This recipe is traditionally made with ground turkey, but any ground meat is excellent here. Choose a broth appropriate to your choice of meat–chicken broth with poultry or beef with lamb or beef (or not). Of course you could use cubed tempeh or tofu here in place of the meatballs. Don’t skip the sweetener, it adds an intriguing dimension to the cabbage.

1 T olive or other oil
12 c coarsely chopped cabbage
2 T maple syrup, agave syrup, brown rice syrup or other sweetener
3/4 lb ground meat
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 t dried dill or other herb
8 c broth
2 bay leaves

1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cabbage and sauté for a couple of minutes, until the cabbage starts to release some liquid. Reduce heat to low and stir in the maple syrup. Simmer, uncovered, until the cabbage is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine the ground meat, salt, pepper, and dried herb. Wet your hands and shape the mixture into small balls, say gum ball-size. Put on a plate as you make them, then refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Add the broth and bay leaves to the cabbage. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

4. Drop the meatballs into the soup, a few at a time, so they don’t stick together, gently stir a couple of times, then simmer 5 to 10 minutes, until they are no longer pink inside. Remove bay leaves, season with more salt and pepper, and serve.