I’m not the biggest cabbage fan; too many boiled dinners as a kid, I guess. However, every summer we get a couple of ridiculously huge cabbages from the CSA – we have one in the fridge right now that is the size of my torso. So, not liking cabbage in general, and defnitely not a fan of either sauerkraut or cole slaw, what’s a girl with a ton o’ cabbage to do?
I posed this question a couple of years ago to my friend Christina, who said she had a great soup recipe that used a lot of cabbage. I was skeptical; cabbage soup? So very Charile and the Chocolate Factory (not to mention Oliver, please, sir, may I have some more?) But I was desperate, and as it turns out the soup is really good – delicate and refreshing, yet satisfying, this has become one of my go-to recipes when the torso-sized cabbage lands in my CSA bag. It’s quite adaptable to different seasonal vegetables and I’ve made many different versions; it seems that the cabbage and the tomato paste are the two must-have ingredients for this soup – everything else can be modified.
I still have the dog-eared photocopy of Christina’s recipe card for this soup, in her handwriting; every time I use it, I smile. I also still have most of a torso’s worth of cabbage in the fridge, and more may be on the way this Wednesday; if you have any go-to cabbage recipes, please share in the comments!
Adapted from Christina’s Garden Vegetable Soup recipe.
Christina’s Garden Vegetable Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 large red onion (about 1 and 1/2 cups diced)
- 5 large garlic cloves
- 1 and 1/2 cups diced carrot
- about 5 garlic scapes (1/2 cup) diced to 1/4-inch
- 6 cups (8 oz) chopped green cabbage
- 8 cups stock, chicken or vegetable (I used water + 6 tbsp Better than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped, or 2 tsp dried
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium radishes, scrubbed and sliced very thinly
- In a medium stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until water droplets sizzle and skip on the surface of the oil. Add the carrots, onions, garlic and garlic scapes. Lower heat and saute until tender and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add stock (or water and bouillon), tomato paste, herbs, salt, pepper and cabbage. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer; simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Taste broth, adjust and seasonings, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add sliced radishes and warm through (about 2 minutes). Serve with crusty bread and a cold local brewski.
Serves 8 – 10.
- The original recipe calls for the addition of green beans and zucchini; I usually add the green beans, in season, but never the zucchini (Tai refers to zucchini as “The Evil Weed“). Any mix of garden veggies work well in this recipe – it is very adaptable, and if you find that you’ve added too much of the garden’s bounty, just add more stock, herbs and spices.
- Kale or other leafy greens work well in soup in general, but give this soup a completely different flavor; this soup is very light and refreshing, and the cabbage seems to be the unique ingredient that gives it it’s flavor. Kale, arugula, chard or other strongly flavored greens will change the flavor of this soup and are best left to other recipes, like Chock Full o’ Greens Soup, Caldo Verde, or fritatta.
The soup will keep well in the fridge for about 5 days. This also freezes well for up to 6 months.
Summer into fall.