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My Grandma’s Polish Kapusta z Grochem Recipe (Kapusta With Beans)

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A bowl of white beans and sauerkraut, a classic Polish dish, on a table.

Some call it the food of the poorest, for some, it’s the best vegetarian Polish food. Kapusta with beans or split peas (kapusta z grochem) is definitely worth trying.

I absolutely love it! My grandma made sauerkraut and peas best. She had kapusta z grochemrecipe from her mom. She said that when she thought of her childhood, eating this dish was the first thing that popped into her head.

My Grandma’s Story

If you are not interested in reading this, just skip till the end, where you will find kapusta z grochem recipe. I think my grandma’s story is worth sharing though.

She was born and raised in a small Polish village, before World War II. They were one of the richest families in Zabratówka (her dad owned a shop) but still she remembers running barefoot in the winter. She said all kids needed to be very fast, otherwise, their feet may freeze to the ground.

She didn’t really know much about her dad. All she knew was that she had a wife before. When she passed away, he married her mom. It’s surprising that my grandma was not sure how many siblings she had because many of them died when they were kids. Only she and her 2 brothers survived to adulthood.

When she was a young girl, she married her neighbor (my grandfather). They moved to the city where they built their house with their own hands. Yes, you read it right. From burning the bricks to laying the roof, they did it all by themselves.

In the meantime, my grandma gave birth to her two sons (at home). When she was pregnant with my dad, they were finishing up building a house. She didn’t mind carrying the heavy construction materials.

To be honest, she didn’t mind doing it for her entire life.

My dear Babcia passed away at the age of 92. She was living alone in the very same house she built. Even though she was alone, she wasn’t lonely. I was blessed enough to live close to her, visiting her as often as I could.

Babcia Mila was a strong independent woman till her last day. She passed away peacefully at her home. I was the last person who visited her and I am so grateful that I got to talk to her for an hour. The last words I told her were “I love you”. Little did I know, it was the last time I would see her alive.

Babcia Mila is my hero. She had this special feature of being happy and grateful for what she had. She never focused on shortages that’s why she hadn’t felt miserable getting old and living alone in the big house.

She was busy every day, going to church, meeting her friends, and doing household chores. Always smiling, always grateful. God, I wish I was like her at her age!

Here’s the last photo I had with her, a month before she passed away. She gave me this huge zuchinni from her garden (she was gardening till the very end).

A woman holding a cucumber in her living room.
Babcia Mila, my 92-year old grandma

Anyway, let’s get back to kapusta z grochem recipe. It was my Babcia’s all-time favorite dish that she cooked at least once a week. 

I am giving you the exact same recipe that she used. I don’t know how old it is but must be from the 19th century or older.

Kapusta Z Grochem Recipe

See also my split pea soup recipe.

If you use dry split peas or beans, you need to let them soak in water for at least 12 hours before cooking.

The Name

It’s worth knowing that kapusta means cabbage and groch means beans. That’s why both names of this dish are correct:

  • groch z kapustą
  • kapusta z grochem

It means the same, the words are just in a different order.

This recipe works well for any kind of beans or peas.

See also my kapusta zasmażana – Polish fried cabbage recipe.

Yield: 8 servings

My Grandma's Polish Kapusta z Grochem Recipe (Kapusta With Split Peas)

A bowl of white beans and sauerkraut, a classic Polish dish, on a table.

Authentic Polish kapusta z grochem recipe.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of split peas or 1 ½ cups of dry split peas that you will cook
  • 1 average cabbage or 5 cups of sauerkraut (kapusta kiszona)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 potatoes
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons of margarine or butter
  • 1 bouillon cube 

Instructions

  1. If you use dry split peas, place them in a pot or bowl and fill with water. All the split peas should be covered and the water should be at least an inch or two above them. Let them soak overnight.
  2. In the morning, change the water (drain the split peas and fill with new water). Cook with a bit of salt until they are soft.
  3. Peel the potatoes and boil them. When they are cooked, mash them.
  4. If you use saurekraut, cook it with 1 cup of water. When it's soft, drain it. The more water you leave, the sourer kapusta z grochem will be.
  5. If you use fresh cabbage, chop it finely and place it in a big pot with 1 cup of water and a margarine/butter.
  6. Finely chop the onion and caramelize it with a bit of butter.
  7. Wash the tomatoes, chop them and cook with a bit of water until they are soft.
  8. Mix all the ingredients together. Add a bouillon cube and cook until it dissolves. If necessary, add salt or pepper.

Notes

My grandma uses fresh cabbage in the summer and sauerkraut in the winter.

You can mix them as well.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 333Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 867mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 19gSugar: 9gProtein: 16g

These data are indicative and calculated by Nutritionix

Did you make this recipe?

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13 Responses

  1. Try mashing the beans , that’s how my grandmother does it . It leaves such a smoother texture . Then pan fry to reheat so you get a little crisp. It’s incredible.

  2. Love your story about your Babcia (Bosha). I’m 80 now and your story reminds me of my childhood. Late 1940s’ and early 1950s’. Going to Babcia’s farm in Indiana. 90 miles west of Chicago. 25 miles South of South Bend. Hard work and struggle is a hallmark of Polish Americans. Thanks for the memories. John Wallis (Wolosowicz)

    1. Na Zdrowie your story reminds me of my childhood. Late 1940s’ and early 1950s’. Going to Babcia’s farm with dziadziu , , , stolat Na Zdrowie

      1. Yes..myself as well! Those were wonderful peaceful days…Not the mess of today with the way things are every where…

  3. My Mom used to make something like this. She and my Dad were from Poland. They came here to Connecticut many years ago. Makes my mouth water thinking about it! Thank you for your recipe. I will try making it.

  4. HI can we leave out the tomatoes? i remember this dish , my Mom used to make it but i never thought of asking for the recipe , at that time i thought everyone will be here forever gosh , but this brings back memories just like the lady said above my mom mashed the beans , we never used peas , does it matter?which i choose ?i cant wait to make this gosh so many memories ty so much for this can you send more recipes from your Babcia i know she is proud of you, ty .Do you have a recipe for perogies this way ? i remember her mashing pototoes ?with sauerkraut but not sure how its done again ty so much for this recipe .

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