- 1 Savoy cabbage or 1 small green cabbage (or 1/2 not-small green cabbage)
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon butter (or oil of your choice)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1 carrot
- 2 russet potatoes
- 6 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Optional garnishes:
- Leaves from 2 sprigs parsley, chopped
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Aleppo pepper or red chili flakes
- Leaves from a sprig of fresh thyme
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
That’s a braggy title, I know, but this soup is so easy and so tasty and so flexible that after I made it once, I find I turn to it again and again in the colder months (especially when I look at what’s in the house and find not much beyond cabbage and potatoes!). It answers the pressing question: how to you make simple cabbage soup? It also tackles the problem of how to make vegetarian cabbage soup. Pretty much every single ingredient is optional and you can add almost anything that sounds good to you. This version is vegetarian, but there are lots of ways to change that—scroll down to see variations aplenty.
Savoy cabbage or green cabbage both work in the soup. Red cabbage… not so much, it has a sharper bite and the color will get funky, and napa cabbage is a bit too tender to stand up to the cooking time without getting flabby.
Remove and discard any damaged exterior leaves from the cabbage. Cut the head in half, cut out and discard the core, and cut the cabbage into shreds. Set aside.
Trim the onion, halve it lengthwise, and peel. Place cut-side down on a cutting board and cut into thin half-moon slices.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are wilted and softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the cabbage, stir to combine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage wilts and reduces in volume by about half, 5 to 10 minutes.
While the cabbage cooks, peel and chop the carrot; peel and chop the potatoes.
Add the carrot, potatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil before reducing the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook until the vegetables are completely tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot, with garnishes of your choice (or not!).
Make it meaty. If you’re looking for how to make sausage and cabbage soup, it’s easy. Simply cut 1 or 2 sausages (Kielbasa is a good choice) into1/2-inch slices and cook along with the onion.
Make it meaty 2—add 1 to 2 cups of shredded or chopped cooked chicken, pork or beef along with the carrots and potatoes so the flavors blend.
Tomato time—add 1 can (14 ounces) chopped tomatoes along with the broth.
Beety borscht—borscht is just Russian for soup, but we tend to think of it as necessarily involving beets. Add 2 or 3 roasted, peeled, and chopped or grated beets along with the carrots and potatoes for a brilliantly fuschia and beautiful bowl.
Beyond potato—any root vegetable can take the place of the some or all of the potatoes; try turnips, rutabagas, or sweet potatoes.
Make it green—add several handfuls of chopped cooking greens such as kale or chard along about halfway through the potato cooking time.