
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups raisins (optional)
6 cups water (can use some tomato juice or vegetable broth for some of the water)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1. Saute the Onions, Garlic, Pepper and Cabbage. Cook chopped onion, garlic and pepper with 1-2 tbsp. oil in large pot until soft and translucent. Add shredded/chopped cabbage, cook for 3 minutes and cover, cooking another 5 minutes. Vegetables should be soft but not browned.
2. Season. Add the cumin seeds to the cooked onion and cabbage, allowing to release their flavor. Add the canned tomatoes along with their juice. Add remaining seasonings except salt, including chili flakes to taste along with 1 cup of the liquid. Cook uncovered for 3-5 minutes to allow flavors to blend, stirring to prevent burning. Add raisins if using.
3. Simmer. Add remaining liquid plus lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add salt and reduce heat to low-medium. Simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes. Adjust seasonings, adding more liquid if necessary. Some people add 1 tbsp. of sugar to balance flavors but we usually omit – your choice.
4. Serve. Serve hot. Flavor will taste better the next day as the soup has a chance to sit.
NOTE: We usually make an extra large pot using the same proportions and by day 4 of eating it, never want to see it again, which is when it goes into the freezer to be enjoyed a month or two later.