Rustic Cabbage Soup

Rustic Cabbage Soup Recipe

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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Okay, I've never been a big cabbage fan, but I'll try this one for you. Your bulgur, celery, and pomengranate recipe saved me during a snowstorm last week. So, here's to giving old tastes a new shot in the new year! wishing you the best!

I was lucky enough to get a mystery box this week. What an awesome selection! I'm a J&A friend and CSA subscriber, and this "challenging" box was so much more exciting. Tonight we had potato soup, romanesco with cheese sauce (I have kids), and arugula salad with cippolini and toasted almonds. I was wishing I could get it together to post about how great everything was, but never got to photographing. Now I can just post to you. Thanks!

yumi!! sounds so great...i just got some cabbage and its still a bit nippy at night in Southern California. i could totally see myself eating this in front of the tv watching American Idol


Soups like this are great with a little walnut oil instead of evoo. Mmmmm.

I love mystery boxes. When I lived in DC, my coworker and I subscribed to a mystery box service from a local farm. We'd pay 80 total and then split the spoils on the floor of my office. Our coworkers always thought we were nuts as we counted out potatoes or oranges or little containers of homemade yogurt. We'd spend the rest ofthe week trading the way little kids do with lunch. I'd come in and say "You know, I don't think I'll be using the carrots afterall, want to trade for those eggs you didn't think you'd be able to finish?" or "I'll give you three white peaches for that canteloupe." I particularly like the way it forces you to use what's in season (well, unless you find someone willing to trade with you.)

Looks inviting, though I like my soups a little more creamy...I made a roasted cauliflower and bell-pepper soup recently:) never tried one with cabbage yet....

This sounds absolutely yummy. I just bought a head of cabbage and have been craving soup so looks like this delicious recipe will be on the menu. Thanks for all the great recipes, Heidi. Sandy

it's not as COLORFUL as the other stuff you make... i miss the color.


The cabbage soup sounds wonderful! I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that likes beans and cabbage together! And your mystery boxes....what fun!

Your timing is just SO perfect! I got my first delivery from last nice and what should I find in there but a big fat cabbage?? so excited to try this...

Heidi, there are few places on the web that I frequent, but yours is one. Being that I am a web designer by day, I often could pass on surfing, but your images always stop me. Your recipes always deliver. Simple, but well thought out. Spontaneous, but considerate. Thanks, Lollya

I've been looking for a good store bought veggie stock for some time now. Do you use the rapunzel with salt or without salt? wondering if its like butter where unsalted is better so you can adjust seasoning yourself. Love your site, its been the source of many yummy and inspired meals.


Would this not solve the nearly nightly question "What am I going to make for supper tonight?" I love this idea and wish I lived in an area that provided something like this. What a great way to avoid the same old same old. ps: I have been looking for purple carrots ever since the first post.


I love Mariquita Farms! I have been a member of their CSA on and off since I moved to the bay area. I attribute their CSA with my learning how to cook unusual vegetables--for example, I got a bunch of cardoon from them last spring. Cardoon?! when do you ever see that in the grocery store?? Also, since you don't dictate what you get every week, I found that I was cooking more adventurously in order to use up everything that I got each week. More veggies, unusual preparations--it's a win-win situation. Thanks for highlighting them--they're great!

Heidi - My mystery box had a purple cabbage - would this work as well?


This sounds wonderful! I can't eat a lot of starch, though - what might be a good replacement for the potatoes? Would parsnips get too mushy?

Hmmm - I was going to use up the half cabbage in my fridge as a vegetable to accompany tonight's spaghetti bolognese.... now I'm not so sure, as I shall need to make soup tomorrow, and your recipe really looks good! I love cabbage soup (I think it's specially good if you put the outside leaves of a cauliflower in there, too, and as tomorrow night's supper is to be cauliflower cheese, I think I just might use the outside leaves with the cabbage). All of which means I'll have to get another green vegetable for tonight.... hmmm..... or buy another cabbage, of course!

Mrs Redboots

what a great way to use some of those left over cabbage that always seem to slip my mind.

We tried getting a weekly surprise basket of local produce here in Chicago, but somehow ended up with raspberries from California. Oh well. They said it was "supplemental." I'd have rather gotten just 10 lbs of local onions. I hope this isn't inappropriate, but beans AND cabbage? My stomach is cramping at just the thought. I've been avoiding both of those foods (and I miss them terribly) because of the gas/bloat/cramp problem. Does anyone have a solution? How do the rest of you do it?


This is perfect. I just purchased a head of cabbage and was trying to figure out what to do with it. I enjoy your site so much! Thanks!

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