It has been snowing on and off for the last 3 days and I am about to throw in the towel. While I love the pillowy white backdrop, cold weather, and having to be inside all the time started wearing on me. Thankfully, we have a fireplace and it is on all the time so I am not cold. Currently, early evening dinners with fire in the background is the highlight of my day.
When it is this chilly outside, I can’t imagine anything but a big pot of soup for dinner, which is exactly why I have so many soup recipes on my blog. This stuffed cabbage soup was one of my mom’s favorite soup recipes that I have had on repeat this winter.
I think a more appropriate title would be unstuffed cabbage roll soup, or deconstructed cabbage soup since there is no stuffing involved! Basically, it’s a simple weeknight soup recipe that is made with ingredients similar to Polish stuffed cabbage rolls. But the best part – it simmers in one pot on the stovetop and is ready in under 45 minutes!
About This Stuffed Cabbage Stew Recipe:
I don’t know about you, but I love a big bowl of rolled stuffed cabbages topped off with garlicky yogurt sauce. But let’s face it, they take a long time to make. Certainly not conducive to make on a weeknight.
This cabbage roll soup, on the other hand, tastes almost the same without all the work. Everything comes together in one pot making it easier and great for a heartwarming weeknight meal.
Growing up, my mom served this dish with a big dollop of Tzatziki sauce on top, so I followed in her footsteps. While I highly recommend doing so, if you prefer serving it by itself or with a warm, crusty slice of no knead bread, it would still be good.
This stuffed cabbage soup recipe is made with olive oil, onions, ground beef, cumin, paprika, garlic, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, honey, homemade chicken stock, cabbage, white rice, white wine vinegar and fresh Italian parsley.
Although this list may seem long, most of them are pantry staples. Which means, all this recipe takes is a quick trip to the grocery store for a few meat and produce selections.
But as I mentioned before, this cabbage roll soup is customizable to suit your needs. Replace the ground beef with ground turkey (Turkey Cabbage Soup is also a regular in our house) or use cauliflower rice instead! We will discuss a few variations below.
How To Make Stuffed Cabbage Soup
This stuffed cabbage soup with meat is prepared on the stovetop in a few easy steps. Simply:
- Sweat the aromatics and brown the meat. In a large pot or heavy-bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sweat the onion until translucent. Add the ground beef, cumin and paprika and cook, breaking up any larger pieces of meat, until browned, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, cover and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add the liquids! Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, honey, stock and water and give it a gentle stir.
- Stir in the cabbage and rice. Now add the sliced cabbage and white rice. Cover, bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer with the lid ajar for 25-30 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked. Make sure to give it a gentle stir a few times during cooking.
- Garnish and Serve! Remove from the heat and add the white wine vinegar and parsley. Ladle into soup bowls and serve immediately with crusty bread and a dollop of Tzatziki!
Slow Cooker Method
Beef cabbage soup can also be made in the crockpot. For best results, simply add all the ingredients, except the white wine vinegar and parsley, to your slow cooker and set on LOW for 5 hours or HIGH for 2 hours. Garnish and serve as instructed.
- Brown Rice: Replace the white rice with brown rice and increase the cooking time to 35-40 minutes (since brown rice takes longer to cook through).
- Cauliflower Rice: Replace the white rice with 1 ½ cups cauliflower rice (about 1 package). The cauliflower rice will hold its shape during cooking, so add it at the same time you would normally add the rice in the recipe.
- Ground Chicken, Turkey, or Pork: Substitute ground beef with ground turkey, chicken or pork (piggy soup, anyone?) instead. The flavor will be lighter, but it’s a wonderful substitution for a leaner cabbage casserole soup recipe.
- Greens and Vegetables: If you’d like to up the nutritional content, add a few handfuls of baby spinach, sliced kale, green beans, or green peas at the very end when you add the garnish. The residual heat from the soup will naturally warm the vegetables through.
This homemade cabbage soup recipe makes enough to serve a crowd, but it freezes beautifully, too!
To freeze properly, first cool completely and use one of three methods (depending on how many people you need to feed):
- Airtight Container: Transfer to a large airtight container, place a piece of plastic wrap directly touching the surface of the soup and seal tight. Label, date and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- Plastic Freezer Storage Bags: Transfer the soup to two large plastic freezer storage bags or reusable freezer bags (affiliate link), push out all the air, seal tight, label, date and place flat on a shelf in your freezer for up to 2 months. (This option is great if you only want to reheat half the soup at a time).
- Individual Meal Prep Containers: Transfer the soup to 4-5 individual, freezer-friendly meal prep containers (affiliate link). Seal tight, label, date and put in the freezer for up to 2 months.
To reheat, defrost the frozen soup in the fridge overnight. Transfer to a large pot (or smaller pot for smaller portions), cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring a few times in between. Reduce to simmer, add freshly cooked rice (omit if you made the soup with cauliflower rice) and serve!
The soup thickens quite a bit the longer it sits, so if enjoying throughout the week or freezing and reheating for later, you may need to add 1-2 cups additional stock or water. Adjust the seasonings as necessary.
Other Cabbage Recipes You Might Also Like:
- Vegan Sloppy Joe
- Crunchy Asian Chicken Salad
- Chicken Lo Mein Recipe
- Napa Cabbage Salad
- No Mayo Coleslaw Recipe
Other Heartwarming Soup Recipes You Might Like:
- Beef Vegetable Soup
- Healthy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Best Chicken Chili Recipe
- Best Vegan Chili
- Vegan Butternut Squash Soup
- Ribollita Soup
- Turkish Lentil Soup
- Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
- Pumpkin Turkey Chili
- Need more inspiration? Check out all our Soup recipes
Stuffed Cabbage Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 pound ground beef *
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 8 oz. tomato sauce
- 1 can 28 ounces diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 cups low-salt or homemade chicken stock
- 2-3 cups water*
- 1 medium-sized head of cabbage approximately 6-7 cups, cored and sliced thinly
- ½ cup rice white rice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cups fresh Italian parsley chopped - more as garnish
- Heat olive oil in a large pot (with a lid) over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and cook until translucent.
- Stir in the beef, cumin, and paprika. Cook, breaking the large pieces of the meat with the back of a wooden spoon, for 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, and honey and give it a stir.
- Pour in the stock and water. Stir in the cabbage and rice.
- Put the lid on and bring it to a boil. Keeping the lid ajar, turn down the heat to medium low, and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes or until rice is fully cooked. Stir it a few times during the cooking process.
- Right before serving, stir in the vinegar and parsley.
- Serve immediately with crusty bread and, if preferred, with a dollop of Tzatziki sauce.
- If you want to switch things up, you can substitute ground beef with ground turkey. While they taste slightly different, I like both versions.
- In the recipe below, for the liquid, I used a mix of chicken stock with water. I personally prefer using some water instead of all chicken stock as I find it to be a little too heavy for our taste. However, if you prefer it that way, feel free to omit water and use all chicken stock.
- I used a medium size green cabbage, which yielded 6-7 cups of sliced cabbage, but there are no rules here. If you have more cabbage, add in a little bit more liquid and vice versa.
- It is traditional to add in a little bit of sugar into this soup to balance all the flavors. Most people use brown sugar. Since I no longer use refined sugars, I went with honey. But, either one would work.
- This dish freezes well. If you have leftovers, feel free to put it in an airtight container and freeze it upto 2 months. A day before you want to serve, thaw it in the fridge overnight.
- The soup thickens quite a bit the longer it sits, so if enjoying throughout the week or freezing and reheating for later, you may need to add 1-2 cups additional stock or water. Adjust the seasonings as necessary.
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This Stuffed Cabbage soup recipe was originally posted in Jan 2017. It has been updated in Jul 2020 with additional helpful information. No changes were made to the originally published recipe.