This Savoy cabbage soup recipe is a hearty and comforting dish. Nourishing and full with fragrant flavours, this recipe for cabbage soup can be served as an appetizer as part of a weekend family meal or paired with bread for a healthy lunch or weeknight dinner. Chopped Savoy cabbage is cooked with aromatic vegetables in a savoury vegetable broth into the best cabbage soup recipe filled with goodness. Made in just 40 minutes, this fall soup recipe is a perfect warmer to get you through the colder winter months.
What is savoy cabbage?
Savoy cabbage is a type of cabbage that is characterised by its distinctive and unique appearance. It has crispy green leaves that are crinkly and curly giving it a beautiful ruffled texture. The outer leaves have a dark green colour that transitions to a lighter green-yellow hue towards the core. While the outer dark green leaves can be rather tough, the inner lighter coloured leaves tend to be nice and tender.
With its mild and sweet flavour profile, this cabbage is a very versatile ingredient in the kitchen. It can be eaten raw in salads, stir-fried, cooked, steamed or stewed. Rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre and containing hardly any calories, it is a healthy recommended vegetable to add to your diet, especially during the autumn and winter months.
This cabbage belongs to the Brassicaceae family and is believed to originate from the Savoy region in France, hence its name. Savoy is a mountainous region in the Alps, in the eastern side of France where other dishes like Fondue Savoyarde and French tartiflette also originate from. It can nowadays be found all year round but has the best taste when in season during the fall and winter of the northern hemisphere.
Which ingredients to use
- Savoy cabbage: A good quality Savoy cabbage feels firm and dense, where the outer leaves have no holes or signs of wilting and where the stem has a moist and fresh appearance. Savoy cabbage comes in various sizes, so depending on the size you can use the whole cabbage or cut it in half.
- Carrots: Use bright orange coloured carrots, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces.
- Potatoes: Use firm, waxy potatoes that hold their shape after cooking, like Yukon Gold, Fingerlings, red skinned or Charlotte. Although waxy potatoes often have a thin skin, it is up to personal preference to either remove the skin or not before cooking them in the soup.
- Garlic and onion: The flavour base for the soup. I use 2 cloves of garlic, but feel free to use more according to personal taste.
- Broth: My preference for this soup is to use vegetable broth but chicken broth is fine as well. Either use homemade or store-bought vegetable broth or use water with stock cubes counting 3 stock cubes per 4 1/2 cups or 1 litre of water.
- Olive oil: Olive oil is for sautéing the vegetables before cooking them in the broth. However, you can use any other type of cooking oil or even butter to first sauté or fry the vegetables.
- Seasoning: I usually add a few bay leaves and sprigs of fresh thyme while cooking the soup which tastes excellent with cabbage. For garnish either fresh chives or parsley can be used.
Tips for making Savoy cabbage soup
Make this traditional cabbage soup filled with essential nutrients your new family favourite by following these few simple tips and tricks:
- Chop the Savoy cabbage: Discard the outer darker green leaves as they are tougher than the inner leaves. Cut the cabbage in half or quarters, depending on the size, and remove the hard stem. Use a sharp knife (be careful with your fingers) to cut or chop the leaves into small squares of approximately 1 inch (or 2.5 cm) each side. Use only the tender leaves and remove any thick and harder parts that were attached to the stem as they will need longer cooking.
- Chop the other vegetables into equal sizes: Make sure to chop each of the vegetables into equal sizes per vegetable, meaning, chop all the potatoes into equal parts and the carrots in similar sized cubes. This will allow for equal cooking of each type of vegetable.
- Sauté before boiling: Sautéing and browning the vegetables before adding the broth will intensify their flavours and add colour to the soup. Take your time with this step, as the longer you can sauté the vegetables, the more they will caramelise thereby enhancing their flavour. I use olive oil to sauté the vegetables, but you can use butter or any other type of oil you like.
- Broth: Use a good quality, tasty vegetable broth for maximum flavour, either homemade or store-bought. Chicken stock or chicken broth is also fine, however, for a full vegetarian soup use vegetable broth. Another option is to add water with stock cubes as an alternative to ready made or homemade broth. When adjusting the seasoning, taste before adding more salt as some ready-made store-bought broths can already be very salty.
How to store
This recipe for cabbage soup can perfectly be made in advance. When making a larger batch, leftovers can be kept for up to 3 days. And as with most soups, they always taste better in the days that follow as the flavours have more time to further develop. After cooking the soup, leave to cool to room temperature then store in a sealed container in the fridge for a maximum of 3 days.
Savoy cabbage soup can also perfectly be frozen. So feel free to make an even larger batch and freeze for the months ahead. After cooking, allow to cool to room temperature, portion into smaller batches in airtight, freezer-safe containers and keep in the freezer for a maximum of 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and re-heat in the microwave oven or in a pan on the stovetop.
This recipe for Savoy cabbage soup is great to serve as an appetizer as part of a multi-course dinner with family or friends, but serve smaller quantities in the case of an appetizer or first course. Sprinkle with fresh parsley or chives for some extra flavour and colour.
You can also serve the soup as a whole meal anytime with crusty bread, farm loaf or french baguette. In the case of a meal on its own, serve a larger portion per person.
More fall soup recipes to try
- Red lentil soup with carrots
- Fennel soup with zucchini and star anise
- Carrot and ginger soup
- Butternut squash soup with mint and orange
- Cauliflower and chestnut soup
- Roasted chestnut and mushroom soup
- Celeriac soup with pecans
Savoy cabbage soup
- 1 pound (or 450 grams) savoy cabbage chopped
- 3 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 2 cups (or 275 grams) potatoes roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4½ cups (or 1 litre) vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the savoy cabbage in quarters, remove the hard stem and finely chop the cabbage leaves. Put the chopped leaves in a strainer or colander and rinse under cold running water to remove any dirt.
- Peel and chop the potatoes into 1 inch (or 2.5 cm) pieces. Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic. Peel the carrots and cut into bite-size pieces (½ inch or 1.25 cm).
- Heat some olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes until the vegetables are slightly softened. Add the potatoes and garlic and gently sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the vegetable broth, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper and bring the soup to a boil. Once the soup boils, cover with a lid, reduce the heat and leave to simmer for a further 10 minutes.
- Now add the savoy cabbage, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for yet another 10-15 minutes until all the vegetables are properly cooked.
- Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Savoy cabbage: Clean the cabbage by removing the dark green outer leaves and by cutting away the hard inner stem. Use only use the actual leaves for the soup making sure to cut away the harder parts of the leaves.
- Potatoes and carrots: Chop each of the vegetables into similar sizes to allow for equal cooking time.
- Storage: Store in the fridge for up to 3 days in a single sealed container of any type, you could put the whole pot in the fridge like I often do, or store in the freezer for up to 3 months in smaller airtight and freezer friendly containers. In both cases, be sure to first allow the soup to cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge/freezer..