This easy Cabbage Roll Soup has all the rich, comforting flavor and classic ingredients of traditional stuffed cabbage rolls (rice! ground beef! tender cabbage!) and none of the hassle of making them. Hello, cozy dinner!
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Why You’ll Love This Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup Recipe
- Cabbage Rolls, Unstuffed and Easier. This easy cabbage roll soup takes its inspiration from classic Cabbage Rolls. You’ll find the same core cabbage roll ingredients—ground beef, rice, cabbage, a savory tomato broth—reimagined as a healthy, hearty, and nourishing soup. Think of it as unstuffed cabbage roll soup: you get the cabbage roll flavor, for way less fuss! (For another “unstuffed” recipe, check out this top-rated Stuffed Pepper Casserole.)
- Complete Meal in One Pot. This hearty cabbage roll soup, simply made in one pot, will undoubtedly fill you up. Not all soups eat like a meal, but this is definitely one you don’t need to round out with any sides. (Although if you do want to pair it with something else, I share some ideas below!)
- Cabbage: An Under-Rated Superstar. When it comes to a minimalist ingredient with max potential, cabbage is a poster child. It can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks, it’s surprisingly inexpensive, and it’s super versatile. While cabbage tends to be a humble ingredient, it has a chance to shine here, becoming delightfully tender and flavorful in the broth.
5 Star Review
“This is one of my all-time favorite soups! I have made it at least five times.”— Kaitlyn —
How to Make Cabbage Roll Soup
- Ground Beef. I opt for lean ground beef to keep this recipe hearty and healthy. Thanks to its affordability, hamburger meat is an excellent ingredient for preparing budget-friendly and easy Ground Beef Dinner Ideas, like Ground Beef and Potatoes, Crock Pot Hamburger Soup, and Ground Beef Taco Skillet.
- Carrots + Parsnips. Two delicious root vegetables that help build flavor and add nutritional value to the soup. (I also love this combo in Crockpot Beef Stew and Beef Barley Soup.)
- Green Cabbage. You’ll have about half a head of cabbage leftover. Use it to make Sauteed Cabbage, Winter Slaw, or Cabbage Stir Fry.
- Beef Broth + Tomato Sauce. The two main liquids for our soup. Both help build the soup’s rich flavor.
- Brown Rice. Following classic cabbage roll ingredients, I made this a cabbage roll soup with rice. Brown rice helps make it more hearty, filling, and adds extra fiber.
- Herbs. Bay leaves, thyme, and oregano bring scrumptious flavor to the soup as it simmers. Fresh parsley would be another nice addition.
- Worcestershire Sauce. While Worcestershire sauce is typically gluten free, some brands may contain gluten-containing ingredients or may be manufactured in facilities that are not certified gluten free. If you are particularly sensitive to gluten, I recommend checking the ingredient label.
- Sherry Vinegar. For a touch of brightness and acidity. It rounds the soup and makes it taste complete.
- Maple Syrup. A touch of sweetness to balance the acidity of the tomatoes and sherry vinegar.
- Brown the Beef. Season the beef with salt and pepper and cook until browned.
- Cook the Veggies. Add the carrots, parsnips, and onions, then stir in the garlic.
- Build the Broth. Add the broth, tomato sauce, rice, herbs, maple syrup, Worcestershire, and red pepper flakes.
- Add Cabbage. Let the mixture boil, then reduce to a simmer. Stir in the cabbage.
- Simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove the soup from the heat, and stir in the vinegar. ENJOY!
- Use White Rice. Yes, you can swap white rice for brown rice in this recipe. Add the cabbage at the same time as the beef broth in Step 3. Let the entire pot simmer for 25 to 30 minutes only (vs. the 45 minutes total needed for brown rice; white rice cooks more quickly).
- Try Another Meat. You could also make this into a cabbage roll soup with ground turkey, lamb, or chicken. For another twist, try cabbage roll soup with sausage (or ground pork). You could also use a 50/50 blend of beef and pork. For a meat-free version of this recipe that uses white beans instead of beef, check out this simple Cabbage Soup recipe.
- Skip the Parsnips. If you can’t find parsnips, you could try swapping in additional carrots or even a different root veggie, like sweet potato or white potato.
- Make It Low Carb. For a low-carb unstuffed cabbage roll soup, you can experiment with replacing brown rice with cauliflower rice: omit the rice from the recipe, reduce the amount of beef broth to 3 cups, and stir in 1 1/2 to 2 cups cauliflower rice towards the end of the soup’s cooking time to warm the cauliflower rice through.
- To Store. Refrigerate soup in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat. You may also microwave if desired.
- To Freeze. You can freeze stuffed cabbage roll soup. Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Plan Tip
Chop all the vegetables up to 1 day in advance, and store them in the refrigerator.
What to Serve with Stuffed Cabbage Soup
- Salad. A hearty salad like Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad or Winter Salad are fantastic with this comfort food soup!
- Bread. Soak up the tomato-y broth with Crock Pot Bread, Rosemary Olive Oil Bread, or Homemade Dinner Rolls.
- Sandwiches. This soup is plenty filling so you probably wouldn’t want a big meaty sandwich on the side, but an Air Fryer Grilled Cheese would be perfection!
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Dutch Oven. A kitchen tool that will last you a lifetime.
- Extra Large Cutting Board. You’ll love having the extra space when chopping all the ingredients for this soup.
- Ladle. The ultimate soup serving tool.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Cut the Vegetables in Evenly Sized Pieces. This is always a key tip for soup recipes! It ensures that all of the vegetables are softened so you don’t get crunchy bits of onions or carrots in your soup.
- Make Sure the Cabbage Is Cut to Spoon Size. For easy eating, you don’t want large slices or chunks of cabbage—each piece should fit in a spoon. You don’t want to have to use a knife to cut your soup in the bowl!
- A Note on Adapting It. I have not played around with preparing this recipe as a crockpot cabbage roll soup or instant pot recipe. I’m sure tweaks could be made to adapt the recipe, however. If you choose to experiment, I would love to hear the results. Check out this Instant Pot Chicken and Rice and this Crockpot Chicken and Rice Soup for ideas on cook times.
Cabbage Roll Soup
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- 1 pound lean ground beef (or try with ground turkey or ground pork sausage)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper plus additional to taste
- 4 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch dice
- 2 medium parsnips peeled and cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch dice
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 4 cups low sodium beef broth
- 24 ounces tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice* (see recipe notes below)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (check your label to ensure it's a gluten-free brand)
- 4 springs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 5 cups green cabbage chopped (about half of a small head)
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Heat a Dutch oven or similar large soup pot over medium-high. Add the beef, salt, and pepper. With a wooden spoon or sturdy plastic spoon or spatula, break apart the meat into pieces.
- Once the meat is broken up, add the carrots, parsnips, and onions. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned and the vegetables begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1 additional minute, until very fragrant.
- Add the beef broth, tomato sauce, rice, bay leaves, maple syrup, Worcestershire, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
- Bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cabbage.
- Continue simmering until the cabbage and rice are tender, about 25 to 35 minutes more. Check and stir periodically.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Fish out and discard the bay leaves and thyme stems. Stir in the vinegar. Cover and let the soup rest for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to marry and the soup to thicken a bit further, then taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Enjoy hot.
- *SUBSTITUTION TIP: To use white rice instead of brown: add the cabbage at the same time as the beef broth in Step 3. Let the entire pot simmer for 25 to 30 minutes only (vs. the 45 minutes total needed for brown rice; white rice cooks more quickly).
- TO STORE: Refrigerate soup in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftover soup in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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