Warm & Hearty Cabbage Beef Soup
A hearty yet light cabbage beef soup that’s low on the carbs but loaded with tons of flavor! This soup is warm and cozy but light enough to enjoy if you’re looking for something waistline-friendly!
This isn’t the cabbage soup of the late ’80s-’90s fad diet.
Today’s warm and hearty cabbage soup recipe is speckled with hearty veggies, a flavorful and warm broth and tons of tender chunks of meat! It’s light enough if you’re on a low carb diet and it’s bold in the flavor department. And if you aren’t really on a low carb thing, by all means, break out the crackers and the crusty bread because IMO this soup demands a baguette.
Cabbage soup, you’ve heard of it, right? Mostly veggies and a stock of some sort. Leaves you feeling as hungry as you were before you ate two bowls full. Well, not my cabbage beef soup! This soup is sure to fill you up and yet make you feel light as a feather afterward.
I’m BIG on soups in the winter and early springtime. When I’m feeling under the weather, I want something warm and comforting like my chicken corn soup or my flu-fighting chicken noodle made with turmeric and lemon to brighten things up. This cabbage beef soup is right up there though. It has a boatload of veggies but also tender chunks of stew meat, so it’s filling.
The inspiration for today’s cabbage beef soup is, of course, the aforementioned cabbage soup but also the instant pot beef and barley soup that so many of you have made and loved. The only real difference is that we drop the barley and the shredded potatoes and replace them with freshly chopped cabbage which makes this soup a whole lot lighter in the carbs department!
What do you need to make cabbage beef soup?
- stew meat
- beef stock
- white vinegar
- granulated sugar
- soy sauce
- dried herbs and spices
Why use stew meat for this cabbage soup?
Stew meat is beef that’s cut into cubes (or about 1-inch pieces) and it usually a chuck or round roast. It’s a tougher cut of meat that requires a longer cooking time over a low heat so that it breaks down and becomes tender making it ideal for braising.
Why use soy sauce?
Soy sauce gives this soup a deep, rich umami flavor. It works beautifully with the beef, and without tasting like soy sauce, it just enhances the other components. If you follow a gluten-free diet, be sure to swap the soy sauce for gluten-free tamari.
Can I add additional veggies?
I find the number of veggies in this soup to be just right for us. We’ve got carrots, celery, and cabbage. However, if you feel like it needs a little something else, you can always add in some defrosted peas along with the cabbage at the end.
How to make delicious cabbage beef soup
- Sear the meat in batches.
- Sauté the aromatics — the onions then the garlic.
- Let the soup simmer until the meat is fork-tender.
- Add the cabbage and allow it to become al-dente (or soft if you prefer it that way)
When it comes to the carrots and celery, you have two options. You can add the carrots and celery at the beginning, but I found that by the end of the cooking time, they were a little too overcooked for my taste. I like to add the carrots and celery around the last 30 minutes so that they’re cooked but not overly mushy! It’s your call though; you can sauté them with the onions and let them cook down, or add them a few minutes before the cabbage. There’s no right or wrong answer!
Why wait to add the cabbage at the end?
Adding the cabbage too soon will cause it to become too mushy and fall apart! Since this soup uses stew meat it requires a longer cooking time, it’s best to allow it to cook low and slow and then add the cabbage near the end to it’s not overcooked.
Can I make cabbage beef soup in the instant pot?
I’m confident that you can; however, I have not tried it myself. You would need to follow the searing of the meat, and the sautéing of the aromatics and then you’d want to add the remaining ingredients and cook the cabbage beef soup for roughly 30-32 minutes or until the meat was tender. You’ll want to add the cabbage once it’s done pressure cooking. Just add it in, stir and let it hang out for 30 minutes on the keep warm setting or the sauté setting until the cabbage cooks to your liking.
I hope you’ll put together a bowl of this hearty cabbage beef soup before the weather gets too warm for it!
I think it’s already a little too late for us now, Houston is already in the 80s!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ¼ pounds stew meat
- 1 cup chopped onions
- ½ cup EACH: sliced celery AND sliced carrots (see notes)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups beef stock
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon EACH: granulated sugar AND soy sauce (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon EACH: dried thyme, dried rosemary, garlic powder, AND onion powder
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ large cabbage, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- PREP: Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper and brown in batches for roughly 2-3 minutes per batch. Do not overcrowd the pot as the meat will steam rather than sear. Remove the browned beef to a plate.
- COOK: Add the onions, and scape down the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, Cook the onions for 4-6 minutes or until they start to turn translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the seared beef, sliced celery, carrots, beef stock, sugar soy sauce, vinegar, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, and bay leaf.
- SIMMER: Bring the stew to a boil before covering, lowering the heat, and allowing it to simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until the beef is tender. Add the cabbage during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking so that it doesn’t become too mushy. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as desired. Serve topped with chopped parsley alongside crackers or crusty bread!
- When it comes to the carrots and celery, you have two options. You can add the carrots and celery at the beginning, but I found that by the end of the cooking time, they were a little too overcooked for my taste. I like to add the carrots and celery around the last 30 minutes so that they’re cooked but not overly mushy! It’s totally your call though, you can sauté them with the onions and let them cook down, or add them a few minutes before the cabbage, there’s really no right or wrong answer!
- be sure to swap the soy-sauce for gluten-free tamari if you follow a GF diet.