Creamy cabbage soup is a comforting and warming dish that is perfect for chilly days. This recipe takes the traditional cabbage soup to the next level by adding cream for a rich and creamy finish and bacon for smoky flavour and a tasty garnish. It’s easy to make and is a great way to enjoy cabbage.
What are the health benefits of cabbage soup?
Cabbage is low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and K. It’s also a good source of fiber, which can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied. And yes, it may make you a bit farty – but long walks outdoors are a great antidote and healthy too!
The unique carbohydrates and high fibre of cabbage may cause gas, bloating and stomach pain for some people. Gradually adding more fibre and cooking cabbage can help some people; however, for others, avoiding cabbage may be best. If this is you, try my Ultimate Chowder instead!
Is this recipe part of the cabbage soup diet?
No! Stop with the crazy cabbage soup diet! It’s an unhealthy, fad diet that will only lead to long term disappointment and short term discomfort. Just enjoy this delicious soup. There’ll be enough for leftovers – but don’t have it every day for every meal for the next week!
What are the ingredients in creamy cabbage soup?
Cabbage – The ideal cabbage is green or white cabbage. It will be tender yet still have a bit of crispness and has a lovely sweet flavour. Savoy cabbage with it’s waffle like texture would also work. I do not recommend red cabbage or the more tender napa cabbage for this soup.
Other Veggies – Onions, carrots and potatoes are the other veggies in this soup. They add flavour, texture, colour and hardiness. You could also add other veggies like garlic, celery, parsnips, etc. Towards the end of the cooking process you could also add some dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, swiss chard or beet greens.
Potatoes – Choose a waxy potato for a potato that holds its shape and looks beautiful. Go for red or yellow potatoes. Russet or other starchy potatoes will get too soft and mushy.
Bacon – Adds fat and flavour to the soup but can be replaced with oil if desired.
Seasoning – I use a combination of dried thyme and oregano, but you could also use rosemary, herbs de Provence, bay leaves, nutmeg, paprika, etc. Fresh dill is fabulous if you can get it, otherwise a little parsley to top it off is nice too,.
Soup Stock – I used chicken stock concentrate, but use whatever soup stock you enjoy most.
Cream – Add some half and half or heavy whipping cream for a velvety smooth finish. Or use a can of evaporated milk or your favourite non-dairy alternative – oat or soy milk would be most similar in flavour.
PRO TIP: Avoid adding low fat dairy to boiling hot soup – it WILL curdle. If you want to use low fat dairy, let the soup cool a little before gradually stirring in low fat milk.
Pickle Brine – Adding acid to soup is a game changer – it perks up the flavours without tasting acidic. Usually the go to choice is tomato, vinegar or lemon juice. In this recipe, it’s pickle juice! Just take the brine directly from your jar of pickles, hot pickled peppers, or feta cheese. You get the acid AND the amazing flavours that have been infusing in that brine. For this soup – dill pickle brine is ideal.
Beurre manié – A paste of equal parts butter and flour used to thicken the soup. You can also use a cornstarch slurry – mix 1 Tablespoon cornstarch with 1 Tablespoon cold water and gradually stir into hot soup. For both the beurre manié and the cornstarch slurry the soup has to return to boiling to ensure thickening. Stir the whole time!
What is beurre manié and how do you use it?
Beurre manié is a French cooking technique used to thicken soups and sauces. It is made by mixing equal parts of butter and flour together to form a smooth paste. This paste is then added to simmering soup and stirred until it thickens. It is ideal for this soup where it is difficult to make a roux because the pot is full of ingredients.
The butter mixed with flour ensures the flour is evenly distributed without forming any lumps. It also adds to the overall flavour and texture.
Make & Use Beurre Manie
- Combine 2 Tbsp soft, room temperature butter and 2 Tbsp flour in a small bowl.
- Stir together until all the flour is incorporated into a smooth paste. Note: You can try spoons, knives or spatulas, but in the end using your fingers to knead the flour and butter together is the simplest way – it’s messy but effective. Set aside until you’re soup is ready to thicken. (BTW, you can freeze any extras for another time).
- When the soup is simmering and ready to thicken, take a tablespoon of beurre manié and add it to the liquid, stirring constantly.
- Continue to add small amounts of the paste until the desired thickness is reached.
- Stir the mixture constantly to ensure that the paste is well incorporated. That’s it!
Can you make this soup vegan or vegetarian?
Yes, it’s easy to do too. Here are the ingredients to swap:
Bacon – replace with your favourite cooking oil and add some smoked paprika for that smoky flavour
Soup Stock – replace with your favourite vegan or vegetarian stock
Beurre manié – use a cornstarch slurry (see recipe notes) instead
Bacon Bits – garnish with nutritional yeast, roasted chickpeas, roasted pepitas, toasted tofu or extra greens
How long does this soup last in the fridge?
Cabbage soup can last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Cool quickly in a shallow container and keep in an airtight container.
Can I freeze this creamy cabbage soup?
It is safe to do so, but you may find that the potatoes in this soup will get a crumbly texture. If you do freeze it, use it within 3 months for best results.
If you want to make a large batch to freeze ahead, make it without the potatoes. It’ll freeze beautifully for 6 months. You can always add cooked potatoes when ready to serve.
Creamy Cabbage and Potato Soup
- 6 slices bacon chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme or 3 fresh sprigs
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ Tbsp sugar
- 2 cups diced red or white potatoes 2 large potatoes
- 4 cups chopped green cabbage 1/2 head
- 6 cups chicken broth
- ¼ cup dill pickle brine from the pickle jar, divided
- 2 Tbsp beurre manié * (or cornstarch)
- ¾ cup cream or evaporated milk
- ½ cup fresh dill or parsley
- In large pot cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons fat in the pot.
- Add onions and carrots, cook until onion is clear.
- Stir in thyme, oregano and sugar. Cook for 1 minute then stir in potatoes and cabbage.
- Add broth and pickle brine. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer 20-30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
- Taste and adjust seasoning with more pickle brine, salt or pepper.
- Thicken soup with beurre manié or a cornstarch slurry (see notes). Let cook for 2 minutes to allow soup to thicken.
- Remove from heat and stir in cream slowly.
- Do a final taste test then garnish with fresh dill or parsley and crumbled bacon bits.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
What to Serve With Cabbage Soup
This is a hardy, thick soup that will fill you up, so you don’t need a lot. I like:
- bread – No Knead Artisan Bread
- biscuits – Cheese Biscuits
- focaccia – Rosemary Focaccia
- salad – Citrus Salad, Simple Greens with Ranch Dressing
Are you ready to give this soup a try? What modifications if any, will you make? Let me know in the comments below or please take a photo and tag #getgettys so I can see it and like it!
Getty Stewart is a Professional Home Economist, speaker, frequent media guest and writer sharing tips and recipes to build confidence and teach skills on how to use whole seasonal foods. She is the author of several recipe books, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener. Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this.