This easy cabbage roll soup is a hearty soup that the whole family will love for busy weeknights! This recipe takes the idea of traditional cabbage rolls and turns it into a soup form, consisting of delicious ingredients such as lean beef, yellow onion, cabbage, sodium beef broth, and uncooked rice, to name a few.
Serve this unstuffed cabbage roll soup as an easy dinner and hearty meal any time of year alongside garlic bread.
Olive oil - For cooking ground beef. You can also use vegetable oil or canola oil.
Salt and pepper - To taste. Feel free to add in cayenne pepper for a slight kick of heat.
Ground beef - I’ve used 90% lean ground beef for this cabbage roll soup to reduce the fat in this dish, but you can also use regular ground beef if you prefer. When using regular ground beef, I recommend draining excess fat from browning the meat before adding other soup ingredients to the pot. Italian sausage, ground pork, or ground turkey can also be used.
Vegetables - I’ve used onion, green cabbage, carrots, crushed tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted), and red bell pepper. You can make easy adaptations to the choice of veggies added to your soup, such as using a combination of green and red cabbage, using regular canned tomatoes or Ro-Tel tomatoes, or adding yellow or green bell peppers.
Spices and seasoning - Italian herb seasoning, smoked paprika, and 2 teaspoons of minced garlic. Use different seasonings, spices, and aromatics, such as cajun seasoning.
Beef broth - Vegetable broth, chicken broth, or savory tomato broth can also be used.
Rice - Uncooked long grain rice. Wild rice can also be used, or you could even use cauliflower rice (added just before serving) as a low carb meal.
Tomato paste - Use a good quality paste that’s dark red.
Bay leaf - Ensure to remove the bay leaves before serving the soup.
Sugar - Brown sugar is added to the soup mixture to tenderize the beef and balance flavors. Light brown sugar is also suitable.
Parsley - Fresh or dried parsley can be used.
Sour cream - You can also use unsweetened plain Greek yogurt.
For the full list of ingredients, please scroll down where you'll find the recipe card.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef.
Cook, breaking up the meat with a spatula until beef is browned, approximately 4-5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
Add smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute.
Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the cabbage, carrots, beef broth, bell peppers, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, rice, bay leaf, and brown sugar to the pot.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender and taste again for salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves before serving.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve with sour cream.
- If you use leftover cooked rice for this soup, only add it to the soup mixture before serving otherwise, it will become overly soft and mushy.
- This cabbage roll soup can also be made in a slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 7-8 hours.
- If you need this soup to be low-carb, omit the rice and increase the veggies.
- Brown rice or white rice can be used instead of long grain rice. Brown rice typically takes 20 minutes longer than white rice, so keep this in mind if you switch types of rice.
- Don’t enjoy ground beef? Use ground lean turkey or ground chicken in this cabbage soup - it’s just as delicious!
- When preparing the cabbage, cut it into 1-inch cubes but no thinner otherwise, it will soften too quickly.
- For a thinner consistency to your soup, add an extra 2 cups of broth or boiled water.
- For a kick of heat, add a pinch or two of red chili flakes.
Freezing and Storing Instructions
Store any leftover Cabbage Roll Soup in the fridge for 2-3 days. Reheat over medium heat until warmed through.
You can also freeze it in a freezer-friendly container for up to 2-3 months. Let thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stove.
Frequently Asked Questions
Galumpkis (also known as Polish cabbage rolls) consist of cabbage leaves stuffed with ground meat, rice, spices, and tomato sauce.
Yes, you can. Frozen cabbage can be placed directly into the soup mixture without being defrosted.
Cabbage rolls are similar to Galumpkis in that they consist of cabbage leaves stuffed with a mix of rice, veggies, and ground meat. Some recipes also call for pickled sauerkraut leaves or grape leaves, bacon, smoked ribs, or smoked sausage.
Cabbage rolls, much like this cabbage roll soup, can be served with a side salad, garlic bread, or roasted vegetables.
Cabbage rolls is a traditional Romanian dish that is varied with different fillings. In Romania, these delicious cabbage rolls are called “sarmale.”
Thank you so much for reading about this Cabbage Roll Soup recipe. Please feel free to comment with any questions you may have! I love reading your feedback.
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Cabbage Roll Soup
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound ground beef I use 90% lean
- 1 onion medium diced makes about ¾ cup
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 4 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage
- 2 carrots peeled quartered and sliced, makes about ¾ cup
- 4 cups beef broth
- 2 15 oz cans crushed tomatoes fire roasted will be great!
- ½ cup uncooked long grain rice
- 1 cup red bell pepper medium dice into cubes
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste good quality, dark red
- 1 teaspoon italian herbs seasoning
- 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar any regular one will do
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- Sour cream or unsweetened plain greek yogurt for serving
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the ground beef.
- Cook, breaking up the meat with a spatula, until beef is browned, approximately 4-5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add smoked paprika, italian seasoning, salt, black pepper. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute.
- Lower the heat to medium low. Add the cabbage, carrots, beef broth, bell peppers, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, rice, bay leaves and brown sugar to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender and taste again for salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves before serving.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve with sour cream.