Traditional Russian Cabbage Soup (Shchi)

Russian cabbage soup
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  • Total: 55 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
218 Calories
6g Fat
33g Carbs
11g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 218
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 4g 19%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 753mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 8g 29%
Protein 11g
Calcium 141mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Fresh cabbage soup or shchi is one of the national dishes of Russia. When the soup is made with sauerkraut it is known as sour shchi or kislye shchi, and when it is made with sorrel, spinach, and other greens, it's known as green shchi or zelyoniye shchi.

As with most dishes, the recipes vary from cook to cook and from region to region. This cabbage soup recipe is meatless and contains no sauerkraut. It's a mild but hearty vegetarian soup with fresh cabbage, potatoes, and tomatoes. Use vegetable broth for a richer flavor and top with fresh dill and sour cream. Serve with rye bread for a filling lunch or dinner or serve as the first course of a winter menu.


  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) butter
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 large head cabbage (cut into shreds)
  • 1 large carrot (peeled and coarsely grated)
  • 1 rib celery (chopped)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Black peppercorns (to taste)
  • 8 cups water (or vegetable stock)
  • 2 large russet potatoes (peeled and coarsely chopped)
  • 2 large tomatoes (peeled, seeded, and chopped; or a 14-ounce can undrained diced tomatoes)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Garnish: fresh dill, sour cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add the butter to a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté the onion until translucent.

  3. Add the shredded cabbage, grated carrot, and chopped celery. Sauté about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

  4. Add the bay leaf and black peppercorns. Pour over the water or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

  5. Add the peeled and coarsely chopped potatoes to soup and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

  6. Add the chopped fresh tomatoes or undrained canned tomatoes and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  7. Remove the bay leaf and peppercorns from the pot (some cooks leave the peppercorns in). Serve soup topped with fresh dill and sour cream.


  • A typical Russian meal starts with zakuski (appetizers), moves on to a hearty bowl of soup, proceeds to an equally hearty main course, and finishes with a not-too-sweet dessert. Soup is, or traditionally used to be, consumed on a daily basis in Russia, explaining the seemingly endless varieties.
  • Along with shchi, the most popular and traditional Russian soups include rassolnik (kidney-pickle soup), borscht (beet soup), botvinia (fish soup with green vegetables), solyanka (hangover soup), kharcho (Georgian lamb and rice soup), ukha (fish soup), sukhoi gribnoi (mushroom soup), okroshka (cold vegetable soup with meat), and schav (sorrel soup).