Monday, October 24, 2011

Homemade Zelňačka (Czech/German Cabbage Soup)

How is your October Unprocessed going?  I have to admit, I am not doing as well as last year.  I haven been skimping on really fun and complex meals like I had last year and just relying on a bunch 'o fruit and veggies.  Last year I had my sister and her husband to cook with because I was living with them and it was easier to create really dynamic meals because I wasn't just cooking for one person! When I am just providing for myself, I have to admit I get a little lazy. 

Also, full disclosure, because I was getting sick every time that I ate before October started, I did cheat a couple of times.  Don't hate me Andrew!  

This past Thursday I went to my sister's house for a sleepover, and her husband taught me how to make Zelňačka, which is a super awesome cabbage soup!  I had asked him for the recipe before, but it makes even more sense just to see it step by step because the recipe is not exact. I really like the idea of the recipe being passed down through generations.  Honza is from Czech Republic and said that his mother almost fainted when he told her that he used coconut milk to make the Zelňačka vegan!  

I am going to share this awesome Sauerkraut soup recipe with you now...step by step!

1. Gather Ingredients:
~Sauerkraut (homemade or in a can, both work fine)
~potatoes (we used red)
~1 can coconut milk
~bay leaves
~sea salt
~caraway seeds
~all spice
~raw sugar, agave or honey as a sweetener

 2. Gather two pots and a cutting board, as well as a strainer. Fill one pot with water and put on high (you will be cooking potatoes in this pot, the other one will be used to create the soup.) Also grab a mesh tea ball if you have one, this comes in handy for seasoning the kraut. 
 3. Put Sauerkraut in Large stockpot and add enough water so that Sauerkraut is covered.  Heat over Medium. 
 4. While Sauerkraut is cooking, roughly chop potatoes.  You can leave the skins on: there are great nutrients in potato skins that you don't want to miss out on, plus they are yummy!
 5. Add potatoes to boiling water and add a few pinches of caraway seeds.  Boil potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork.  
6. Use a tea ball if you have one, or just put the spices right in (although this is more annoying b/c you will want to sift them out before serving.)  In the tea ball you want to put various peppercorns and all spice.  Some Zelňačka recipes call for paprika, so you can add that if you like. Place the tea ball and a few bay leaves into the sauerkraut to season.  Add sea salt to taste. 
 7. Strain potatoes and save the water.  You can do this by just straining it over a pot.  You will want to use that water to add to the soup because it is nice and seasoned with the caraway seeds. 

8. Add potatoes to soup and add extra water to cover the potatoes and sauerkraut. 
 9. Slowly add coconut milk to soup while stirring. Let this cook over Medium Low for about 5 minutes. 
 10. Taste!  This is an important step.  Most likely the soup will taste pretty vinegary and you will want to add sweetener.  We added sugar in the raw, a couple of pinches and tasted in between until it was exactly the way we wanted it!
 11. Enjoy!  I recommended serving with bread.  We also had Honza's homemade beer with our meal.  So tasty! 
 ~Honza packed up some extra for me to bring to work.  The soup is even better the day after because all of the tastes really liven as the soup sits.~
Happy cooking! 


  1. Yum! I love sauerkraut, I will have to try this!



  2. Let me know if you like it! I think it is awesome!