White Bean and Cabbage Soup


This white bean and cabbage soup is extremely basic. I debated whether or not to post it because it’s almost too simple. However, it’s a current favorite, and so good that I’m sharing the recipe anyway.

This humble soup is also very inexpensive to make. It’s little more than beans, cabbage, onion, garlic, and bay leaf. I generally always have these ingredients on hand. They all keep a long time, which is helpful.

The recipe gets most of its flavor from the cabbage. (I love cabbage in soups. Check out this pozole recipe, and this cabbage and kielbasa soup post.) If you eat meat and have some homemade chicken stock you can sub it in. While it doesn’t need it, the stock makes it extra-special. For this recipe I use small white beans, which cook up fast enough that they don’t require soaking.

White Bean and Cabbage Soup (serves 8-10)

  • 4 oz olive oil
  • 1/2 large head green cabbage, or one small, sliced into inch long pieces, about 10-12 cups
  • 1 large yellow onion, small diced
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb dried small white beans (My favorite are Alubia Blancas, but navy beans will work. )
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 quarts water, plus more if needed (You can sub in some homemade chicken stock if you have it. )
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  1. Heat large soup pot over medium heat. Add oil. Let the oil heat up briefly, and then add the cabbage. Sweat the cabbage about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat if the cabbage is cooking too fast.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and sweat until cabbage loses about half of its volume and onion is translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Rinse and sort beans. Add to pot and cover with water. Add the bay leaves.
  4. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 1.5-2 hours or until beans are tender, seasoning with salt and pepper when beans are nearly done.
  5. Add vinegar and stir. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.


  • You can use larger beans if desired, but I would recommend soaking them ahead of time.
  • While I’m a big fan of the simplicity of this dish, it would be great with some fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, or parsley), lemon, or even tomato. Just don’t add anything acidic until the beans are cooked as it’ll make it harder for them to absorb the water.

6 comments on “White Bean and Cabbage Soup”

  1. This is such an excellent recipe, Erin, thanks! Love soup recipes that don’t require tons of stock…super frugal. I swapped out some of the water for chicken stock and used less cabbage. I also pureed some of it, but that’s unnecessary ’cause the beans cook up very tender. It also works as a great base for leftover sausage and/or vegetables like roasted red peppers, but I agree it doesn’t need much. The bean-cabbage combo make it. (Yum with an extra drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of parsley…;p) Also great time of year for this since cabbage is on sale for St. Patty’s day and it’s still FREEZING here in the Northeast. Next time I’m going full-on vegan with this one. -chuche


    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It’s a great idea to use it as a base for other ingredients. The olive oil sounds yummy too! We put some finely grated parm on the last batch and that was delicious too!


  2. Thanks for this recipe, Erin! So good and a great base to add leftover veggies and sausage. Love recipes that don’t require a ton of stock…so cheap and easy. 🙂


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