Make Ahead

Cabbage and Meatball Soup

September 22, 2015
14 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This soup is the happy result of a search through the refrigerator and pantry for a satisfying and filling meal. It is a warming, comforting choice during the cooler months. —Donna

Test Kitchen Notes

Loved this soup. Disclaimer: I have a real soft spot for cabbage soup, and this one did not disappoint. The flavor in this simple recipe was bang-on. It's not very complicated, so of course comes down to using good quality, fresh ingredients. But for an easy, weeknight soup that came together within an hour it has a ton of great flavor. I liked that the emulsifier in the meatballs was cream and not egg—it left the meatballs a little plainer, which was all the better foil to the broth and vegetables. I have a feeling this will be even better for lunch tomorrow after it sits all night. —Omeletta

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 small celery stalks, diced
  • 1 pinch Kosher salt, as needed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth (raise up to 6 cups if too thick)
  • 1/2 small green cabbage, thick core removed and sliced into narrow strips
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 pinch dried thyme leaves
  • 1 pinch freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces ground, lean beef sirloin or ground veal
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dillweed
  • 1/4 cup fresh, soft bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons cream, up to 4 tablespoons if it feels dry
  • 1 handful Rye bread croutons, to top
  • 1 handful Fresh parsley, chopped, to top
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a 4-quart soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery with a large pinch of salt, and stir. Cook until the vegetables have softened and browned just a little at the edges. Add about 2/3 of the minced garlic (reserve the remainder for the meatballs). Cook and stir until the garlic is fragrant. Add 5 cups of stock and raise the heat to bring the liquid to a brisk simmer. Drop the sliced cabbage into the pot with the bay leaf and thyme. Lower the heat and simmer the soup, with the pot lid ajar, until the vegetables are just tender.
  2. While the soup simmers, make the meatball mixture: In a medium bowl gently combine the ground meat, remaining 1/3 of garlic, allspice, dillweed, a good pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper, the breadcrumbs, and 3 tablespoons of cream. Mix together thoroughly and add another tablespoon of cream if the mixture seems dry. Scoop the meat into meatballs with a small dessert spoon and roll them in your moistened hands. Place on a dinner plate as you finish each one; you should have about 18 small meatballs.
  3. Check the soup pot and add the remaining cup of broth if you think the soup is too thick. Keep the soup at a gentle simmer as you add the meatballs to the pot. Let the meatballs cook in the soup for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Stir the pot gently and do not boil the mixture or the meatballs will fall apart. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and rye bread croutons.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jessica Assomull
    Jessica Assomull
  • Donna
  • jackhutton
  • Julie

10 Reviews

Jessica A. May 28, 2019
This was amazing! I had cabbage that I had already roasted and used. Awesome recipe.
Donna June 1, 2019
Thank you Jessica, I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Roasted cabbage sounds like a brilliant addition. All the best,
jackhutton December 31, 2018
This was good and easy -I’ll make it again
Donna January 5, 2019
Thank you for your kind comment, it's soup weather in most places now. All the best,
Julie November 28, 2018
Just one word to describe this soup - DELICIOUS!!! Will be making this a lot.
Donna December 2, 2018
Julie, I am so pleased to receive your kind comment! All the best,
Mehlberg D. November 27, 2018
A wonderful soup for a cold evening. The meatballs taste like delicate Swedish meatballs with the allspice and dill. A generous amount of black pepper lifted the flavor.
It was a good recipe for using the fall Farm Share vegetables.
Donna December 2, 2018
Thank you Mehlberg D. for your kind comment. I am so very pleased that you enjoyed the recipe. All the best,
Shawn November 16, 2018
Delicious great recipe-I made Venison meatballs!
Donna November 18, 2018
Thank you Shawn for your kind comment. Venison meatballs sound absolutely delicious! All the best,