Are you a cabbage soup fan?
I love it! It’s hearty, filling, and full of all the good stuff. You can make a giant pot and eat it throughout the week and it’s the best thing to come into after being out in the cold. This cabbage soup is super savory, a little bit spicy, with bits of tender cabbage, meaty sausage, and sweet carrots. This cabbage soup is going to warm you right up!
Cabbage is one of those under appreciated vegetables. It’s not trendy like kale or sexy like heirloom tomatoes. Cabbage just is. It hangs out in the fridge section of the grocery store, doing its thing day after day. Cabbage is an unsung hero! It’s cheap, it keeps forever, and is SO versatile. Can you imagine a life without coleslaw, cabbage rolls, or kimchi?! Would we even be living? This soup celebrates cabbage for all that it is: silky and sweet, tender and soft.
This isn’t your classic cabbage soup
It’s based on Korean jjigae and it’s a little bit spicier and a lot more addictive. It gets its flavor from a healthy amount of kimchi: great for adding flavor (and more cabbage) and probiotics. This soup also features farmer’s sausage (or any other smoked sausage), onions, carrots, and cabbage of course! It’s flavorful, healthy, and comes together incredibly quickly. Make a pot and feed yourself for the week.
How to make cabbage soup
- Optional: Start off by browning some slices of smoked sausage, they’ll add a huge amount of meaty flavor.
- Sauté some onions, garlic, and ginger to add layers of warming flavors.
- Stir in the cabbage and vegetables along with some stock, kimchi, and seasonings.
- Simmer until everything is tender and cooked through and all the flavors have melded together.
The ingredients for this cabbage soup are pretty standard with a couple of extras to make it extra special. You have the usual suspects: green cabbage, onions, garlic, and carrots. Then we’re going to add in some kimchi for a bit of acidity and spice, gochujang, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil.
- Kimchi – they sell kimchi pretty much everywhere now and it’s no wonder why: it’s healthy, sour, addictive, and spicy. When you cook it, the flavors of kimchi mellow out and sweeten making it only slightly spicy and much more sweet.
- Gochujang – a savory, sweet, spicy fermented paste made from chili powder and sticky rice. It adds sweet and heat and a ton of flavor. Traditionally it comes in tubs, but these days you can find it in squeeze bottles in the Asian aisle of literally any grocery store (or online, as always).
- Soy sauce and toasted sesame oil – the soy sauce adds umami and saltiness while the toasted sesame oil adds a hint of round nuttiness that will make you want to eat bowl after bowl of this soup.
Vegetarian cabbage soup
The photos of this soup feature sausages, but you don’t need them. It tastes really good as a vegetarian soup too! To make this soup vegetarian, leave out the sausage and switch the stock to vegetable stock, and also make sure you use vegetarian kimchi.
Kimchi is traditionally made with tiny shrimp or fish, so by default it’s not vegetarian/vegan. Many popular brands, such as Chongga, color code their caps – green is traditional and red is vegan – but it’s not always true so be sure to check the ingredients.
Instant pot cabbage soup
To make this soup in the instant pot, turn the Instant Pot on Sauté high and brown the sausages, if using. Stir in the onions, ginger, and garlic. Add the remaining ingredients and set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 15 minutes. Quick release when done, taste and season.
Crock pot cabbage soup
To make this soup in a crock pot, just add all of the ingredients to the Crock Pot. If using, brown the sausages in a pan on the stove before hand. Cook for 8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high. Taste and season before enjoying.
How to prep and cut cabbage
- Wash the whole end and peel the first layer of leaves, which tend to be older and tougher.
- Lay the cabbage down on a cutting board, core side down. Slice through the middle of the cabbage with a large knife, cutting straight through the core.
- Place the cut sides down on the cutting board and cut in half again, vertically so you have a quarter cabbage.
- Cut out the core (that’s the solid looking part in the middle) at a slight angle.
- Cut the cored cabbage into bite size pieces.
What to serve with cabbage soup
Storing and freezing
You can keep this soup covered in the fridge for up to five days (hello meal prep!) or you can freeze it in an air tight container for up to three months. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Happy soup season!
Super savory little bit spicy cabbage soup with bits of tender cabbage, meaty sausage, and sweet carrots.
- 1 lb sausages sliced, farmers or kielbasa preferred, optional
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 inch ginger minced
- 8 cups chicken stock no sodium preferred, or vegetable stock
- 2 cups kimchi including juice
- 1-2 tbsp gochujang optional, see notes
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 head cabbage cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 carrots peeled and diced
- 2 tbsp green onions sliced, to finish
In a large pot, heat up a bit of oil over medium high heat. If using sausages, add the sliced sausages and cook until lightly browned on both sides, 3-4 minutes.
Stir in the onion, garlic, and ginger, and cook until the onion is soft, 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the chicken broth, kimchi with juice, gochujang, soy sauce, sesame oil, cabbage, and carrots. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until cabbage is tender and to your taste. Taste and season with salt and pepper and enjoy warm!
Estimated nutrition does not include sausages or gochujang.
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 13
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 0.2g1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.