Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
If you love cabbage rolls then you’ll love this cabbage roll soup recipe! My husband and I love cabbage rolls, but rolling up the meat in the cabbage leaves and then baking for a few hours can be very tedious. I decided to take all the flavors of cabbage rolls and make it into a hearty soup instead!
The soup is full of cabbage, tender rice, seasoned ground beef, and a flavorful tomato broth. It’s warm and comforting, perfect for winter or cool Fall nights.
Best of all? It’s ready in under an hour with minimal prep and hands-on time. The soup simmers for 30 minutes, which infuses the tomato broth with the herbs and spices. It’s great for meal prep – just reheat bowls of soup for a quick and easy dinner throughout the week.
You’ll love this recipe because:
- Olive oil – Olive oil adds a flavorful base for sautéing the ingredients, but you can use avocado oil if you prefer.
- Ground beef – I used 90/10 ground beef in this soup recipe, but you can also use leaner ground beef for a healthier option or opt for a higher fat content for added richness. You can also use ground pork, ground turkey, ground chicken or a combination of any of these meats in this recipe instead. For a vegetarian cabbage roll soup, use your favorite plant-based ground meat alternative.
- Onion – I used yellow onion in this recipe, but a white onion will work as well.
- Carrots – Cut the carrots into bite sized pieces so that they aren’t too big in the soup. You want them to be visible, but not so big that they take the spoon when you’re taking a bite.
- Green cabbage – Cut the cabbage into small chunks so that the cabbage is big enough to be visible, but not so big that it’s hard to eat. I like to do a very rough shred. Finely shredded cabbage will not work as well. The process photos will help you see how big to cut the cabbage. If green cabbage is unavailable, you can use Napa cabbage or savoy cabbage instead.
- Diced tomatoes – Opt for high-quality canned tomatoes without added salt or seasonings for the best flavor. If you don’t have diced tomatoes, you can use canned crushed tomatoes as a substitute.
- Tomato sauce – Avoid tomato sauces with added sugars or excessive sodium. If you don’t have tomato sauce, you can use tomato paste diluted with water or chicken broth.
- Broth – Use chicken broth or beef broth in this recipe. If you are on a gluten-free diet, be sure to check that your broth is gluten-free as some are not.
- Uncooked white rice – Use long-grain white rice for this recipe. The rice will cook in the broth, so the cook time in the recipe is very important to follow. You can use uncooked brown rice or even quinoa as a substitute, but you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly, as these grains may require different amounts of time to cook through.
- Worcestershire sauce – If you are gluten-free, be sure that you use gluten-free worcestershire sauce as not all are gluten-free since they sometimes add soy sauce, which contains wheat. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is certified gluten-free and can be found at almost any grocery store. If you don’t have Worcestershire sauce, you can use tamari or coconut aminos as a replacement. The flavor profile will be slightly different, but still delicious.
- Lemon juice – You won’t really taste the lemon juice in this recipe, but it adds a subtle brightness to the soup. Fresh lemon juice is best, but high-quality bottled lemon juice will work fine.
- Brown sugar – Just a touch of brown sugar is needed to provide subtle sweetness to the soup. It compliments the meat so well, but I promise it will not taste too sweet.
- Fresh parsley – Fresh parsley adds a vibrant flavor and appearance, so it’s worth including if possible. If you don’t have access to fresh parsley, use 1 tablespoon of dried parsley in its place.
- Dry herbs and spices – Dried oregano, paprika, salt and pepper are used in this recipe.
This cabbage roll soup is so easy to make on the stove top with just a few simple steps. The below photos with matching steps are not the full recipe, but are meant to help you see the recipe being made at various stages. Pay special attention to the size of the cabbage and carrots.
For the ingredient list with measurements, full instructions, printable recipe, and additional notes, please scroll down to the recipe card.
Yes! Cabbage Roll Soup is a great make-ahead dish. In fact, its flavors often deepen and develop even more when allowed to sit for a day or two. Simply store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat when ready to serve.
Yes, you can use pre-cooked rice in this soup. If you have leftover cooked rice, simply add it to the soup towards the end of the cooking process and simmer until heated through. Adjust the cooking time accordingly, as the rice won’t need as much time to cook as uncooked rice.
Yes, this soup recipe is gluten-free. Just be sure to use gluten-free chicken broth and gluten-free worcestershire sauce, as all brands are not gluten-free.
Absolutely! Cabbage roll soup can easily be made vegetarian or vegan by substituting the ground meat with plant-based alternatives. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and either buy a vegan Worcestershire sauce substitute (as worcestershire contains anchovies) or use tamari in its place.
hints & tips
- Storage: Store any leftover Cabbage Roll Soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be kept for up to 3-4 days, allowing you to enjoy it as a comforting meal throughout the week.
- Reheat: To reheat the refrigerated soup, simply transfer the desired portion to a saucepan and heat it over medium heat until warmed through. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating. If your soup has thickened too much during storage in the refrigerator, add an additional splash of chicken broth or water to the soup to get it to your desired consistency for serving.
Did you make this recipe?
I’d love to know! Please rate it and leave a comment below. You can also share your pictures and tag @adashofmegnut on Instagram.
Cabbage Roll Soup
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
- 2 cups yellow onion (diced (about 1 medium onion))
- 1 cup carrots (sliced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 lb green cabbage (chopped (about 1 medium head of cabbage))
- 30 oz diced tomatoes
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 6 cups chicken or beef broth (gluten-free if need be)
- 1 cup uncooked white rice
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce (gluten-free if need be)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
- Preheat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Once heated, add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook until the beef is browned, about 5-6 minutes, making sure to break up the meat with a spatula while it cooks.
- Add the olive oil and onions and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and carrots and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure the garlic does not burn.
- Stir in chopped cabbage and cook for a few minutes until it softens.
- Mix in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, uncooked white rice, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, paprika, and oregano. Stir to combine.
- Bring the soup to a boil. Then let simmer and cover with a lid.
- Cook for 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
- Top with fresh parsley before serving.
- If you use brown rice, you will need to increase the simmer time to about 50-60 minutes, until the rice is tender.
- I’ve used red cabbage in place of the green cabbage before with great results.
- You can use chicken broth or beef broth in this recipe. Many store-bought broths contain gluten, so be sure to check the ingredients and packaging to ensure it is gluten-free if need be.
- Not all brands of worcestershire sauce are gluten-free. If you are on a gluten-free diet or have celiac disease, I like the Lea & Perrins brand which is certified gluten-free.