There are many vegan cabbage soup recipes, but this Hungarian version is flavored with a generous amount of smoked sweet paprika powder and vegan sour cream. Besides a large head of cabbage, it has potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and vegan sausages. This soup is very satisfying and comforting, perfect for fall to warm you up.
We have many vegan cabbage recipes including soups like this Mediterranean cabbage sweet potato soup recipe, stir-fries like this Thai glass noodles stir-fry recipe, or rice paper rolls that are filled with shredded cabbage like these vegan egg rolls.
What kind of cabbage soup it is?
Have you heard of the traditional Polish cabbage soup (“Kapuśniak”) or the authentic Russian cabbage soup (“Shchi”)? These recipes use sauerkraut (aka fermented cabbage) and not fresh cabbage, but the flavor profile is similar since they also have cumin and sweet paprika powder.
Our recipe is closer to the German cabbage soup (“Kohlsuppe”) or the Croatian cabbage soup since both use fresh cabbage. But the German recipe is a thick potato soup with a bit of cabbage and uses heavy cream instead of sour cream.
Well, Hungarians call this recipe Frankfurter Cabbage Soup. But I don’t think any other nations use this name. It is the most popular Hungarian cabbage soup. Traditionally, you make it with German Frankfurter sausages, hence the name. But in this vegan version, we used meatless sausages. If you are interested, we have more Hungarian recipes like lecsó and goulash.
I call a soup comforting, hearty, and filling if it has lots of veggies. To make this vegan cabbage soup, here is what you need. There is nothing fancy or hard to get.
- Cabbage → You either use savoy cabbage or green cabbage. We especially do not recommend using purple cabbage.
- Onion → No leeks, shallots, or scallions. You need red or yellow onion.
- Carrot → Choose young carrots since they are sweeter than large carrots.
- Hungarian wax pepper → The authentic dish is made of this type, or banana pepper (the sweet kind). If you can’t find those in stores, you can substitute them for yellow or red bell peppers. You just need to cook the soup longer, as they tend to be thicker than a wax pepper.
- Sour cream → It tastes the best if you add sour cream. You can use brands like Tofutti. This soup is also perfect and tasty as a simple cabbage vegetable soup without it. If you don’t want to add any processed ingredients, you can keep it as a plant-based cabbage soup.
- Sweet Hungarian paprika* or other sweet smoked paprika powder
- Caraway seeds → These seeds are not the same as ground cumin.
- Sausages → Use your favorite brand. Make sure you only add them at the very end, since some brands tend to fall apart in soups, especially homemade ones.
- Vegetable broth
🛒 You can find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Preparing the ingredients
- Tear out the larger outer leaves of the cabbage and cut them into shreds. If you are unsure how to shred cabbage, I added a quick step-by-step guide to our vegan coleslaw recipe.
- Wash, peel, and dice potatoes.
- Wash, peel, and slice carrots and parsnips.
- Peel and finely chop onion and garlic.
- Wash and chop tomatoes and yellow peppers.
Making vegetarian cabbage soup
- Take a stockpot or large pot and heat it over medium heat. Add oil and sauté chopped onion and garlic.
- Add chopped tomato and yellow pepper. Stir and cook for a minute.
- Add sliced carrots and parsnips. Stir and let them cook for 5 minutes before adding the spices (salt, black pepper, and sweet paprika powder)
- Next, is the veggie broth. Simmer the soup until carrots and parsnips get softer (not entirely fork tender yet).
- Now, add diced potatoes and shredded or chopped cabbage.
- Cook the soup until the potatoes are soft, and the cabbage pieces are wilted. (see the below photo for reference)
- Finally, add your favorite pre-cooked sausages to warm them up in 2-3 minutes. Your hearty vegan cabbage soup is almost ready now!
Adding vegan sour cream
You would not want to miss out on making this vegan cabbage soup creamy, right? One thing you need to remember, though. You can’t just add any sour cream to any hot soup, as it may curdle. So how to do it correctly?
- Take a small bowl and add sour cream.
- Then, take some liquid from the hot soup and add it to the bowl.
- Stir it well to warm up the sour cream.
- Now, you can add this mix to the hot soup. Simmer it on low heat for 2-3 minutes and the soup is ready to be served! Enjoy!
Tips to make the perfect dish
- Chop vegetables evenly – We added carrots and parsnip first as they need the most time to be cooked, then potatoes. They will cook more evenly if all veggies have the same size.
- Chop vegetables smaller – If you prefer to reduce the cooking time, you can cut the potatoes smaller and slice the carrots thinner.
- How spicy should it be? – Depending on how spicy you prefer your soup, you can add chili powder, red pepper flakes, or freshly chopped raw chili peppers. In Hungary, we use Erős Pista* which is spicy paprika purée. You will only need a pinch for one serving.
What to serve with it?
If you’d like to keep it authentic, the only side Hungarians pair this soup with is bread. We use the bread slices to dunk them in the soup and eat it like that. You can sprinkle it with fresh parsley before serving.
FAQs and substitutions
What other veggies can you add?
I would add maybe a bit of celery or mushroom, or other root vegetables like rutabaga or celeriac (celery root)—nothing sweet though like pumpkin or sweet potato. Those will tamper with the flavors too much.
You can also try adding chickpeas or white beans. They are not really authentic ingredients, but if you don’t have or don’t want to add sausages, you can still have some extra protein in the soup.
Can you use red cabbage instead?
Maybe. The taste will be the same, but it will turn your vegan cabbage soup purple. It just won’t look appetizing.
Can you use canned coconut cream?
Not really. Sour cream is tangy, while coconut cream is just too sweet to use in this recipe. It would also clash with the spices.
If I am a vegetarian, can I use (dairy) sour cream?
Sure you can. Follow the instructions without any change.
How to store it?
You can store this cabbage soup in an airtight container in your fridge for 3-4 days without a problem. Actually, this soup tastes the best the next day.
Is it freezer-friendly?
Yes, you can. And we did it plenty of times. But I usually don’t recommend freezing any meals with potatoes in them, especially if you expect to have the texture intact. In our experience, thawing potatoes after they were frozen results in a much softer and mushier texture.
Can you reheat it?
Sure, whether you choose to reheat it in a stockpot or in the microwave, start on low heat. If you bring it to a boil too fast, the cream in the soup might curdle.
Can you make it in an Instant Pot?
Probably yes, but I don’t have any type of pressure cooker, so I cannot give you proper instructions.
This Vegan Cabbage Soup recipe is meat-free, dairy-free, and egg-free.
- Vegan – Choose vegan sour cream and vegan sausages, but other than that all suggested ingredients are vegan.
- Nut-free – Choose nut-free vegan sour cream and sausage. In any event, always check the labels for cross-contamination for whatever product you buy.
- WFPB-friendly (whole foods plant-based) – You can make this cabbage soup recipe oil-free if you cook all vegetables directly in veggie broth. You either skip the sour cream and the sausages or choose oil-free and compliant products.
- Gluten-free – All recommended ingredients are supposed to be gluten-free, but always check the packaging for cross-contamination info, especially for sour cream and sausages.
- Soy-free – A lot of vegan sour cream and meatless sausage products use soy as their main ingredient, so check the packaging. All other ingredients are supposed to be soy-free.
More vegan cabbage recipes
Find your favorite vegan cabbage recipe here, or check out these:
More vegan soup recipes
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Vegan Cabbage Soup (Hungarian)
- 1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
- 1 Onion (medium)
- 3-4 cloves Garlic
- 2 Tomatoes (medium)
- ½ Pepper
- 2 Carrots (medium)
- 1 Parsnip
- 3 Potatoes (medium)
- ½ head Cabbage
- 8 cup Veggie broth
- 1 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika powder
- ½ tsp Ground caraway seeds
- 5 oz Vegan sour cream 150 g – optional
- 7 oz Vegan sausages 200 g – optional
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Preparing the veggies
- Tear out the larger outer leaves of the cabbage and cut them into shreds. If you are unsure how to shred cabbage, I added a quick step-by-step guide to our easy vegan coleslaw recipe.
- Wash all other veggies. Peel and finely chop onion and garlic. Peel and dice potatoes. Peel and slice carrots and parsnip. Chop tomatoes and yellow bell pepper.
Making cabbage soup
- Take a stockpot and heat it over medium heat. Add oil and sauté diced onions and garlic.
- Add chopped tomato and yellow pepper. Stir.
- Add sliced carrots and parsnip and stir. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add spices (salt, pepper, and sweet paprika powder) and veggie broth. Cook it until carrots and parsnip are softer (but not fork tender).
- Add diced potatoes and shredded cabbage. Cook until the potatoes are soft, and the cabbage pieces are wilted.
- Finally, add pre-cooked sausages to warm them up for 2-3 minutes. Ready to serve!
Adding vegan sour cream
- You can’t just add any sour cream to any hot soup, as it may curdle. You need to take a small bowl and add sour cream there.
- Take some from the liquid of the hot soup and pour it on the sour cream. Stir well.
- Now, you can add this mix back to the hot soup. Cook for 2-3 minutes and the soup is ready to be served! Enjoy!
UPDATED: This recipe was originally published in August 2019. More tips, info, and details have been added, and it was republished in October 2022.