Cheesy Cabbage & White Bean Soup

April 23, 2021
16 Ratings
Photo by Cara Howe
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

This fantastic soup is inspired by a Martha Rose Shulman recipe, from her New York Times “Recipes for Health” column, where cabbage is cooked in a combination of broth and milk. My adaptation tastes sophisticated even without any dairy (thanks to cabbage, that chameleon, showing off a whole new side of itself when cooked), but the Gruyère makes the soup absolutely elegant. I’ve added white beans for heft and creaminess. Taste carefully for seasoning toward the end—I find that after adding the cheese I need to add a bit more salt to bring the flavors into balance.

From the book START SIMPLE by Lukas Volger. Copyright © 2020 by Lukas Volger. Published on February 18, 2020 by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission. —Lukas Volger

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, or 2 leeks, white parts only, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium head green or Savoy cabbage, shredded (about 5 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, including the liquid, or 4 cups cooked white beans with a few ladlesful of their broth
  • 5 cups vegetable broth, or 1 tablespoon bouillon base dissolved in 5 cups water
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère or Parmesan cheese, or 1 1⁄2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fried breadcrumbs or croutons, for serving (optional)
  1. Warm the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, then stir in the onions and garlic, followed by the cabbage and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, until just starting to soften, then add the beans and broth.
  2. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the broth is flavorful.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the cheese a handful at a time, stirring until it melts into the broth.
  4. Taste and season with additional salt, as needed (depending on the saltiness of your vegetable stock or bouillon, it may need quite a bit of salt, as the beans really soak it up), and a few grinds of pepper.
  5. Serve hot, topped with breadcrumbs or croutons, if desired.

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I'm the author of BOWL and 2 other cookbooks, founder of the Made by Lukas line of fresh veggie burgers, and editorial director of Jarry.

10 Reviews

[email protected] January 26, 2023
My husband liked the soup more than I did. The soup was fine, but it was not really a good cabbage soup nor a great cheese soup. It was somewhere in between. If I wanted a healthy cabbage soup, I would not add all of that cheese. If I wanted a creamy, gooey calorie-laden cheese soup, I would not choose this option. So I will not make this again.
Charlene V. January 21, 2023
Delicious! I just finished making it and it tastes great and will likely improve as it sits. I added the savory suggested by another reviewer as well as a bay leaf with the beans and broth. I think a Parmesan rind would be a great addition as well. Before adding the cheese, I scooped out about half of the solids, puréed the remaining soup with an immersion blender, then added the solids back in. Made it more creamy than brothy, which is my preference; I also used only 4 cups of broth. Then I added the cheese, a combo of sharp white cheddar and Parmesan, both vegetarian. Yum!
gharader August 31, 2022
A really lovely vegetarian soup. I added two teaspoons of dried winter savory while cooking the vegetables and used sharp white cheddar. Delicious.
Jwalli February 8, 2022
I used sharp white cheddar. Delicious and easy. Will make again. I saved it in my notes app as a great recipe for leftover green cabbage.
Kik December 24, 2021
Made almost to letter and it came out great. Added the juice of one lemon at the end for a little acidity.
Belinda September 21, 2021
So good and easy! Decadent like French onion soup but better!
Valerie G. November 16, 2020
This was good, quick, and easy. Simple home food, thank you. My only complaint would be that it is a little plain, as I like my food I little more flavored. I used gruyere but the flavor of that cheese (one of my favorites) did not come through. Maybe parmesan or something less expensive would do just as well. Or a cheese with more of a punch.
LLinMpls May 23, 2020
I was looking for something to make for dinner tonight and ran across this recipe and had everything in the house to make it. I dragged out the Cuisinart to shred the cabbage and realized I could also use it for the garlic, onions and the Gruyere. I didn't even have to touch a knife, it doesn’t get any easier. I wasn’t really expecting much, but this soup is really good, like shockingly seriously good. Even Mr. Meat-and-Potatoes had another bowl! I’ll definitely be making this one again.
Danna F. May 2, 2020
This was comfort food to the max. Makes so much there's plenty in the freezer for another meal.
Donald May 1, 2020
So delicious. I've made this soup with Parmesan, Cheddar and without cheese (just a few spoons of miso paste). So much pleasure for so little work.