This cozy cabbage roll soup is a tasty take on cabbage rolls, filled with healthy cabbage, ground beef and rice in a rich tomato broth—it's a delicious classic recipe prepared with a twist!
Cabbage Roll Soup, No Knife and Fork Required
Boy, it's been years since I've enjoyed my momma's cabbage roll recipe, and just thinking about it makes my mouth water. I miss it!
Classic cabbage rolls were one of my favorite, and she would prepare them by rolling partially steamed/softened leaves of cabbage around a filling of ground beef and rice, then nestle those tender and delicate rolls into a tomato sauce and simmer until cooked through.
Her cabbage rolls were a comfort on chilly days, and when served freshly prepared and piping hot, little was quite as comforting.
So when I had a little hankering to come up with a brand new soup recipe here on The Cozy Apron, and began reminiscing back to mom's cabbage rolls, I though it would be really comforting and cozy to prepare a rich and delicious cabbage roll soup, one that had all of those classic components, only in “slurp-able” form. 😉
This cabbage roll soup recipe is my twist on a classic meal, made a bit “deconstructed” you could say, and without the need for a knife and fork as part of the set up—only a spoon required for this version!
Cabbage Roll Soup, a Deconstructed Version of Cabbage Rolls
Since I like to keep things as simple as possible with soups, and because (frankly) I wanted to get away from having to spend time rolling individual cabbage rolls, I simply used the ingredients one would find in cabbage rolls and made a soup out of them.
This version doesn't require any rolling, as I simply shred a head of cabbage, use lean organic ground beef, and create a rich and flavorful tomato broth to simmer things in.
I keep the rice separate and add it into individual bowls of the soup to keep the main pot nice and brothy. The result is spoonfuls of delicious cabbage, beef, rice and tomato broth that taste like what I remember cozy, classic cabbage rolls tasting like.
This soup is quick and easy, without the muss and fuss of rolling!
How to Make Cabbage Roll Soup
Because I don't make actual cabbage rolls to add into the soup, the only work is to shred the cabbage and prep a small handful of other ingredients for this tasty recipe.
The soup simmers until nice and flavorful, just until the cabbage is tender, before I ladle it over some cooked white rice and enjoy spoonful after spoonful.
Here's a glance at how I make my cabbage roll soup:
- To begin, I shred/slice a head of green cabbage into thin strips, then prep the aromatics and other ingredients.
- I place a large soup pot over medium high heat, add in oil and onions, and sauté until tender.
- Then, I crumble in the lean ground beef and cook that until browned and cooked through, then add in some garlic and tomato paste.
- Next, I add in the shredded cabbage and the beef stock/broth. I allow the soup to gently simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes until the cabbage is tender and the flavors mingled.
- While the soup cooks, I prep the white rice, and keep that in a separate container.
- I finish the soup with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
- To serve, I spoon some rice into individual bowls, ladle in the hot soup, and enjoy the flavors of cabbage rolls without all the rolling!
(My full recipe is below...)
Tips & Tidbits for Cabbage Roll Soup:
- Lean ground meat: Lean ground beef was always the pick for cabbage rolls in our house, so I'm sticking to that here with this soup. But other options are ground pork, ground chicken, or ground turkey if you prefer to go a different route—even spicy sausage.
- Head of cabbage or pre-shredded: If you can find pre-shredded cabbage in the prepared produce section of your market, it's a great way to save time and streamline things even more. I typically use a small or medium-small head of cabbage (about 1 ½ pounds), shred it myself, and add it into the soup. It may seem like a lot of cabbage to begin with, but it does shrink way down.
- Cooking and keeping the rice separate: The reason I do this is so that the rice doesn't absorb all of my tasty broth; especially when it comes to leftovers, when the soup sits in the fridge overnight (or even a couple of nights). If the rice was already in, the soup would become dramatically thickened. Feel free to add the rice in, if you prefer—but I like to control the level of thickness in my soup.
- Make ahead for ease: You can prep the soup a day or two ahead of when you'd like to serve it (keeping the rice separate, of course), as the flavors will deepen even more!
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
Cabbage Roll Soup
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 468 calories (with ½ cup cooked rice)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
• Olive oil
• 1 large onion, finely diced
• 1 ½ pounds ground beef (85/15 fat to lean ratio)
• Black pepper
• ½ teaspoon granulated onion
• ½ teaspoon granulate garlic
• 4 large cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 8 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 ¼ pounds thinly sliced/shredded green cabbage (roughly a 1 ½ pound head of cabbage)
• 6 cups warm beef broth/stock
• ¼ teaspoon white pepper
• 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
• 3 cups cooked white rice (use about 1 cup uncooked)
-Place a large soup pot over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 3 tablespoons of the olive oil; once hot, add in the diced onion, and sweat that for about 3-4 minutes, until tender.
-Crumble in the ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon, and add in a pinch or two of salt and pepper, plus the granulated onion and garlic; cook the ground beef with the onions for about 4 minutes or so, or until it is almost cooked through.
-Add in the pressed garlic cloves, and stir those in until aromatic; add in the tomato paste, and stir that in to combine and cook for about 30 seconds.
-Next, add in the shredded/sliced cabbage in increments, stirring it into the beef mixture; once you add all of it in, add your warm beef broth/stock, and stir to combine.
-Bring the soup up to a rapid simmer/boil, then cover, reduce the heat to medium-low so that the soup is gently simmering, and cook for 15 minutes, just until the cabbage becomes tender.
-To finish the soup, sprinkle in the white pepper along with the chopped parsley, and stir to incorporate.
-To serve, add ½ cup of cooked white rice to a serving bowl, ladle hot soup over top, and enjoy!