Zelnečka: Czech Cabbage Soup (with Vegan option)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This hearty Czech soup will keep you warm all winter long. It tastes smokey, paprika, tangy and just plain scrumptious! For a vegan version check the "Notes" section.
Recipe type: soup, stew,
Cuisine: Czech, European
Serves: 4-6
  • One 500 g or 1 lb. package of sauerkraut (jarred may also be used)
  • 2 klobasa sausages, cut into bite-size slices or pieces*
  • 1 extra large potato, peeled and cubed or cut into even-sized pieces
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 large dried bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp whole caraway seed
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • large pinch of ground cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 liter or 4 cups of water**
  • smetana or sour cream to top soup
  1. Drain the sauerkraut, then place in a large bowl and cover with water, set aside. In a large pot heat the oil, add the onion and potatoes and saute until the potatoes are soft and onion translucent. Next add the sausage and garlic, cook for another 3 minutes. If the sausage releases a lot of oil drain most of it out. Add the bay leaf and caraway seed to the pot, cook for 2 minutes. Next add the smoked paprika, cayenne, black pepper and water, give the ingredients a stir.
  2. Drain the sauerkraut and add to the pot -- gently to prevent splashing. Cover and simmer the soup for 45 minutes or as long as desired. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.
*If Czech klobasa is not available, then substitute with other paprika spiced sausage or Polish kielbasa. If a paprika based sausage is not available, please add one more tablespoon of paprika to the pot.

**Instead of water you may use either vegetable or chicken broth for more flavour.

!Make it vegan:
To make this soup vegan/vegetarian replace the klobasa with a vegetarian sausage. You will also need to add the extra tablespoon of paprika, in total using three tablespoons. Instead of sour cream you can use a vegetarian cream or yogurt.
Recipe by Spicie Foodie ™ at https://www.spiciefoodie.com/2014/01/08/zelnecka-czech-cabbage-soup-with-vegan-option/