Ukrainian Sauerkraut Soup (Kapusnyak)
February 14, 2024
By Elizabeth Palmer Califano

This vegetarian spin on a classic Ukrainian comfort food dish is just the thing to make when the weather turns cold and dark. Mushrooms take the place of traditional pork, delivering a satisfyingly ‘meaty’ taste, while also providing a needed winter boost of vitamin D. Sauerkraut, an Eastern European mainstay made of fermented cabbage, offers a rich source of probiotics, which give your immune system the help it needs to fight off all those cold weather germs. Just be sure not to boil or heat the soup once you add the sauerkraut, as intense heat destroys all those beneficial probiotics we want to preserve. Cabbage, along with the beans, adds satiating fiber to this dish. Serve alongside your favorite crusty brown bread, for a health-boosting dish you’ll want to enjoy all season long. 

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer
Total Time: 40 minutes ( 15 minutes active time)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms 
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced potatoes
  • 1 cup cooked white beans
  • 1 quart vegetable broth (plus an additional cup to taste, if desired)
  • 4 cups sauerkraut, rinsed and drained (save some of the juice for seasoning at the end, if desired)
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh dill and parsley, to garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, and sauté with a pinch of salt until they begin to turn golden, about 6-8 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté for another  5 minutes until softened and golden. 
  2. Add the carrots, potatoes, and vegetable broth, along with a pinch of salt and pepper, and bring up to a simmer. Cover with a lid, and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the carrots and potatoes are fork tender. Add the beans and stir to combine.
  3. Off the heat, gently stir in the sauerkraut and sour cream. Let stand for a few minutes to allow the heat from the broth to warm the sauerkraut. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add a splash of the sauerkraut liquid for a bit more of a zesty flavor, if desired. 
  4. Garnish with parsley and/or dill, and enjoy.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Palmer Califano
Elizabeth is a graduate of Hamilton College and The French Culinary Institute, as well as an avid world traveler and dinner party hostess. For more information, visit her website: www.elizabethpalmerkitchen.com