Budget-Friendly Meal: Old-Fashioned Cabbage Soup

Cabbage Soup

the best cabbage soup recipe in a bowl with a spoon

Flavor, comfort, and nutrition come together in one, glorious bowl with Cabbage Soup. Filled with a rainbow of vegetables, warm and smoky flavors, and white beans for protein, this old fashioned cabbage soup recipe is wholesome and easy to make.

the best cabbage soup recipe in a bowl with a spoon

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Cabbage soup might not sound too appealing, unless you already know and love grandma’s cabbage soup.

You may only think of cabbage as a dish for St. Patrick’s Day, or for use in a slaw or on tacos.

You will be all aboard with all the cabbage after making this simple, filling, and belly-warming soup!

Cabbage is healthy, flavorful, and versatile:

  • For another flavorful cabbage soup, there is Cabbage Roll Soup, a healthy soup inspired by cabbage rolls and made with beef.
  • Slow Cooker Sausage, Cabbage and Potatoes is also an outstanding cabbage soup, and a dish not reserved for only the Irish.
  • Cabbage Steaks are a love song to cabbage that you’ll want stuck in your head, and Sautéed Cabbage is a surprisingly scrumptious, caramelized side.
easy and healthy cabbage soup in a large dutch oven

A Budget-Friendly, Delicious Soup

This is a healthy and hearty vegetarian soup, with many complex flavors. 

  • Carrots and onions are slowly sautéed, then flavored with smoked paprika, cumin, nutmeg, and garlic. Taste buds be like, WOW.
  • Broth, fire roasted tomatoes, rosemary, and bay leaf are added for even MORE flavor.
  • The cabbage wilts down and is not overpowering, and honey and apple cider vinegar bring it all together.

Cabbage soup is not boring, folks!

This is a soup made from humble ingredients that is so much more than the sum of its part.

old fashioned cabbage soup in a bowl

How to Make Cabbage Soup

This original cabbage soup recipe is easy and made all in one pot.

It’s packed with fiber and protein to keep you full and will stretch your dollar.

The Ingredients

  • Carrots and Onion. Sauté to build the backbone of the soup and add a little sweetness.

Add Your Favorite Veggies

You can add additional veggies to your cabbage soup, such as celery, chopped cauliflower, or spinach. Harder vegetables would be sautéed along with the carrot and onion, and a softer vegetable such as leafy greens would be stirred in at the end until wilted.

  • Smoked Paprika. There is a distinct flavor difference between paprika and smoked paprika. Poke around in the more gourmet area of the spice aisle and add this to your cabinet!
  • Cumin and Nutmeg. These warm spices create a warm, inviting flavor and marry with the smoked paprika.
  • Garlic. More aromatics.
  • Vegetable Broth. Keeps the cabbage soup vegetarian (you can substitute chicken broth if that’s not a concern). Opt for low sodium.
  • Fire Roasted Tomatoes. Look for fire roasted tomatoes over plain diced tomatoes. This is another ingredient that ups the ante on the flavor game.
  • White Beans. Such as cannellini or Great Northern. These add a nice, creamy texture to the dish along with protein.
  • Cabbage. This old fashioned cabbage soup recipe uses an entire head of cabbage! Cabbage is full of vitamin C, can help with digestion, and inflammation. Further, it can last in your refrigerator for weeks, so stock up when it’s on sale.
easy cabbage soup recipe old fashioned

What Type of Cabbage is Best for Cabbage Soup?

At the grocery store, you will most often see red (or purple) cabbage and green cabbage. 

  • Use green cabbage for cabbage soup. It becomes a bit sweet once cooked. Choose heads that are tightly bound, and discard any exterior leaves that are wilted. Regular green cabbage or savoy cabbage both work well.
  • Purple cabbage has a stiffer texture and is a bit more peppery flavor. It is great for slaws like Winter Slaw, topping tacos like Jerk Chicken Tacos, and mixing in salad like Ramen Salad. You can use it in soup, but it will need to simmer longer. Also, be aware that it will turn the soup red.
  • Herbs. Bay leaf and thyme add a fitting earthiness, with fresh parsley sprinkled on top when serving.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar. Adds acidity to balance the cabbage and prevent it from tasting bitter.
  • Honey. A touch of sweetness rounds out all the flavors.

Dietary Note

Cabbage soup is vegetarian and gluten free. To make vegan, omit the honey or use agave or sugar.

The Directions

sauteeing vegetables for cabbage soup in a large pot
  1. Cook carrots and onion with salt and pepper in a large pot.
sauteed vegetables for cabbage soup recipe
  1. Add spices and cook until fragrant.
ol fashioned cabbage soup in large pot
  1. Add remaining ingredients. Stir together and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and let the cabbage soup simmer, covered, until the cabbage is very tender, about 25 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Serve hot with a garnish of fresh parsley. ENJOY!
cozy easy cabbage soup in a bowl

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate cabbage soup in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days. 
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat. You may also microwave if desired.
  • To Freeze. You can freeze cabbage soup in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

Chop all the vegetables up to 1 day in advance, and store them in the refrigerator.

What to Serve with Cabbage Soup

Serve cabbage soup with a thick slice of bread, perfect for sauce sopping.