This cabbage soup recipe is light, filling, & so comforting. It’s hard to believe it’s a popular “diet soup” with all the tender, juicy meat & savory broth!
Even though cabbage soup is considered a diet food these days, many eastern Europeans grew up knowing it as a comfort food. Think of it as the Russian version of America’s chicken noodle soup. Every chef makes it a bit different and adds his or her own personal touch. It just so happens that the soup is low calorie and healthy for you!
Preparing this Easy Cabbage Soup Recipe
Putting together this protein-rich cabbage soup recipe only requires some minimal prep and just under an hour’s time.
- Prepare the Veggies; First, clean and dice the potatoes and shred the cabbage and carrots.
- Precook the Meat: Rinse the bone-in meat under cold water. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the meat in the broth concentrate for 30 minutes over medium-high heat.
- Add in the Potatoes & Cabbage: Next, add in diced potatoes and shredded cabbage and cook the soup for 10 minutes.
- Sauté the Carrots, Onions, & Diced Tomatoes: In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onions with a little bit of olive oil until golden brown, followed by the shredded carrots and diced tomatoes. Add the mixture to the soup and let it all simmer for a bit.
- Remove the Bones: Next, take the meat out and remove the bones. Add the meat back into the soup and season it to taste with salt. Ladle up a big bowl and enjoy!
5 Tips for Making this Cabbage Soup Recipe
Follow these handy tips to take your cabbage soup to the next level.
- Whip the soup up in a Dutch oven. Nothing compares to soup-making in a Dutch oven. Not only does it maintain a super even heat, but it also maintains so much moisture – a great quality for bringing out the best in soups!
- Use bone-in meat for maximum flavor. You can get pretty creative with what meat you use for your cabbage soup. Fatty and bone-in cuts are the best because they enrich the broth with a silky, marrowy flavor. I like to use pork spare-ribs, beef spare-ribs or oxtail.
- Precook the meat until tender. This recipe requires you to boil your meat for 30 minutes before adding in any vegetables for a reason. This step ensures that your meat will be fall-off-the-bone tender. It also seasons your broth by infusing it with the flavors from the bone marrow and collagen.
- Use a veggie slicer to shred your cabbage and carrots. Use a vegetable slicer to shred the carrots and cabbage – it will make your life so much easier, reduce the prep of chopping, and ensure the slices are consistent!
- Sauté the carrot, onions, & tomatoes first. Before adding your carrots, onions and tomatoes to the soup base, it is important that you first sauté them in a skillet. This unlocks the flavors of the veggies and adds some great texture to your soup.
- Add in your favorite ingredients. This soup is super versatile, so feel free to add in your favorite odds and ends. Celery, green beans, broccoli, & cauliflower are all great options. You can also add in fresh parsley, a couple of bay leaves, or oregano to deepen the flavor.
Different Cabbage Soup Varieties
There’s a couple of fun ways to switch up the foundation of this soup and keep things fresh.
- Vegetarian Cabbage Soup – You can easily make this soup vegetarian-friendly by skipping the meat and substituting mushrooms and swapping the beef broth for vegetable broth. To make it more filling, add in some rice.
- Sausage Cabbage Soup – In a time crunch? Speed up the process by substituting smoked sausages for meat. You can get your broth going and add in the sausages alongside the veggies for a faster and just as delicious soup (kielbasa or Italian sausage work great!).
- Polish Cabbage Soup – Traditional Polish cabbage soup calls for a meat trifecta of pork spare ribs, ham hock and bacon slices! Toss in a pound of fresh sauerkraut to the mix to make the Polish proud.
- My Grandma’s Ukrainian Cabbage Soup (Great for Using Up Leftover Meat) – My grandma loved to pack in the fatty cuts of meat to her version of this soup. Typically, she would use the bits and pieces of leftover meat she used for other dishes throughout the week. She would also always add a hefty amount of sauerkraut to the mix.
Hot Tip: Garnish your cabbage soup with a dollop of sour cream and some fresh chopped parsley or dill.
A Couple Sides for Pairing
For a complete meal, pair the cabbage soup with some no-knead dinner rolls to sop up all that wonderful, marrowy broth. If you want some extra greens, serve it alongside a beet salad with garlic (another Slavic staple that’s naturally low in calories and high in fiber!).
Storing, Reheating, & Freezing Tips
Cabbage soup is the perfect dish for meal prepping. Find all you need to know how to store it here:
- Storing: It lasts 4-5 days in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container. The kicker? The flavor gets better as it sits in the fridge and marinates in itself. Each bowl just gets tastier and tastier!
- Freezing: Making a big batch of this soup is the way to go! It freezes super well and lasts up to 3 months. Let the soup cool down completely, ladle it into an airtight container, place it in the freezer and have it on hand throughout those cold winter months.
Reheating Tip: Reheat the soup by popping it back into a saucepan over medium-low heat until warmed through.
Which cabbage is best for cabbage soup?
Green cabbage is best for cabbage soup. It’s milder in flavor and less fibrous than purple cabbage, making it easier to cook down in a shorter amount of time.
Is cabbage soup good for weight loss?
Yes, cabbage soup is naturally low in carbohydrates, high in fiber, and full of nutrition. It’s packed with potassium, calcium, vitamin C.
What potatoes work best in cabbage soup?
Yellow potatoes work best in cabbage soup. They have a super smooth texture and the flavor is naturally buttery. They also don’t have as much starch as russets, keeping the soup more brothy.
How can you flavor bland cabbage soup?
If your cabbage soup is a little dull, spruce it up with some salt and pepper to taste. If you don’t want to add any more sodium, stir in some fresh lemon juice to help brighten the soup.
Other Tasty Soups, Stews, & Chilis to Try
- Cabbage Roll Soup – Slavic cabbage rolls in soup form
- Minestrone Soup – Tomato broth with veggies, pasta, and basil
- Easy Instant Pot Chili Recipe – Ground beef and beans in a rich tomato sauce
- Meatball Kale Soup Recipe – Ground turkey meatballs and kale in chicken broth
Share Some Love ❤️
- 1 lb bone-in meat pork or beef
- 2 tbsp Beef Better Than Bullion Beef Base
- 3 medium potatoes
- 1/2 small Cabbage head
- 1 large carrot
- 1 small onion
- 10 oz can diced tomatoes
- salt to taste
- olive or avocado oil
- Clean and dice the potatoes into small pieces. Shred the cabbage and carrots.
- Rinse the meat under cold water. In a large soup pot, bring 4 quarts of water to boil. Add in the meat and the Better Than Bouillon Beef Base and cook for 30 minutes.
- Add in the potatoes and cabbage and simmer the soup for 10 minutes.
- Dice the onions and shred the carrots. In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the onions with a little bit of oil until golden brown. Add in the shredded carrots and cook for another 5 minutes. Add in the diced tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Remove the meat pieces from the soup and remove the bone. Add the meat back into the soup and toss the bones in the trash.
- Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately and enjoy!