SF Food Bank Hunger Challenge: Cabbage and Rice Soup


Here’s the first official recipe for the San Francisco Food Bank Hunger Challenge. I’m trying as much as possible to use the commonly available food bank ingredients listed here at the bottom of the page. This simple soup is inspired by one of Marcella Hazan’s that includes rice and escarole and little else. I’ve upped the onions and added carrots and used a bouillon cube instead of homemade stock. This recipe comes in at 54 cents per serving, but the servings are small and you’re going to need some bread and perhaps a piece of fruit for dessert so there’s your $1 per person per meal. This really isn’t easy. Though the nutrients are fairly balanced, there’s not enough protein in this meal and a person doing physical labor is likely going to want more to eat than this.

Cabbage and Rice Soup
Serves 4

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrots (about 1 medium carrot)
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 cups chopped green cabbage
4 cups water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/3 cup white rice
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for serving

In a medium pot, over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots and cabbage along with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is wilted. Add the water and the bouillon cube and stir to dissolve. Bring to a simmer and add the rice. Cover partially, and cook for 15 minutes until the rice is cooked through. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately with a little Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Though I’m not formerly doing the 3-meal a day challenge for the entire week, here’s what else I’m eating today to stay within the $1 a meal framework

Breakfast: Oatmeal made with regular rolled oats and a 1/4 cup of raisins with a tiny bit of brown sugar.

Lunch: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich and carrot sticks

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  1. Posted September 22, 2008 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Not glamorous, but your soup sounds very satisfying. I ended up calculating the cost of each Tablespoon of Parmesan cheese to stay on budget. Peanut butter sandwiches and oatmeal also figured heavily into my menu.

  2. Posted September 22, 2008 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    That soup recipe sounds good, and it reminds me of a Zuni recipe I’ve made a couple of times, with rice and asparagus. I’m doing a program at a low income elementary school, teaching families to eat healhier fresh foods – I think you just gave me an idea for one of our spring sessions!

  3. Posted September 22, 2008 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Amy, how much is a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese? I’m guestimating.
    I think it’s gonna be peanut butter and oatmeal every day. If I make a particularly cheap dinner, I might allow myself an egg for breakfast. What are you doing about coffee for heaven’s sake?

  4. Posted September 24, 2008 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I think, to what Amy says about satisfying-but-not-glamorous, that that’s really the only way to pull this off. At least, that was my approach — make sure, no matter what, that I was full, even if I didn’t really like what I was eating.

    I’m not a huge fan of cabbage, but this does sound good. I used to be a member of a CSA where I was getting a head of cabbage (just for me!) every week for about five weeks in a row — I could have used this recipe back then!

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