When the weather turns cold and blustery, few things provide as much comfort as a steaming bowl of beef and cabbage soup. This hearty soup truly hits the spot on chilly days and nights. It comes together with simple pantry ingredients and fills your home with the inviting aromas of simmering beef and vegetables.
With each bite, you’ll savor the tender ground beef and savory tomato broth. The addition of cabbage, carrots, rice and seasonings creates a wonderful depth of flavors. Each spoonful brings a perfect balance of textures – soft rice and veggies with delicious morsels of beef.
This soup provides the ultimate comfort food experience. The hands-off cooking method allows the ingredients to mingle and marry together into a soul-satisfying soup.
As it simmers away on the stove, the broth takes on incredible richness and a deep beefy flavor. The cabbage becomes tender but still retains a pleasant crunch. The carrots add a touch of natural sweetness. And the rice soaks up the delicious tomatoey broth, becoming soft and swollen with flavor.
When ready, the soup is thick and hearty without being heavy or overloaded. You canadjust the texture to your liking by adding more broth for a thinner consistency or extra rice for more body.
Served in a wide shallow bowl with a freshly baked roll or crusty bread, this beef and cabbage soup makes for a perfectly comforting weeknight dinner. It’s also wonderful for casual weekend lunches with family or friends. The recipe makes a large batch, so you’ll have plenty of leftovers to enjoy all week long.
What type of ground beef works best?
90% lean ground beef provides the most flavorful balance. Ground chuck or sirloin are also excellent options.
Can I prep the veggies in advance?
Yes! Chop the onion, cabbage, carrots and garlic up to 2 days ahead of time and store them separately in the fridge.
What cabbage varieties work?
Green cabbage is preferred for its flavor, texture and heartiness, but savoy or napa cabbage also work well.
How can I customize this soup?
Feel free to add diced potatoes, green beans, corn, pasta or any favorite veggies. You can also use basil, oregano, cumin or thyme to change up the seasoning.
Can this soup be made in a slow cooker?
Absolutely! Just cook on low heat for 6-8 hours until the vegetables are tender.
How should I store and reheat leftovers?
Store the soup in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef (90% lean)
- 1 onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 large cloves)
- 4 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage (about 1/2 a medium head)
- 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 1 cup)
- 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 3 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large 6-quart stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering hot, add the 1 pound of lean ground beef. Break up the beef into small crumbles using a sturdy wooden spoon. Cook for 5-7 minutes, continuing to break up any large pieces, until the beef is evenly browned with no pink spots remaining. Drain off any excess grease if needed.
- Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the pot with the browned ground beef. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion pieces become translucent and tender. Make sure to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot as you stir.
- Stir the chopped green cabbage and sliced carrots into the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften slightly. The cabbage will start to wilt down.
- Pour in the 4 cups of beef broth and 3 cans of tomato sauce. Add the 1/2 cup of uncooked white rice, 1 dried bay leaf, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and several generous grinds of black pepper. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat.
- Once boiling rapidly, reduce heat to low. Cover pot with lid slightly ajar and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. Check that the rice is tender enough to your liking. The cabbage and carrots should also be very soft.
- Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste the soup and adjust seasoning as desired with salt and pepper. Add a pinch or two of salt and stir well to dissolve. Taste again and add more salt and pepper if needed until the flavors really pop.
- Use a ladle to gently fill bowls with the finished soup. Sprinkle a pinch of chopped fresh parsley over each bowl for a pop of color and freshness. Enjoy this hearty, satisfying beef and cabbage soup!
- For a thinner soup, add more broth. For a heartier texture, increase the amount of rice.
- For extra flavor, brown the ground beef in the broth instead of oil.
- Add a splash of red wine vinegar or lemon juice right before serving to brighten the flavors.
- Cook the rice separately for a less mushy texture. Add it when reheating individual portions.
- For a vegetarian version, replace the beef with lentils or chickpeas.
- Mix up the veggie combo – try kale, zucchini, or green beans.