Rustic Cabbage Soup Recipe

Hearty, healthy, and satistfying - this cabbage soup recipe is super simple to make. Slice a cabbage into thin ribbons and cook it down in a simple pot of sauteed potatoes, onions, beans, garlic and flavorful broth. Finished each bowl with a generous drizzle of great olive oil and a dusting of shredded cheese.

Rustic Cabbage Soup

Every few weeks I get in my car, cash in pocket, and drive to a pre-determined location. This is where I meet my dealer. I turn over a wad of greenbacks and she hands off a huge bag of the good stuff. Most of the time I don't really know exactly what I'm paying for. I scurry back to my car, drop the booty in the trunk, peel back the plastic and peer inside. If I'm lucky a neighborhood streetlight will be nearby to illuminate the contents of the bag. This time of year I might see the eyes of impossibly petite potatoes peering back at me, they could be nestled alongside a kaleidoscope of vibrantly colored carrots, or shouldered up against a of pile of parsnips. It's a mystery box, and $25 gets me something like twenty pounds of meticulously grown delights direct from Mariquita Farm in Watsonville, Ca (just down the coast from us city folk). Today's rustic cabbage soup recipe was inspired by the contents of their latest delivery. I sliced a moon-shaped cabbage into thin ribbons and cooked it down in a simple pot of sauteed potatoes, onions, garlic and flavorful broth. Each bowl was finished with a generous drizzle of great olive oil and a dusting of shredded cheese.

But before I get too far ahead of myself on the soup front, let me tell you a bit more about Mariquita Farm and what Andy and Julia are doing. There's a bit of back story...I used to buy produce from Mariquita at the farmers market on Saturdays. After many years they decided not to do the market anymore (long story). Keep in mind Mariquita sells my all-time favorite carrots, and I was convinced I was going to have to find a new source. Not the case, Julia emailed some of her regulars last summer mentioning that she would be making the occasional delivery to San Francisco...would we be interested in doing a pick-up? She also mentioned the option of buying one of Andy's specially curated mystery boxes - which have since become all the rage.

Cabbage Soup Recipe

This isn't a CSA, it's more guerilla than that. As it stands now, every other week(ish) Julia and Andy pack a huge delivery truck with many, many mystery boxes. Julia then climbs into the big truck and navigates her way over the Santa Cruz mountains down into Silicon Valley and then north toward San Francisco proper. She parks the truck in front of a previously designated neighborhood restaurant and people come from all over the city to trade cash for mystery crops. It's great. I try all manner of ingredients I might not buy otherwise - and as you can see from the photos, they're beautiful and bright because Andy takes such care in growing and handling them.

With out sounding too mushy, this is just one more reason I love living in San Francisco. On a good night, not only do I go home with the box (er, bag - the boxes get reused), but sometimes I even get to sit down for a drink or slice of pizza and catch up with Julia. It's a real treat.

Cabbage Soup Recipe

A note to any Mariquita fans in SF: The Mariquita laptop was stolen and their mailing list was lost entirely. If you're interested in knowing when/where future mystery nights are taking place you can mail Julia from this page.

A few related links:

- Mariquita Farm (website)
- The Ladybug Letter (Mariquita blog)
- Julia's blog
- Mariquita Farm's Mysterious Thurdays

I threw this cabbage soup together last night, it was even better when I ate the leftovers for lunch today. I suspect many of you have all the ingredients needed on hand. Well, maybe not the cabbage. Pick one up and give it a try.

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Rustic Cabbage Soup Recipe

Chances are I'm not making my own stock on the average weeknight. I am a big fan of Rapunzel Herb Bouillon (available at many stores), I use about 1/2 of one cube in a soup like this to kick things off - it makes a nice, light but flavorful broth. I'll crush it into a powder and add it to the pot just before I add water. I had some Rancho Gordo flageolet beans already cooked so I used them here, but no worries if you have to turn to the can. For the vegans out there, just skip the Parmesan, and you're in business.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
a big pinch of salt
1/2 pound potatoes, skin on, cut 1/4-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cups stock (see head notes)
1 1/2 cups white beans, precooked or canned (drained & rinsed well)
1/2 medium cabbage, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch ribbons

more good-quality extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Warm the olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the salt and potatoes. Cover and cook until they are a bit tender and starting to brown a bit, about 5 minutes - it's o.k. to uncover to stir a couple times. Stir in the garlic and onion and cook for another minute or two. Add the stock and the beans and bring the pot to a simmer. Stir in the cabbage and cook for a couple more minutes, until the cabbage softens up a bit. Now adjust the seasoning - getting the seasoning right is important or your soup will taste flat and uninteresting. Taste and add more salt if needed, the amount of salt you will need to add will depend on how salty your stock is (varying widely between brands, homemade, etc)...

Serve drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a generous dusting of cheese.

Serves 4.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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It was 10 degrees here this morning, so a big bowl of hot soup sounds wonderful right about now--and I even have all the ingredients on hand. I never would have thought to combine potatoes, beans, and cabbage, but your recipe looks and sounds delish. I love Joyce's suggestion to add caraway seeds and a can of diced tomatoes. I was thinking maybe some fresh herbs from the greenhouse. But of course that's the most wonderful thing about soup--there's an infinite number of ways to make even the simplest recipe!

Farmgirl Susan

Thank you for a lovely recipe! Your recipies are a real inspiration for us all! And your photos are lovely.


Hi Heidi, Do you think kale would work instead of cabbage if that's what one has on hand? Thanks for another great idea! deb


This is a delicious recipe. Tanks for posting


Potato and cabbage were made to go together. I was actually introduced to a variation of this soup a long, long time ago, when I was a dieting adolescent. The surprise was that I loved the "diet" soup (which perhaps defeated the purpose). But then, even back then I was improvising in the kitchen. I envy the year-round availability of locally grown produce in Heidi's neck of the woods. I also wish that we had easier access to CSAs, but there's an odd phenomenon in the Midwest right now, or at least in the St. Louis region. Farmers are getting out of CSA and choosing to sell at the markets (or to local-produce stores that are popping up, or to restaurants). At least I can read about Heidi's contraband!


Back in my college days (eons ago), a friend gave me his Russian grandmother's cabbage borscht recipe, which sounds a lot like this minus potatoes and beans and plus sour salt (citric acid) and tomatoes (she made it with beef broth of course). I still make it at least once every winter. Now I have a new cabbage soup to try!


Here in Sweden we have a few suppliers of organic produce who will deliver boxes to the door. Every week the contents change and while it's not a mystery box there's enough variety with the various boxes they offer that I'm often inspired to try completely new ingredients and combinations. And often I find myself turning to 101 Cookbooks for that inspiration! Thanks for a great post as usual Heidi.


oh yum! i'm definitely doing CSA starting in june -- i just heard about for the first time a few weeks ago and pretty much thought it was the best idea ever (you can't sign up in the middle of the six-month programs, which is why i have to wait till june -- although the farmer's market will tide me over). i think the "mystery box" will expand my cooking skills, too, because i'll get ingredients that i might not otherwise buy!


I had made a cabbage and potato soup with the huge head of cabbage that I picked up at the end of the farmer market season, and it was just the thing in blustery winter. Now I splurged on some Yukon Gold's from the grocery, so this might just have to end up in my soup pot! Mmm, I feel warmer already.


I live in Florida. It went down to 40 degrees. Brrrr. Just the right touch for tonight's dinner!


I think I know what I'm having for dinner on this chilly day.


We belonged to a food co-op when we were living in NYC (of all places) and it was wonderful coming up with recipes for the new and interesting things I'd find in my brown bag every 2 weeks. I miss it! BTW, Heidi, I met a young up and coming vegan cookbook author, Hannah Kaminsky (she lives in my town). Fantastic book with fantastic photos...and to think she's still a teenager! She said you might be featuring her at some point on your blog....I'll look forward to it! She's really incredible!

The Secret Ingredient

Yes! I am always looking for a new cabbage recipe. Such a frugal vegetable but I never know what to do with it.


This sounds like just the ticket for a really chilly day- no potatoes for us (diabetic husband) but I can add more beans!

Deborah Dowd

Good reminder of the simple things! This is an old favorite,long forgotten. The addition of some caraway seeds will give it an old world flavor for variety — also nice with a can of diced tomatoes. But just the way you made it is perfect for me. Nice story, too!


I'm trying this recipe today! It is snowing & windy...I need the comforting warm-up this soup can provide. Fantastic photos!


Simple foods are so comforting! I LOVE cabbage soup and instead of boullion, now carmelize a large yellow onion or two, with celery and carrot before adding the water and cabbage cut into chunks. Salt and pepper and some thyme and it's ready. One or two crimini's add just enough earthiness to do something special to the cabbage. It's so good, this kind of soup.


Heidi, thank you for all these great down to earth recipes, haven't tried any yet, but this soup will definately be on my stove this weekend!!

Karien from Johannesburg

your pictures are so beautiful!


It's 11:32 am my time in Baku and I was just wondering what I was going to make for dinner tonight when I get home from work. You know the there's-nothing-in-the-fridge routine. Then I stopped by your site (which I do daily) and there this simple and oh-so-good sounding recipe and as luck would have it, I have all the ingredients in my fridge! Thank you Heidi for your down to earth and delicious meals. They remind me that a meal doesn't have to take a ton of prep time, 24 steps and four hours. Most importantly, your creations encourage me to be a bit freer in the kitchen and less tied to following recipes verbatim. Thank you for that!

Julie in Baku

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