Cabbage Egg Drop Soup

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This Cabbage Egg Drop Soup recipe is super-easy to make in just 20 minutes, and full of the best healthy ingredients and comforting flavors that I couldn’t love more.

Cabbage Egg Drop Soup

Growing up, our family’s favorite neighborhood Chinese restaurant went back and forth between serving two different kinds of egg drop soup on their menu — a classic egg drop soup and their signature cabbage egg drop soup.  You never quite knew which version was going to appear in your bowl each time you ordered egg drop soup.

But cabbage soup day was my absolute fave. ♡♡♡

I know, the ingredient combination sounds a bit odd.  And various friends of ours who came along for our Saturday Chinese lunch dates over the years definitely eyed their side soup bowls with a touch of suspicion when they arrived full of cabbage.  But I’m telling you, every single person we introduced to this cabbage egg drop soup over the years ended up absolutely loving it.  So much so that our little neighborhood joint became famous around the city just for this soup.  It was legendary!

Unfortunately, this beloved family-owned restaurant was forced to close its doors over a decade ago, after a big bad chain buffet opened up as competition across the street.  (Still sad about it over a decade later — it was such a loss for my hometown.)  So ever since, I have been working to try and figure out how to recreate that famous cabbage egg drop soup here at home.  And while no version in my mind will ever be quite the same as the original, I’ve finally landed on a recipe that I believe captures the magic of this cozy, comforting cabbage soup of my childhood.

So here it is — my favorite cabbage egg drop soup!  It’s made with an entire head of good-for-you Napa cabbage, which cooks down until it’s super-soft and tender and blends in perfectly with all of those beautiful egg ribbons.  Its cozy broth is lightly seasoned with garlic, ginger and a long drizzle of toasted sesame oil.  It’s easy to make on the stovetop in just 20 minutes, and is naturally gluten-free and vegetarian.  It works great served as a side dish with fried rice or your favorite stir-fries, or you can do what I do and just enjoy a huge bowl as a healthy main course.  And best of all, it is just so, so, so good.

Quite simply, this soup is one of those nostalgic recipes that makes me really happy.  So here’s to hoping you love it too!

Chinese Napa Cabbage

Cabbage Egg Drop Soup Ingredients:

To make this cabbage egg drop soup recipe, you will need:

  • Onion and garlic: Which we will sauté until softened, to form the base for our broth.
  • Veggie stock: Or chicken stock, whichever you prefer.
  • Napa cabbage: Pictured above (the frilly kind of cabbage!), which you can find at an Asian market if it’s not available at your usual grocery store.
  • Ground ginger: I typically just reach for ground ginger since it’s quick and easy to use.  But you could totally sub in fresh ginger if you prefer.
  • White pepperWhose flavor I love in this soup.  If you have never cooked with white pepper before, note that it is significantly more potent than black pepper, so I recommend starting with a small amount and then adding more to taste.   That said, if you don’t have white pepper on hand, you can also just substitute black pepper instead.
  • Eggs: Which we will whisk and drizzle into the soup to create beautiful egg ribbons.
  • Toasted sesame oil: Which we will use as a finishing oil to flavor the broth.
  • Optional toppings: And finally, I recommend some thinly sliced green onions for garnish!

Full ingredient amounts and directions included in the recipe box below.

Chinese Napa Cabbage Egg Drop Soup

How To Make Cabbage Egg Drop Soup:

To make this Chinese cabbage egg drop soup recipe, simply…

  1. Sauté onion and garlic. Sauté in a drizzle of oil until softened.
  2. Add the cabbage and broth ingredients. Add in the broth, chopped cabbage, ground ginger, white pepper and continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer.
  3. Simmer. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the cabbage has softened.
  4. Make the egg ribbons.  Now the fun part!  While the soup is still simmering, use one hand to continuously stir the soup round and round, creating a “whirlpool”-type motion, while you use your other hand to slowly drizzle in the whisked eggs.  The eggs will cook instantly in the hot broth, creating pretty egg ribbons.
  5. Season.  Stir in the sesame oil until completely combined, then taste and season as needed.
  6. Serve.  Serve warm, sprinkled with green onions if desired.

Egg Drop Soup Recipe with Cabbage

Possible Variations:

Want to customize this soup a bit?  Feel free to:

  • Add bok choy: Our favorite restaurant also occasionally used to add in some chopped baby bok choy, which I love to do as well and highly recommend if you have some on hand.
  • Add meat: This soup would also be delicious with some ground pork or chicken added in, if you would like to add some extra protein.
  • Make it spicy: If you would like to give this soup more of a kick, you can definitely increase the amount of white pepper.  Or feel free to also stir in some chili garlic sauce or sriracha to add some extra chili flavor.

Egg Ribbon Soup Recipe with Cabbage

More Cabbage Soup Recipes:

Looking for more delicious cabbage soup recipes to try?  Here are a few of my faves:

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Cabbage Egg Drop Soup

Cabbage Egg Drop Soup

  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x

Description

This Cabbage Egg Drop Soup recipe is super-easy to make in just 20 minutes, and full of the best healthy ingredients and comforting flavors that I couldn’t love more.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
  • 1 small head of Napa cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • optional topping: thinly sliced green onions

Instructions

  1. Sauté onion and garlic. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
  2. Add the cabbage and broth ingredients. Add in the stock, chopped cabbage, ground ginger, white pepper and stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer.
  3. Simmer. Reduce heat to medium, in order to maintain the simmer.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until the cabbage has completely softened.
  4. Make the egg ribbons.  Remove the lid.  Then, while the soup is still simmering, use one hand to continuously stir the soup round and round, creating a “whirlpool”-type motion, while you use your other hand to slowly drizzle in the whisked eggs.  The eggs will cook instantly in the hot broth, creating pretty egg ribbons.
  5. Season.  Stir in the sesame oil until completely combined.  Then give the soup a taste and season with salt, as needed, plus any extra sesame oil, white pepper or ginger that you think it might need.
  6. Serve.  Serve warm, garnished with green onions if desired.


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15 comments on “Cabbage Egg Drop Soup”

  1. This soup looks so good! I’m a huge cabbage fan, so will totally be trying this asap!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  2. This does look good! Making the “egg ribbons” sounds neat. I will try this. My husband and I love cabbage! Thank you for sharing.

  3. I love the sounds of this recipe and cant wait to try it. Can you recommend soup stock that does not contain msg? I know it adds that “I’m scrumptious” effect but I try to avoid it. Also wondering if regular green cabbage can be used if nappa cabbage is not available? does it turn out too differently?

  4. Wow, this is scary! This is what I made us for dinner last night! I was out of sesame oil 😩 but subbed about a Tablespoon of Bragg’s amino acid, though soy sauce would have been another option. I also add strips of carrot I’ve shaved off with a veggie peeler.

    Such a lovely satisfying dinner!

  5. Oh my! This soup looks and sounds fabulous. Will definitely be making it soon. It’s a perfect recipe for my vegetarian daughter. For me and her carnivorous husband I will add chicken. Either way, this soup will be delicious!

  6. This looks amazing! I’m a Kansas City girl myself and remember so many wonderful little Chinese restaurants. I can’t help wondering which one you’re speaking of, but it’s been 25 years since I moved away. Your Hot and Sour soup is the best, most authentic to those I grew up eating and my whole family loves it. We are sure to try this very, very soon.

  7. Looks great! Any advice for storing leftovers or is this best day-of?

  8. You nailed it. I live in Galveston Texas and was a friend of Santos Cruz, Inventor of the Margarita (look up the story), and this is it.

  9. This soup was delicious and easy to make.

  10. Napa cabbage isn’t available in the small town where we live. What kind of cabbage could be used as a sub.

  11. Excellent Recipe – we are using it for our lunch all week.
    I made the following changes:
    Eliminated olive oil and replaced it with 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil to saute the onion
    Increased chicken stock to 10 cups
    Used large head of Napa and large onion
    Replaced ground ginger with 4 tsp fresh grated ginger
    Used 5 eggs
    Eliminated the sesame oil at end of recipe
    Added protein – Imitation crab when served
    Would be great with shrimp or Rotisserie chicken also
    Weight Watcher Friendly – about 1/2 point per serving – just for sesame oil

  12. I made this soup. The only change was to cut back on 2 cups of the stock. The soup is a good winter soup. I would never order this out at a Chinese restaurant. The green onions and toasted sesame oil are a must. One last comment the Napa doesn’t have the sulphur smell .

  13. This looks amazing! I love the idea of adding cabbage. Any sense of how well this usually keeps? I typically just make enough egg drop soup for however many I’m serving, but would love to try this as written.

  14. Can you substitute regular cabbage for the Napa?

  15. What could I serve with this or add to make this more of a hearty family meal?