This one pot meal makes an herby, savory bowl of soup that is so comforting! My White Bean Cabbage Soup uses all the winter herbs, smoked paprika, and a bag of pre-shredded cabbage to make preparation so simple! The only thing you need to do is slice up warm bread and serve it on the side.
When I make and serve soup to people, they always tell me it's so flavorful and tastes like it cooked all day on the stove and contains a million ingredients. When I rattle off a handful of ingredients and mention that it took 30 minutes in one pot, they're always shocked.
I have a few tricks for making a simple bowl of bean soup the most un-boring it can possibly be.
White Bean Cabbage Soup Flavor Tips
- Fresh herbs! I use a lot of fresh herbs in my broth soups, and they bring so much fresh, bright flavor. I grow thyme, rosemary, sage and oregano in my yard because they're very hardy and almost impossible to kill. For this recipe, we'll add sprigs of fresh herbs directly to the pot and pick out the stems just before serving.
- Smoked paprika! This smoky spice brings instant depth to a soup and makes it taste like it was cooked all day with a ham hock. This soup is actually vegan, if you don't serve it with shaved Parmesan and use vegetable broth, but you would never guess because it's so rich and smoky.
- Potatoes! When you cook potatoes for a long time in a lot of water or broth, they release their starch into the pot. This starch makes the soup naturally thick and a bit silky. It makes soup taste creamy and rich without any cream!
- Olive Oil. We will first sauté the chopped vegetables in olive oil before adding the rest of the bean cabbage soup ingredients. This light caramelization of the vegetables brings out their sweetness and the golden brown bits bring a depth of flavor to the soup. It doesn't need to be extra virgin olive oil, because we're cooking with it. Save the extra virgin stuff for salad dressings.
- Onion. One medium white or yellow onion, finely diced. Do not use a sweet onion.
- Celery. Two stalks of celery, thinly sliced, leaves included. The celery leaves have amazing flavor, do not cut off and discard the tops--use them!
- Carrots. Two medium carrots, peeled and slice into coins.
- Potatoes. Two medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into bite-size pieces. This will be about 4 cups of cubed potatoes. You may use any type of potatoes you prefer, but the extra starchiness of Russets makes this soup silkier, in my opinion.
- White Beans. Two 15-ounce cans of white beans that you drain and rinse. I reach for cannellini beans, but you can also used canned navy beans.
- Broth. If you're keeping this soup vegan, use vegetable broth. I usually use chicken broth, but anything is fine!
- Fresh Herbs. I made a little bundle of all of the fresh herbs I had in my garden for this soup. One 4-inch sprig of fresh rosemary, about 10 sprigs of fresh thyme, and one 6-inch sprig of sage. You can add them whole to the pot and we will remove them before serving. It's easiest to do this if you tie the herbs together, but it's not entirely necessary.
- Smoked Paprika. Just one teaspoon of smoked paprika brings a smoky depth that makes this soup taste like it has bacon or a ham hock in it! Be sure the label says smoked, because regular paprika doesn't have much flavor.
- Cabbage. You can always shred your own cabbage to equal 10-ounces, or you can buy the bag of pre-shredded cabbage. My preference is angel hair cabbage, which is very finely shredded. When the cabbage is grated finely, it melts into the soup and loses all of its crunchiness.
- Optional: If you want to add a Parmesan rind to this soup while it cooks, it will melt a bit and give the soup incredible umami flavor. Or, you can simply serve this soup with grated Parmesan on top.
How to Make White Bean Cabbage Soup
First, prep your vegetables! Peel, cut, slice and chop into bite-size pieces.
Next, add the olive oil to the bottom of a large soup pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add all of the diced vegetables, and saute (while stirring occasionally) for 10 minutes.
Add the beans, broth, water, thyme sprigs, rosemary, sage leaves, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. (I also added a Parmesan rind to my soup). Bring this to a boil.
Let the mixture simmer until the potatoes are almost fully tender, about 12-15 minutes. Add the cabbage, stir, and simmer until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
Remove the whole sprigs of herbs and Parmesan rind and serve in bowls drizzled with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.
Bean Cabbage Soup FAQs:
Yes, you can make this bean cabbage soup ahead of time. Let it cool, transfer it to a storage container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat gently over medium heat, adding extra broth if necessary.
Let the leftover soup cool, transfer it to storage containers and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. To freeze it, portion it into freezer-safe containers, label, date and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then heat over medium heat, adding more broth if necessary.
Other bean soups to try:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
- 2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and diced (~4 cups)
- 2 15-ounce cans of white beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 10 Sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 4-inch sprig of fresh rosemary
- 1 6-inch sprig fresh sage leaves
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 10 ounce bag of angel hair finely shredded cabbage
- For serving: olive oil and grated Parmesan
- To a large Dutch oven, add the olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, celery, carrot and potatoes. Sauté for 10 minutes. Stir every minute or so, just to keep the potatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the beans, broth, water, thyme sprigs, rosemary, sage leaves, smoke paprika, salt, and pepper. Bring this to a boil. Let the mixture simmer until the potatoes are almost fully tender, about 12-15 minutes.
- Add the cabbage, stir, and simmer until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
- Remove the whole sprigs of herbs and Parmesan rind and serve in bowls drizzled with olive oil and Parmesan cheese (optional).
*If you have a Parmesan rind, it's great in this soup. Add it when you add the broth.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 436Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 1446mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 12gSugar: 4gProtein: 20g