A simple method and everyday ingredients come together to make our cabbage soup recipe accessible and ready in less than 30 minutes. Though it may sound it, the soup isn’t bland at all; the cabbage and carrots bathe in a dynamic tomato-based broth.
Simplicity at its best, cabbage soup also has tons of aromatic flavor from added herbs. Delicious, nourishing and satisfying, this is a perfect dish for cold winter days.
What Is Cabbage Soup?
Cabbage soup refers to a savory soup made with cabbage, plenty of other vegetables, and tomato or tomato sauce and spices. There is no single original recipe since the soup varies from region to region and cuisine to cuisine.
With a diversity of ingredients, this soup can have many different tastes and textures. Ours today is inspired by the Russian recipe but has been simplified and uses ingredients widely available in the U.S.
Is Cabbage Soup Good for You?
Our cabbage soup is light and healthy thanks to its main ingredient: cabbage. This veggie belongs to the cruciferous family which is linked to huge benefits like reducing risk of cancers and helping to protect against cardiovascular diseases.
Cabbage provides various vitamins and minerals while still being low in calories. Each serving of our cabbage soup contains 8.9 g protein — 18% of what moderately active adults need a day. Thanks to the wealth of veggies, pork, and tomato sauce, the soup is also packed with other vital nutrients like vitamins K, C, A, zinc, and potassium.
Calories in Cabbage Soup
Our soup has a decent amount of calories — about 145 calories each serving. It’s a healthy starter to awaken your taste buds.
Main Ingredients for Cabbage Soup
To make cabbage soup, you only need four main ingredients: cabbage, tomato sauce, pork, plus a few spices. As it’s so simple, the final taste of the soup greatly depends on the quality of each component.
1. Green Cabbage
Green cabbage is our favorite since it’s sweeter than other varieties. It yields tenderness and sweetness when simmered in the tomato sauce broth. The cabbage doesn’t overwhelm the soup at all, but acts as a vessel for the aromatic flavor from spices and herbs, and gets a melt-in-your-mouth texture once cooked.
We added carrots (and sometimes onions) for a more nourishing veggie base.
2. Ground Pork
Since the cabbage soup is on the lighter side, we don’t recommend adding too much protein to it. Our recipe calls for lean ground pork, which lends a fantastic meaty taste and exquisite umami flavor.
Rotisserie chicken, braised beef, or plant-based protein would also be delicious additions to this soup.
3. Tomato Sauce
In this cabbage soup recipe, we used our homemade tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, and no added salt or preservatives. But feel free to use a different tomato sauce or swap regular tomatoes to fire-roasted tomatoes if you want an extra smoky flavor.
For this dish we use a simple, fresh blend of shallot, scallion, and coriander for a hint of herbal goodness. If you prefer dried seasonings, dried oregano, basil, or parsley give an aromatic twist that makes your eating experience all the more exquisite.
You can try using other spices and herbs too; this recipe is versatile and you can customize it all you like.
How to Make Cabbage Soup
This warming cabbage soup is quick and easy but full of flavor. You can follow the detailed instructions at the bottom of the article, but for now, here’s a quick look at the cooking process (complete with pictures!):
Sauté the shallot.
Sear the pork in the same pan.
Add the tomato sauce.
Season the mixture and add the liquid.
Stir in the cabbage.
Garnish and serve hot.
Cabbage Soup in the Instant Pot
The process of cooking this cabbage soup in the Instant Pot is quite similar to making it on the stovetop. It starts with searing the protein and vegetables in olive oil before adding tomato sauce and extra liquid — either broth or water.
Close the lid and set the pressure cooker for about 2 minutes. The soup is done when the vegetables are soft, and the soup is fragrant.
Our soup recipe is simple and can provide a basic foundation which you can build on by adding more of your favorite veggies like broccoli, corn, bell pepper, kale, and spinach.
Note that if you want to include leafy greens, add them right at the end, just before you serve the soup. Throwing them in the hot soup too early will result in an unpleasant, slimy texture.
Store and Reheat
To store the soup, let it cool down completely before transferring it to an airtight container which will keep for 3 – 5 days in the refrigerator. For longer storage, you can keep soup portions in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat, thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to use, simmer it in a pot over low heat until warm and bubbling.
How to Serve Cabbage Soup
Cabbage soup is a beloved recipe for many people, especially those looking for a low-calorie dish. We love to serve it with homemade breadsticks or dinner rolls.
If you want to have this soup for lunch or dinner, we suggest pairing it with a savory main dish with more carbohydrates. This way, the combination provides you with enough calories and key nutrients, helping you to have energy until the next meal of the day.
Cabbage Soup Recipe
- In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp shallot and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Add 1 oz carrot and 4 oz ground pork. Cook and stir often for 2 minutes.
- Pour in 1/4 cup tomato sauce and cook for another 1 minute.
- Season the mixture with 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1 1/2 tsp gravy mix. Add 3 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Stir in 8 oz cabbage and simmer the soup until the cabbage is wilted and soft, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Garnish with 1 tbsp scallion and 1 tbsp coriander. Serve immediately.