Cabbage rolls, also known as stuffed cabbage, are a traditional dish typically associated with Eastern European cuisine. If you’re a fan of cabbage rolls but don’t love the hassle of rolling up wet cabbage leaves, this cabbage roll soup recipe from recipe developer and certified nutritionist Hayley MacLean should be right up your alley. This recipe has all the flavor of cabbage rolls but is less labor-intensive, plus it’s got the comfort food factor that comes from being a thick, hearty soup.
"My favorite thing about this recipe is how cozy and comforting it is," MacLean says. "The rich, beefy flavor permeates through all the soft vegetables, and the spices and flavors all meld so well together. It is the perfect meal for a chilly evening!" You only need basic ingredients, less than an hour, and a large pot or Dutch oven to make this delicious, hearty soup. Let’s get started!
Gather your ingredients for cabbage roll soup
For this recipe, you’ll need olive oil, a medium-sized yellow onion, minced garlic, ground beef, and carrots. You’ll also need a can of diced tomatoes, beef broth, tomato sauce, and uncooked long-grain rice. To season your cabbage roll soup, you’ll need 1 bay leaf, dried thyme, paprika, light brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. You’ll also need some chopped fresh parsley for garnishing.
And last but not least, you’ll need 4 heaping cups of coarsely chopped green cabbage, which is, according to MacLean, what makes this cabbage roll soup stand apart from cabbage rolls themselves. "It cooks down into silky, delicious ribbons that really embody all of the flavors of this dish," MacLean says. "While it plays a supporting character in the original dish, I think the cabbage is really the star of this soup!"
Begin cooking the soup
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, a large pot is fine, but there are some advantages that come with using a Dutch oven. "Dutch ovens retain heat and distribute it better than other cookware, so this helps evenly cook the soup and ensure all of the rice is cooked through without the other ingredients overcooking," MacLean says. "However, if only a large pot is all that is available, it will work fine as well!"
Add the diced onions to the pot, and cook until they are translucent. Then add the garlic. Cook everything until fragrant, or roughly another minute.
Cook the ground beef
Add the ground beef to the pot. Break the meat up with a spatula. Season the ground beef with salt and pepper, and then cook until it is browned and cooked through. Once the beef has browned, drain any excess liquid from the pot. MacLean recommends using a lean ground beef. Not only will it cut down the amount fat in the soup, but it will also leave less fat to drain after cooking.
Add the veggies and seasoning
Add the cabbage, carrots, diced tomatoes, beef broth, tomato sauce, rice, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, thyme, paprika, and brown sugar to the pot. Stir everything together and bring the pot to a simmer. Cook the soup for about 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Remove and discard the bay leaf and season the soup with salt and pepper.
Serve and store the soup
Once your soup is done cooking, garnish it with fresh parsley and serve. MacLean recommends serving this soup with a piece of crusty bread and a fresh green salad to balance out the hearty, rich flavors of the soup. This soup should last up to five days in the refrigerator and in the freezer for three months. "This dish is perfect for a Sunday evening family dinner, easy to cook all in one pot and filling enough for everyone," MacLean says. "It is a wonderful dish to share with family and friends, and is a crowd-pleaser all around!"
This cabbage roll soup recipe is hearty and full of fresh flavors. If you love cabbage rolls, then you’ll definitely love this soup.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 4 heaping cups green cabbage, coarsely chopped
- 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 (14 ½ ounces) cans diced tomatoes
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
- ½ cup uncooked long-grain rice
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, or around 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, or until fragrant.
- Add the ground beef and break up the meat with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper, and cook the ground beef until it is browned and cooked through. Drain any excess liquid from the pot.
- Add the cabbage, carrots, diced tomatoes, beef broth, tomato sauce, rice, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, thyme, paprika, and brown sugar to the pot. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Remove the bay leaf from the soup and discard. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately, garnished with fresh parsley.