Cabbage Soup

$7.89 recipe / $0.99 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.85 from 120 votes
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I was first introduced to this recipe through the notorious cabbage soup diet. While I’m not a fan of that type of diet, I am a big fan of the cabbage soup recipe itself. Why? For one simple reason—it’s absolutely DELICIOUSYeah, I was surprised too. The first time I had the famed diet cabbage soup I expected it to be boring and bland, but I was pleasantly surprised by how extremely flavorful and comforting the soup was. I actually ended up eating it over and over again just because I wanted to. And it became a winter comfort food staple for me ever since. 😅

Overhead view of a pot of cabbage soup with a ladle

What’s in Cabbage Soup?

The classic “cabbage soup diet” cabbage soup recipe has taken many forms over the years, but they all have one thing in common—they’re stuffed full of non-starchy vegetables swimming in a flavorful herb-filled broth. Here’s what you’ll need to make the BEST cabbage soup you’ve ever had:

  • Onion, Garlic, Celery, and Carrot: These four ingredients create the base for most of my soup recipes. It’s a basic mirepoix plus garlic, which gives the soup a deep flavor base.
  • Cabbage: The start of the show! Cabbage makes this soup extra hearty, gives it volume, body, fiber and other nutrients, and all for pennies.
  • Green Vegetables: I also add green bell pepper, green beans, and parsley to the soup to round out the medley of flavors and colors. You’re definitely getting your daily dose of veggies with this soup!
  • Tomatoes: A combination of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce gives the soup a beautiful red color and even more texture to tempt your eyes.
  • Vegetable Broth: Using a pre-made broth to fill out the soup ensures that every last drop is packed with flavor.
  • Herbs and Spices: There’s already a lot of flavor going on in this soup but the addition of smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, and pepper really keeps the flavor exciting.
  • Lemon Juice: this is the secret ingredient! A little bit of lemon juice at the end gives the soup a shot of brightness and keeps the flavors from being too heavy. Don’t skip this one!

How to Store Leftover Cabbage Soup

This cabbage soup recipe does make a really large batch, so it’s a good idea to freeze about half of it, just in case you can’t eat all of it within about five days. To freeze this soup, divide it into single-serving portions, chill it completely in the refrigerator first, then transfer to the freezer for longer storage. Keep in the freezer for up to three months.

Add More Protein

Soup recipes in general are very flexible, so you could always add a little extra protein to this cabbage soup to make it more filling. Here are some other great ingredients you can add:

  • Beans (cannellini, chickpeas, kidney beans)
  • Ground beef (or check out my Beef and Cabbage Soup)
  • Italian sausage
  • Cubed tofu (extra firm)
  • Shredded chicken
a bowl of cabbage soup with a spoon and garlic bread on the side

Shown with Homemade Garlic Bread.

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Cabbage Soup

4.85 from 120 votes
Forget the cabbage soup diet, you'll want to eat this super healthy vegetable-filled cabbage soup just because it tastes incredible! 
a bowl of cabbage soup with a spoon and garlic bread on the side
Servings 6 2 cups each
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 1 hour
Total 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.32)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
  • 4 carrots ($0.57)
  • 4 ribs celery ($0.50)
  • 1 green bell pepper ($0.69)
  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes ($1.00)
  • 1 8oz. can tomato sauce ($0.34)
  • 1/2 lb. frozen green beans ($0.67)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley ($0.23)
  • 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika ($0.15)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
  • 6 cups chopped cabbage (½ head) ($1.14)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth ($0.78)
  • 1 tsp salt ($0.05)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.04)


  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion, garlic, and olive oil to a large soup pot and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft.
  • While the onion and garlic are sautéing, peel and slice the carrots, chop the celery, and dice the bell pepper. Add the carrot, celery, and bell pepper to the pot. Continue to sauté as you measure the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), tomato sauce, frozen green beans, chopped parsley, smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, and pepper. Continue to stir and cook while you chop the cabbage.
  • Chop the cabbage into 1-inch pieces. Add the cabbage to the pot along with the vegetable broth and stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the soup to come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow it to continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes or until the cabbage is to your desired tenderness.
  • Once the cabbage is tender, season the soup with salt, starting with ½ tsp and adding more to your liking. Finish the soup by adding the lemon juice and stirring to combine. Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping.

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Serving: 2cupsCalories: 133kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 4gFat: 3gSodium: 1783mgFiber: 7g
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A ladle full of cabbage soup held over the pot

How to Make Cabbage Soup – Step by Step Photos

Onion and garlic in a soup pot

Start by mincing four cloves of garlic and dicing one large onion. Add them both to a large soup pot with one tablespoon olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.

Celery, carrot, and bell pepper added to the pot

While the onion and garlic are sautéing, peel and slice 4 carrots, slice 4 stalks of celery, and dice one green bell pepper. Add the carrots, celery, and bell pepper to the pot. Continue to sauté over medium.

Tomatoes, spices, parsley, and green beans added to the pot

Add one 28oz. can diced tomatoes (I used petite diced), one 8oz. can tomato sauce, ½ lb. frozen green beans, ¼ cup chopped parsley, ½ Tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp oregano, ½ tsp thyme, and ¼ tsp pepper. Stir to combine.

cabbage in soup pot, broth being poured in

Chop 1/2 head of cabbage into one-inch pieces (about 5-6 cups once chopped). Add the chopped cabbage to the pot along with 6 cups of vegetable broth.

Cabbage soup before simmering

Stir everything together, place a lid on the pot, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow the soup to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the soup simmer over medium-low, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes, or until the cabbage is to your desired tenderness.

Salt being added to the soup

Once the cabbage is tender, season the soup with salt, starting with 1/2 teaspoon, then adding more to taste (I used 1 tsp total). Next, add one tablespoon of lemon juice, which really helps brighten the flavors. 

close up of the pot of cabbage soup

And then slurp down all that vegetable-y goodness! I garnished with a little more fresh parsley, but it’s not needed for extra flavor.

close up of a bowl of cabbage soup

This cabbage soup recipe goes great with some crusty bread (garlic or not) to soak up that delicious broth!

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  1. I was wondering about using this soup as a way to get more daily vegetables, so thank you. Question: would red bell peppers mess up the flavor much? My housemate doesn’t like green pepper.

    1. I think red bell peppers would be great in this. :)

  2. The “Cabbage Soup Diet” [which also includes eating fruits and veggies as well as an occasional “heavy carb” (i.e., a potato) plus a few proteins tossed in — towards the end of the week – for good measure] is ALIVE and WELL! And this Soup made our7-day adventure to the tip of the abyss not only bearable, but actually quite pleasant (IOWs, it’s as DELICIOUS as a Cabbage Soup can be!) My adult-Daughter and I have a Wedding we’ll be attending mid-next month and, for whatever reason (???) Keto just wasn’t “dong it” for us :( . But THIS SOUP — in coordination with other of “The Cabbage Soup Diet” directives caused ME to lose 9 lbs. in a week and my Daughter to lose 12. We’ll be going back onto our Keto regimen starting 2morrow and then (after 2weeks) doing the “Cabbage Soup Diet” once again for another week. While the immediate objective is that the Dresses will fit, I can see myself using this recipe to make THIS Cabbage Soup many times during the current Autumn and upcoming Winter seasons. It really IS that GOOD! Thank you, Bth, for this delightful recipe.

  3. Can you recommend what I can substitute for the tomatoes and tomato sauce? I am allergic to them unfortunately.

    1. Unfortunately, the tomato ingredients are a big part of this recipe, and replacing them would change it quite a bit. So I’d need to reformulate and test options before offering a suggestion.

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