This Stuffed Cabbage Soup takes the rich, savory flavor of a steamy pan of traditional cabbage rolls and transforms it into a delicious, cozy soup. A pot of this soup simmering on a cold day is a magical thing. It warms the soul and makes the house smell so good.
And stuffed cabbage soup is also a very affordable and easy-to-make soup. It’s made with simple, inexpensive ingredients that are readily available at most grocery stores, including cabbage, ground beef, rice, tomatoes, and broth. (And if you love a simple and delicious soup, check out my recipe for Simple Old-Fashioned Potato Soup).
One of my favorite ways to eat cabbage is in stuffed cabbage rolls (or golabki as my Polish husband calls them.) The thing is, cabbage rolls take a lot of time and effort. I usually save the stuffed cabbage rolls for Sunday dinner or special occasions. So for a simpler version, I often make this Stuffed Cabbage Soup. Easy to make, basic ingredients, inexpensive, nourishing, and delicious – I mean, does it get any better? Just brown the meat, chop the veggies, and throw everything in a pot to simmer.
If you enjoy meal-prepping, you can even chop the veggies the evening before. As an added bonus, this Stuffed Cabbage Soup freezes well, so you may want to spend a few extra minutes of preparation and make a double batch to have some for the freezer. Just reheat for an easy, quick meal. And I like to keep it simple and serve it with a side of warm, crusty bread slathered with butter!
So let’s talk about the ingredients for this Stuffed Cabbage Soup:
Cabbage – This is the star of the show. And of all the vegetables I grow in my fall garden, cabbage would have to be my favorite (here in southern Appalachian we call them mountain cabbages). I love cabbage for slaw, stir-fries, casseroles, and especially in this Stuffed Cabbage Soup.
You should have no problem picking up a head of cabbage at your local grocery store. You can even use bagged chopped or shredded cabbage for convenience. But if you can get a locally-grown cabbage at a farmer’s market, it will most likely be even better. And cabbages are extra good and sweet after a light frost.
Ground Beef – I use 85/15 grass-fed ground beef. You can use any ground beef of your choice, but be sure to drain off any extra grease from the pan when you cook it. You can also use a different type of ground meat like ground turkey.
Onion – Use any type of onion you like and have on hand. Sweet onions like Vidalia are my favorite choice for this recipe.
Bell Pepper – I prefer a green bell pepper. If you’re not a fan of green bell peppers, use the color you prefer.
Crushed tomatoes – I like the consistency of crushed tomatoes, so that is what I typically use. You can also use tomato puree. And occasionally I have also used a combination of diced tomatoes and bottled tomato juice successfully.
Beef Broth – Use a beef broth that tastes good to you since it is a big part of the flavor of this soup. You can use homemade or boxed broth or stock. If I don’t have homemade, I often use a powdered base or wet beef base and reconstitute it with water.
Rice – I use plain white rice, typically jasmine or long-grain rice. Brown rice will work, too, but you may have to simmer the soup a bit longer to soften the rice.
Here are a few tips for making the best Stuffed Cabbage Soup:
Give it time. The secret ingredient in this recipe is time. While the prep is fairly quick, the slow and gentle simmering is where the magic happens. Allow the soup to gently bubble away until the flavors are melded and the cabbage is tender to your liking.
Wait to add the rice. If you add the rice to the soup immediately, it will dissolve into the soup by the time the cabbage is cooked. I like to simmer the cabbage in the soup for about 45 minutes and then add the rice. You can also cook the rice separately and add it at the end when the soup is finished cooking.
Season your soup to taste before serving. I like to sprinkle in a little extra dill and freshly ground black pepper.
If you try this recipe for Stuffed Cabbage Soup, I hope you love it. And follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram so you don’t miss a post.
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