Spicy Vegetarian Cabbage Soup

This Spicy Vegetarian Cabbage Soup recipe is chock-full of healthy veggies, it’s naturally vegan and gluten-free, and so hearty and delicious.  Feel free to make it as mild or knock-your-socks-off spicy as you’d like.

Spicy Vegetarian Cabbage Soup Recipe

Somehow I missed the whole cabbage soup diet fad of the 90s.  But I finally discovered the magic of a really good bowl of cabbage soup a few years ago, and have been completely hooked on it ever since.  And sounds like many of you are too!  Thousands of you have made and loved my favorite Cabbage, Sausage and Potato Soup recipe, which I still make and enjoy often.  But I thought it was high time we had a vegetarian (and vegan) option here on the blog too.  So today I present to you the most delicious meatless alternative — this Spicy Vegetarian Cabbage Soup. ♡

Talk about a feel-good kind of recipe.  This soup is filled with a freaking mountain of veggies, simmered down together in the most flavorful, comforting, delicious broth, resulting in a hearty meal that is sure to warm you up on the chilliest of winter days.  It’s the ultimate clean-out-the-produce-drawer kind of soup, completely customizable with whatever leftover veggies you happen to have on hand.  (Or you can save yourself some chopping and just add in a bag or two of frozen veggies.)  It’s also super-easy to make in either the Instant Pot (pressure cooker), Crock-Pot (slow cooker), or on the stovetop — you pick.  It freezes beautifully, if you’d like to save the leftovers or make a big batch in advance for meal planning.  And it is downright delicious.

So if you’re looking for a lighter yet still super-hearty meal to make this winter, grab a cabbage at the market (it’s in season!) and let’s simmer a big pot of soup together.

Green Cabbage for Spicy Vegetarian Cabbage Soup

Vegetarian Cabbage Soup Ingredients:

So as I said, the ingredient list for this vegetarian cabbage soup recipe is super flexible!  Especially when it comes to veggies/potatoes/beans.  Feel free to just use whatever you love and already have on hand, and skip what you don’t.  :)  To make this cabbage soup, you will need:

  • Onion and garlic: These two are a must to help flavor the soup.
  • Cabbage: I recommend using standard green cabbage for this soup.  For a shortcut, feel free to just purchase a bag of shredded green cabbage instead of chopping it yourself.
  • Diced tomatoes and green chiles: I used two cans of fire-roasted Ro*Tel tomatoes and green chiles here, which were delicious.  Feel free to use hot or mild varieties.  Or if you would like to skip the chiles altogether, you can just use cans of regular or fire-roasted diced tomatoes.
  • Other veggies: I cleaned out my fridge with this batch, using carrots, celery, Yukon gold potatoes, and spinach…plus a jar of roasted red peppers. But please use whatever veggies you love!  (For a shortcut, you can also use a bag of frozen mixed veggies…plus a small bag of frozen diced potatoes, if you’d like.)
  • Veggie stock: This will help to season the soup, so find a good one.
  • Beans: These are totally optional, but feel free to add in a can of any type of beans you like for extra protein.
  • Seasonings: I used ground cumin, a good pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, and lots of freshly-cracked black pepper.  A pinch of dried oregano would also be delicious here.  Or if you prefer a more Italian-seasoned soup, see notes below under “Variations.”

Healthy Spicy Cabbage Soup Recipe | Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten-Free

How To Make Cabbage Soup:

This soup is easy to make on the stovetop, or also in the Instant Pot (pressure cooker) or Crock-Pot (slow cooker) — you pick!  The method is basically the same for each.  Simply:

  1. Sauté the onions and garlic: Small step that adds big flavor.  Or if you’re in a hurry (or using a slow cooker), you can skip this step and just add them in with everything else in the next step.
  2. Add just about everything else: Except the greens.  We’ll stir those in at the very end.
  3. Cook until soft: Depending on your cooking method, either:
    • Stovetop: Bring the soup to a simmer.  Then reduce heat to maintain the simmer, cover, and cook until the veggies have softened.
    • Pressure cooker: Cover and cook on high pressure until the veggies have softened.
    • Slow cooker: Cover and cook on high or low heat (your preference) until the veggies have softened.
  4. Season: Stir in the greens.  Then taste and season the soup with salt and pepper, as needed.  And if you think it needs more cumin and/or crushed red pepper flakes too, add ’em in.
  5. Serve: Then garnish with some fresh herbs if you’d like (optional), and serve nice and warm!

Healthy Vegetarian Cabbage Soup Recipe

Variations:

  • Want a faster soup? Feel free to use any of these shortcuts:
    • Use a bag of frozen mixed veggies and frozen diced potatoes, instead of chopping everything by hand
    • Use a bag of shredded green cabbage, instead of chopping a head of cabbage by hand
  • Want a spicier soup?  Feel free to either:
    • Opt for the “hot” variety of Ro*Tel tomatoes and green chiles
    • Add in more crushed red pepper flakes
    • Add in a finely-diced jalapeño or two (sauté it along with the onions)
  • Want a milder soup? Feel free to either:
    • Omit the crushed red pepper flakes
    • Use cans of fire-roasted tomatoes (instead of a tomato and green chile mixture)
  • Prefer Italian seasonings?  No prob, simply:
    • Omit the cumin and add in 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
    • Use cans of fire-roasted tomatoes (instead of a tomato and green chile mixture)
    • Garnish with fresh Italian parsley, fresh basil, and/or lots of Parmesan cheese
  • Have other veggies on hand?  Toss ’em in!  The veggie list in this recipe is super-flexible, so feel free to just use whatever you like or already have on hand.

Storage Instructions:

To store cabbage soup, let it cool close to room temperature.  Then transfer it to sealed containers and either refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.  (This soup freezes beautifully!)

Enjoy, everyone! 

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Spicy Vegetarian Cabbage Soup

This Spicy Vegetarian Cabbage Soup recipe is chock-full of healthy veggies, it’s naturally vegan and gluten-free, and so hearty and delicious!  See notes above for possible variations, including how to make the soup more spicy or mild.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 2 (10-ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes and green chiles (or simply fire-roasted tomatoes, for a milder soup)
  • 1 (15-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small green cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more/less, to taste)
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach or kale
  • Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste
  • optional toppings: chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Stir in garlic and sauté for 1-2 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
  2. Add in the vegetable stock, carrots, celery, potatoes, tomatoes and green chiles, roasted red peppers, beans, cabbage, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, and stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Stir in the greens until combined.  Then taste and season the soup with salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Serve warm, garnished with toppings if desired.

Crockpot Cabbage Soup Instructions:

  1. Add onion, garlic, vegetable stock, carrots, celery, potatoes, tomatoes and green chiles, roasted red peppers, beans, cabbage, cumin, and crushed red pepper flakes to the bowl of a large (6-quart) slow cooker.  Stir to combine.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours, until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Stir in the greens until combined.  Then taste and season the soup with salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Serve warm, garnished with toppings if desired.

Instant Pot Cabbage Soup Instructions:

  1. Press the “Sauté” button on your Instant Pot.  Add oil.  Then once it is heated and shimmering, add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Stir in garlic and sauté for 1-2 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.  Press “Cancel” to turn off the heat.
  2. Add in the vegetable stock, carrots, celery, potatoes, tomatoes and green chiles, roasted red peppers, beans, cabbage, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, and stir to combine. Close lid securely and set vent to “Sealing”.  Press “Manual”, then press “Pressure” until the light on “High Pressure” lights up, then adjust the +/- buttons until time reads 25 minutes.  Cook.  Then very carefully, turn the vent to “Venting” for quick release, and wait until all of the steam has released and the valve has dropped.  Remove lid.
  3. Stir in the greens until combined.  Then taste and season the soup with salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Serve warm, garnished with toppings if desired.
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Vegetarian Cabbage Soup Recipe | Gimme Some Oven

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4 comments on “Spicy Vegetarian Cabbage Soup”

  1. Yummy! This is going to be my favorite recipe!

  2. I never think of using cabbage anymore (weird, because I had it all the time as a kid– my grandma used it a lot!), but I’ve been on the hunt for new soup recipes for the fall. This looks like the perfect addition to our biweekly meal plan– totally going to try this in our Instant Pot! Thank you so much!!!

  3. I vote for the Italian version! I’ll be making this often through the winter, partly to keep some of the winter fat at bay :-) Bay leaf would be a good flavor add too. Thanks for the inspiration.