Cream of Cabbage Soup

When the virus hit, I’m pretty sure the first thing people didn’t think about stocking up on was cabbage. I only saw the empty shelves of pasta, rice, and toilet paper from photos posted online, taken in the U.S., but I didn’t seen any pictures of the empty cabbage bins. I’ve loved cabbage for a long time, and even my mother shredded red cabbage to toss in green salads. Not only does cabbage comes in different colors, but there are many different varieties as well.

Whichever you choose, Most can be used raw in salads or slaws, or cooked. Cabbage also lasts a long time and isn’t expensive either. In other words, cabbage is our trusted friend, there for us through thick or thin.

I used to have an aversion to cooked cabbage. It was associated with people making jokes about the smell of it cooking, or the after-effects of eating it, which I won’t repeat here, but I’ve noticed a new generation of cooks have embraced the brassica by caramelizing, pickling, and of course, putting it up as kimchi. (Which isn’t new, but many people seem to be just discovering the joys of it.) When I was in Lebanon, we were sometimes served leaves of raw cabbage to use instead of bread for scooping up hummus and tabbouleh for the weight-conscious, as a carb-free alternative to bread.

The ruffly cabbages, called Savoy cabbage elsewhere, are popular in France as they have a more delicate, yet generous vegetal flavor. However standard green cabbages (below) are abundant and widely available as well. During the last few years, choux pointu, which look like big, green unopened tulip buds, have become more available and have a softer texture and more delicate flavor. You can use any kind of green cabbage here.

The thickener of the soup is courtesy of a few potatoes. French love potatoes seemingly more than any other vegetable and some market stands exist solely to sell just potatoes in a variety of varieties. Potatoes aren’t always sold solely by name, though, some are labeled vapeur or rissolées, for steaming or sautéeing, respectively. They also get two names; pommes de terres, apples of the earth, or patates, depending on what type of “potato” it is. If you want to feel French when talking about potatoes, feel free to shorten the name to PDT, pronounced pay-day-tay.

With cabbages in my kitchen, I remembered this soup from back my days as a cook in a vegetarian restaurant when I was in college. Not surprisingly, it’s still delicious! It was called Norwegian Cream of Cabbage Soup since the owner of the restaurant, Julie Jordan, had Norwegian parents. (At the time upstate New York had a prominent Norwegian community.) The caraway makes it Scandinavian, which sounds about right for a soup that celebrates practicality.

And Caraway is what also makes it special. Most folks in Paris don’t know what caraway is; it’s usually mistaken for cumin, although it’s familiar in Alsace due to its proximity to Germany. But if you don’t have caraway seeds, try swapping out anise, celery, fennel, black onion, or cumin seeds. I also thought the soup could use a little color so made a quick parsley oil to drizzle over the top with a bunch of parsley that I had on hand, which needed to be used. And we’re all doing our best not to waste anything these days.

The color makes the soup more inviting and the slight anise-like flavor of the parsley makes it tie in nicely with the caraway. It’s a very good soup, surprisingly good, in fact.

[In other news, I’ve been doing Live discussions and demonstrations on Instagram Live almost every day at 6pm CET (Paris) time, which presently is 1pm ET, 10am PT – you can figure out what time that is where you live by asking Google that question – it works! I’ll be talking about French drinks, the culture and traditions of French spirits, as well as explaining the liquors and apéritifs, making a recipe and answering your questions, including about my new book, Drinking French. If you’d like to join me, head over to my Instagram account and there should be a Live icon next to, or around my profile picture, at that time. Note that it won’t be there until I’m connected. I also start slowly so you have time to connect as well. The Live discussions are archived on my Instagram IGTV page in case you miss one. See you there!]

Cream of Cabbage Soup
Print Recipe
6 to 8 servings
Adapted from The Cabbagetown Café Cookbook by Julie Jordan I made this with rice milk, but feel free to use a plant-based "milk" (or "drink," as it's now sometimes called), or regular milk. At the moment, milk of any kind may be at a premium so you could replace it with stock. If using store-bought stock, I recommend reducing the salt when you make the soup base, then adjusting that to taste after you've added the stock. Other options are that you could get creative and mix water with beer, still or sparkling cider (non-alcoholic or hard), or with sour cream, heavy cream, or crème fraîche, to stand in for the milk. Got water leftover from cooking beans (or even canned beans) or chickpeas? That could be put to good use here as a replacement for the milk, too. If you don't have caraway seeds, cumin, fennel, anise, black onion or celery seeds can fill in for them, using less at the start (as they may be stronger than the caraway, such as celery seed) then adding more when the soup is finished. You can also use fresh herbs instead, such as thyme or dill when making the soup, and/or as a garnish. Note that the parsley oil needs to sit about an hour or two, so if planning to serve the soup right away, you might want to make that in advance. The parsley oil is optional of course but does dress it up. You can make a half batch of it if trying to conserve your oil.
For the cabbage soup
2 medium potatoes, washed and scrubbed (about 12 ounces/340g), unpeeled and cut into 1-inch (3cm) pieces
2 cups (500ml) water
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, plus more for cooking the potatoes and sautéed cabbage
4 teaspoons caraway seeds
4 tablespoons (55g) unsalted butter, total
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
8 cups (1 1/4-pound, 625g) green cabbage, sliced
2 cups (500ml) whole milk (see headnote)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or cider vinegar
For the parsley oil
1 small bunch parsley, stems and leaves (about 1 1/4 ounce/40g)
3/4 cup (180ml) olive or vegetable oil
1. Boil the potato cubes with 2 cups of lightly salted water, until tender when you poke them with a sharp paring knife, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. In a soup pot or Dutch oven, toast the caraway seeds over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Remove them onto a plate. (If you want to use some to garnish the finished soup, you can toast a few extra.)
3. In the same soup pot, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent. Add the caraway seeds and cook for 1 minute more.
4. Reserving about one-third of the cabbage (to sauté later), add half the rest of the shredded cabbage, 1 teaspoon of salt, freshly ground pepper, to the pot and stir everything together. Cover and lift the lid everyone once in a while to stir, until the cabbage wilts. You may need to add 1/4 cup (60ml) of water to the pot if it gets dry and starts to scorch on the bottom. (It wouldn't hurt to add another knob of butter here, either!) Once the cabbage in the pot is mostly wilted, add the remaining cabbage. (But don't use that reserved cabbage, which you'll be sautéeing later.) Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until all the cabbage is wilted.
5. Turn off the heat and add the potatoes and their cooking water, and the milk to the pot. Use an immersion blender to blend the ingredients, or put them in a standard blender and puree until smooth, then pour back in the soup pot.
6. Slice the reserved cabbage as thinly as possible. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet, add the cabbage and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the cabbage is wilted. Add the sauteed cabbage the blended soup along with lemon juice or vinegar.
7. To make the parsley oil, heat a small saucepan of water until boiling. Have a bowl of ice water handy. Plunge the parsley into the water and cook until wilted, 10 to 15 seconds. Remove it with tongs (or drain it), and immediately plunge the cooked parsley into the ice water, which'll guard its vibrant green color.
8. When cool, squeeze as much water out of the parsley with your hands as you can and place it in a food processor or blender. The best option is if you have a mini-chopper food processor; this is a good place to use it! Puree the parsley with the oil until it's as fine as possible. Let stand for 1 or 2 hours. Place a square of muslin or a few layers of cheesecloth in a small mesh strainer set over a small bowl. Scrape the parsley and oil into the cheesecloth, then gather the ends and squeeze as firmly as possible - cheesecloth isn't as solid as muslin, go you may need to go easier on the pressure if using cheesecloth - to extract as much parsley oil as possible. You also put the mixture in a fine-mesh strainer and press it through that.

Serving: Heat the soup and ladle into bowls. Top with a drizzle of the parsley oil and perhaps some fresh herbs or pumpkin seeds, and a few extra caraway seeds. Other ideas include a little sour cream or crème fraîche with some toasted caraway seeds or fresh herbs on top, cubes of crisp bacon, or crumbled blue cheese on top. Serve some good bread alongside, with cold beer or apple cider.

Storage: The soup will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. It can be frozen for up to 4 months. The parsley oil will keep for about a week at room temperature or in the refrigerator.


Cream of Cabbage Soup

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111 comments

  • Linda
    March 28, 2020 1:42pm

    This looks great, and I have everything for it in my kitchen already. One thing I would alter in the recipe is to put the instructions for making the parsley oil FIRST, since it needs to stand for 1-2 hours. Looking forward to trying it!

    • March 28, 2020 2:12pm
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks. I made a note in the headnote that it should be made in advance.

      • jw
        March 29, 2020 8:11pm

        I made the parsley oil yesterday. Plan to make the soup today. Do you leave the parsley oil out or refrigerate (because of the parsley residue)?

        • March 29, 2020 9:15pm
          David Lebovitz

          Any sediment should float to the bottom and be protected by the oil so that’s not really an issue for a few hours or overnight. I didn’t refrigerate it as it’s cool here but you could store it in the refrigerator but let it come to room temp before serving it.

        • jw
          March 29, 2020 9:36pm

          Just saw your note at the end. Thanks.

  • Linda
    March 28, 2020 1:44pm

    Your split pea soup recipe is delicious, so I’ll have to give this a try.
    It’s true, when the grocery shelves are empty, I like to pick up the things people leave behind and try to make something from the ingredients no one else wants.

  • March 28, 2020 1:45pm

    Funny this post, reminds me of my recent research about Boeuf a’la mode. La Varenne it’s creator was the force behind the changes in codifying recipes, undressing overly seasoned foods of the middle ages. His was the enlightenment of fresh, local food…he said in La Cuisinier, his book on French cuisine in the 17th century… ” When I eat cabbage soup, I want it to taste like cabbage… voila, merci David for making this subject current.

  • Gavrielle
    March 28, 2020 1:49pm

    What a lifesaver! Funnily enough, I *did* stock up immediately on cabbage (and carrots, onions and garlic) but I definitely need something new to do with it. I know I have caraway as I just put some in a rye sourdough. Can’t wait to try this!

  • Francine Helene
    March 28, 2020 2:07pm

    Thanks David. In our family we have often relied on cabbage soup. It was required in hard economic times in the post war period. We are French born with Ukrainian roots. We also fermented the cabbages for winter, and then made a delicious soup called Kapusniak, basically a cabbage soup made of sauerkraut. Superb it is. And we also made lots of Ukrainian Borscht, which also uses
    lots of shredded cabbage. And the most easy recipe is to fry up some cabbage with garlic and onions and add caraway.
    In Eastern Europe, in Ukraine and Belarus, and Poland these soups are daily fare. Thanks for your magnificent blog!

    • March 28, 2020 4:04pm
      David Lebovitz

      Caraway is such an underused spice (or is it a seasoning?) It’s not well-known or used in Paris at all and the few times I’ve had it, they told me it was cumin. But yes, I agree with you – caraway is the way to go + thanks for your kind words about the blog, too!

  • Ruth breil
    March 28, 2020 2:07pm

    Wow!!! David you are becoming a super duper ace photographer ( besides sharing with us your amazing web site, transporting us daily to the CITY OF LIGHT!) You literally snapped my gaze open here in the dreary rain-coming city ( ). I quickly scrolled down all yr images and will return to sumptuous food pics later, as I am sipping my coffee remembering how cabin fevered we are…RB photographer

    • Joanne
      March 28, 2020 2:57pm

      I can’t wait to make this soup on a rainy day. Those chocolate chip “kitchen sink ” cookies were a huge hit with my family. Thanks for “being there” during these difficult times. You are loved and appreciated.

    • March 28, 2020 4:02pm
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks so much Ruth and glad you like the pics. Cabbage soup is a little tough to shoot so tried to make it look as best as I could ; )

    • Annita
      March 28, 2020 4:14pm

      Agree. I was noticing the photography as well!

  • Cathy Grafton
    March 28, 2020 2:08pm

    Merci for this recipe. I have made leek soup and asparagus soup lately and have a cabbage, do can try this one next. Was suppose to leave for France today, instead at home in Illinois.

  • Wendi
    March 28, 2020 2:10pm

    After having worked my way through almost the entire fresh vegetable haul of last Saturday I was looking at the last bit of green left in the fridge, a big leafy cabbage and wondering what the heck I was going to do with it-Now I know! Thank you from sunny Biarritz!

    • March 28, 2020 4:01pm
      David Lebovitz

      Enjoy the sun – it’s a good (and rare) chance to get some vitamin D these days! : )

  • KE
    March 28, 2020 2:35pm

    Got to be honest, this is one of my favorite posts. I am absolutely going to make this. I never buy it, but I always see cabbage piled high at the busiest grocery times and at today’s critical times. I always think, when I see the 99cents per cabbage sign, “I need to cook with cabbage more, maybe tomorrow,” and then I keep going.

  • Elisabeth
    March 28, 2020 2:42pm

    Hi David! As a student at Cornell (in Ithaca) with little money for food, I would sometimes go to Cabbagetown Cafe for a bowl of one of their delicious soups and a piece of their fresh made bread. I do have the cookbook and use it often. I didn’t know you cooked there! This soup sounds delicious and is being added to my “must make” list. It sounds like something my Belgian mother would have made for our family – delicious, flexible ingredients, and frugal. Thank you!

    • Pat
      March 28, 2020 4:33pm

      Hi Elizabeth. Same here! I lived right across the street and will never forget their cornbread nor garlic salad dressing. My roommate worked there and gave me the real recipe for the cornbread which is different from the one in the cookbook. Fond memories all around.

  • Susan
    March 28, 2020 2:43pm

    A timely subject here as we have been eating cabbage at least a couple of times a week lately. We are in SE Mass and there is a small farm stand not too far away that has cabbage,potatoes and onions from their winter supply and as there are never more than 2 or 3 people there it is a place I feel I can safely navigate. Last week I shredded it and sauteed it with a very smoky bacon. Thanks for elevating the lowly cabbage David.

    • Susan L.
      March 28, 2020 4:48pm

      Well, I have to say, the thought of cream of cabbage soup was not immediately interesting to me, but, it is you, after all, so I read through! Wows! Sounds fab and I can’t wait to try it!!

  • Jennie
    March 28, 2020 2:56pm

    I have a hard copy of Cabbagetown Cafe Cookbook. Any other recommendations from it?

    • March 28, 2020 4:01pm
      David Lebovitz

      All the recipes are good – cashew chile, black bean soup, & yougurt-tahini dressing, are standouts.

  • March 28, 2020 3:16pm

    I’m trying this today. I always have cabbage and like you mentioned the way your mom put red cabbage in salads. (Guess I am old enough to be your mom) and I love it in salads. Nothing else to do today other than cook so I’m making your soup. Will be a “starter” when we go out and do our “curb side” pick up progressive dinner tonight. Thanks for posting.

    • March 28, 2020 5:24pm

      Just made the soup and really liked it. My only changes for making it the next time would be to peel my potatoes. My soup turned out a lot darker than yours and even though I scrubbed my potatoes before boiling the water looked murky so I used chicken broth in place of the potato water. Loved the caraway seed in it.

      • rose
        March 29, 2020 1:42am

        me too, re: curbside pick-up progressive dinner. . .how do you do this? There’s nothing coming up in online search. Thank you!

    • Judy Krohn
      March 28, 2020 6:57pm

      I want to hear more about the “curbside pick-up progressive dinner”! How does this happen, logistics, etc.?

  • March 28, 2020 3:33pm

    I’m secretly a bizarre rabbit in human skin because I freaking LOVE cabbage. I can’t explain it. I do crave it.

    As long as I can get another fresh head in the fridge, I know I’ll be okay. This cabbage soup is giving me life right now. Thank you for sharing.

    • March 28, 2020 4:00pm
      David Lebovitz

      I always lover cabbage too, and would grab pieces of purple cabbage out of the salad to snack on while my mother was making it. (Actually, I think when we were old enough, my mother put me and my sister on cooking duty!) I don’t buy it as often as I do but in France they sell half cabbages often, or quarters, which is nice if you can’t take on a whole head.

  • Nancy Steger
    March 28, 2020 3:38pm

    Thank you, David. I bought extra cabbage for St. Pat’s. This will be a great way to use it. I’m making the kitchen sink cookies to take (and leave on the doorstep) for my granddaughters. Also have enjoyed Drinking Paris so much that I’ve ordered copies for three of my friends! It’s a great book! Feels like your helping me ride out the virus storm here in Houston TX.

    • March 28, 2020 3:58pm
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Nancy; Glad you like the book so much – thanks for your kind words, and also glad it’s helping you cope right now. I think a lot of people feel that way about cookbooks, cooking, baking, and mixing drinks. Cheers!

      • Nancy
        March 28, 2020 9:28pm

        Thank you David! Cooking is certainly a comfort. I’m into no-knead bread baking during this time and sharing Delicious loaves with family.

  • B in Western Canada
    March 28, 2020 3:48pm

    Actually, here in western Canada, potatoes and cabbage were being hoarded as early as around St Patrick’s day. I joked that the great Depression was returning – sadly that may be nearer the truth. This soup is a wonderful addition to the cabbage repetoire. I look forward to trying when cabbage returns to my store! Thanks for everything you do

    • March 28, 2020 3:58pm
      David Lebovitz

      If there’s any upside to this is that I think it’s giving many of us a newfound appreciation for what foods we have, and how to make the best of what we can get. Many of us are used to going to the grocery store and filling up a shopping cart, so now we have to think about what we buy, and what we can buy, and what to make, and how to best use what we have. Let’s hope this is over soon!

      • Margaret
        April 8, 2020 3:47am

        YES! Absolutely agree. Less spoilage and waste now that food has become a precious commodity. We simply don’t have that luxury right now. And perhaps giving the growing landfills a break as a result (less “take-out” containers etc… being discarded thoughtlessly)

        But also… this gives people the opportunity to become more creative in their cooking/baking seeing as they have to find ways of using up ingredients that they may not have thought of combining.

  • March 28, 2020 4:19pm

    Cabbage is in my DNA , your soup looks great . I see if I can get some cabbage at our local farmer’s market. One of the farmers grows Spitzkohl (coned cabbage). I don’t know if they have that variety in France.

    • March 28, 2020 5:02pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yes those have become more popular in the last few years. A French friend of mine told me that they could grow very (very) large and are often used for sauerkraut in Germany, but I haven’t found much info on that. Would be interested in finding out if that’s so!

  • Mazza - downunder
    March 28, 2020 4:34pm

    David, Just found your website page for your herbed tart & also the tomato tart recipe. Both earmarked for use after my self-isolation. Re caraway seeds, my late father loved the caraway seed cake that my mother used to make him. Me, well I am not so sure, I did not like the “strong” aniseed flavour that was apparent in mum’s cake! Using the caraway in the soup recipe, does it give the soup a strong “caraway seed” flavour or does it just act as a base – building block flavour? also thanks for providing metric conversions – makes life a lot easier & safer, when one does not have to convert the weight that we use down-under in Australia! Thanks for an array of such wonderful recipes. I get the impression that many are turning to “cooking” to pass the hours & days away. I hope we all survive the self-isolation and virus that is sweeping the globe and no doubt there are many who have their cooking” L” plates on as restrictions are enforced!

    • March 28, 2020 5:01pm
      David Lebovitz

      The caraways flavor is quite prominent but I found the amount perfect to complement the cabbage. You could try using less then adding more to taste, if that’s a concern. Glad you found the site!

  • Anne
    March 28, 2020 5:26pm

    Perfect timing. I bought a good looking cabbage in a quick grocery run last night. First time out in 6 days. And it’s raining today. A March rain is a perfect time for soup. As I’m working from home, I’m having to cook for myself. It’s a unique “opportunity”.

    Plus I’m watching you with Phil on PBS, right now. Explaining the differences in croissants. No more ordinaire for me.

    Cheers.

  • Marty
    March 28, 2020 5:27pm

    One of our favorite local restaurants here in Omaha serves a rich and creamy Cabbage and Blue Cheese Soup that we love. I bet I could add some blue cheese to this recipe by melting it in just prior to adding the sautéed cabbage. Now if I only had some blue cheese . . . Oh well. But thanks, I have 1/2 a head of cabbage left in the fridge so this will be on our menu very soon.

  • Marilyn Rabin
    March 28, 2020 5:40pm

    Great recipe! While there’s no randomised controlled trials (RCTs) (regarded as the gold standard of scientific evidence) yet demonstrating that foods high in quercetin, which can protect us against covid-19, cabbages do belong to the family of cruciferous vegetables (pakchoi, choysum, Chinese cabbage,
    kailan, Brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, rocket salad, red cherry radish, daikon
    radish, and watercress), and provide us with a wide range of phenolic compounds, one of which is quercetin. Where do we find quercetin other than vegetables?
    Foods rich in isoquercitrin include leafy vegetables, broccoli, red onions, peppers, apples, grapes, black tea, green tea, red wine, and some fruit juices. Surely there is a recipe with some of these ingredients! Best of health from Montréal

    • Jeanne
      March 29, 2020 1:18am

      Marilyn: Thank you for the list of foods high in quercetin. I have a mast cell activation disorder and taking quercetin helps suppress it. So thank you for listing the foods naturally high in quercetin content. I will add more of these to my diet.

  • ceri
    March 28, 2020 5:41pm

    Hi David — just to say how very much I am enjoying your videos on Instagram.It is lovely to virtually meet you and hear snippets of your Parisian life. Thank you for brightening my social isolation.

    • March 29, 2020 5:45am

      This recipe could not come at a better time. We’re in self lock-down here in Mexico. My neighbor did some grocery shopping for me, but somehow she bought 3 heads of cabbage instead of one. So cabbage soup it is!
      Gracias ~
      Kathleen

  • LaurelB
    March 28, 2020 5:44pm

    You made mention of different kinds of potatoes and what they are called in France but your recipe doesn’t specify which kind to use for the soup. Are we to be using pommes de terre or patates?

    • marilynmontreal
      March 28, 2020 6:22pm

      https://jardinierparesseux.com/2016/02/23/pomme-de-terre-ou-patate/
      The distinction between the pomme-de-terre and patate depends on whether you’re referring to the colloquialism when describing French fries (patate frites in Québec) or for the horticulturalist, patate douce.
      En fait, pomme-de-terre is the official term for potato.

  • Elizabeth
    March 28, 2020 6:18pm

    This reminded me of an amazing cabbage lasagne I made while living in Sardinia. I had a few artichokes, but lots of cabbage so I combined the two and it was delicious.

  • Amanda
    March 28, 2020 7:14pm

    Cabbage was the FIRST thing I stocked up on! Salads, curry, soup, summer roll wrapping, cabbage rolls, even an alternative to pasta – think lasagna noodles or spaghetti. It is so versatile and can be a star or a backup singer. Dill oil would also be great with this soup as would chunks of a mild fish thrown in to poach at the end. Thanks for this reminder that not all recipes need to have fancy ingredients to be great.

  • Jackie
    March 28, 2020 7:38pm

    Made all things David this week! Split pea soup, Shushuka, Peanut Butter granola. Everything terrific. Family all loved them. Thank you!

  • Linn
    March 28, 2020 7:39pm

    I love using caraway with cabbage in cole slaw but never thought about using it in soup, so must try making your recipe — it looks delicious. I’m a cabbage lover too.

    There was a woman in my hometown who was famous for her cooking — she cared for my grandmother in her later years and showed her how she cooked cabbage. It’s very simple and still my favorite way to prepare it. It’s basically boiled cabbage but she sliced it very thin and put it in boiling salted water for just a few seconds (don’t let it get soggy), then removed it with a spider and added butter, salt and pepper, so good! It’s even better if you can get a homegrown cabbage :)

    Thank you for your new cookbook, Drinking French — how great to have now! And I’m enjoying seeing you on Instagram too. Stay safe David.

    • April 3, 2020 3:07am

      Linn, my aunt taught our family how to make a very similar dish, very simply: finely shredded cabbage, with a blob of butter, salt & pepper, cover and microwave for maybe a couple of minutes or more depending on size of bowl. Amazing (and no smelly kitchen!) I had forgotten it; thank you!

  • Joycelyn
    March 28, 2020 7:52pm

    Thank you David for another recipe I can actually make with what I have on hand, with the exception of fresh parsley and caraway seed though. I do have dried parsley flakes I use for crock pot dumpling and Black Cumin Seeds that would be a nice sub. for the caraway but have my doubts dried parsley would be suitable for your oil recipe. Ah well, it’ll be a lovely soup nonetheless! Thank you David for always thinking about us!

  • tomine
    March 28, 2020 7:56pm

    Hi, David!

    As a Norwegian I am honoured to see a recipe attributed as Norwegian on your site. And this soup really looks fabulous!

    And it is funny, because all the ingredients are definitely typical of Norway, as is this flavour combination. The soup itself, though, isn’t. (And this isn’t criticism.)

    What makes this recipe the most Norwegian to me, is the caraway: we use it in aquavit, in sweet baked goods, with cabbage for the Christmas eve meal, and so much more.

    The method of using mealy potatoes to thicken a soup is very British. We usually use a roux, and/or, when appropriate, egg yolks.

    This soup doesn’t exist in Norway, unfortunately, but I wish that it did. (Although, tomorrow it will exist in my kitchen, which I am looking forward to.)

    But thanks for yet another superb recipe! :*

    • March 28, 2020 8:32pm
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks. The name of this soup was coined I think sometime in the early 80’s, and people back then weren’t as scrupulous (or scrutinized) for evoking other countries in dishes when certain seasonings (like here, caraway) are used. So I didn’t use that name but you’re absolutely right – the flavor is very evocative of Norway and/or Norwegian cuisine, and as a Norwegian, am happy you’re going to make it. Appreciate your chiming in and enjoy the soup!

  • Ellen
    March 28, 2020 8:29pm

    Love this recipe, thank you. I’ve been making something similar but with the addition of Gruyere added slowly at the end. Sometimes I also add a sauteed, sliced sausage to up the protein.
    Love your posts David.

  • KLB
    March 28, 2020 8:42pm

    I am one of those people who stocked up on cabbage (as you point out, it lasts!) and is so versatile! Definitely going to try this soup!

  • Susan Bovee
    March 28, 2020 9:41pm

    Dear David,

    Having grown up un Northern Minnesota, and having lived in Northern California for 30+ years, I especially enjoy your uses of the lowly cabbage.

    In the Dark Ages I focused my cooking on cheap and filling. Cabbage = perfect. The first rooms I rented as a teacher did not have stoves, so I purchased my first microwave. I discovered that the quick microwaving did not produce any overwhelmingly negative cabbage odor. You indicate wilting and/or sautéing the cabbage which result in lovely light odors. YES!

    Thank you, as always, for your delightful excursions into the delights of beautifully prepared foods!

  • TCarb
    March 28, 2020 9:57pm

    Au contraire! Being of French and German descent, the fist thing I though of was potatoes and cabbage!! Both keep so well. My grandparents had ceramic crocks full of homemade kraut every fall on the back porch. Cabbage boiled in chicken broth with lots of pepper was a common side dish in the winter. Thank you for bringing it to people’s attention and giving me a new recipe. Stay safe!!

  • Jackie
    March 28, 2020 10:26pm

    Hi David,
    I love cabbage and this recipe sounds delicious. Growing up, it was always evident when my mother was on a diet as she would make huge pots of cabbage soup which she ate for two meals a day. I never minded, as I loved her cabbage soup.
    Your photos, as usual, are stupendous. I do have a question about the photo of the bags of potatoes. What other type of potatoes can you buy in France that the bag is labeled “pour consummation”? Are there potatoes that are sold that are not for consumption?
    Be well.

    • March 29, 2020 7:34am
      David Lebovitz

      I don’t know, actually. As I mentioned, the French do like to categorize things and perhaps that’s just a tip-off of what you can do with the potatoes. If someone has a better explanation, I’d be interested in hearing it. I did buy them at Biocoop, which is a natural food store chain in France which works directly with producers, so perhaps that language aligns with their militante point of view about shortening the distance between producers and consumers?

  • Dan T
    March 28, 2020 10:36pm

    One more here who stocked up on cabbage — it was around St Patrick’s Day so our half-empty grocery had huge heads for $0.40 a pound!

    It’s good so many ways and keeps for what seems like forever.

    After all of this, I’m thinking my next house will have a root cellar to preserve a crunchy cache.

    • March 29, 2020 7:31am
      David Lebovitz

      I’ve been thinking about a root cellar, too. Times like this make you realize there are ways to make foods last longer, and/or other ways to store them so you can make less trips to the store. In Paris, most buildings have underground caves which are a lot cooler and are great places to store wine (although they’re quite humid, so aren’t the best for everything…) but I did get two cabbages when I saw them, and keeping one for the next batch of soup…

  • Carol
    March 28, 2020 11:09pm

    Hi David,
    Recipe made in heaven potatoes and cabbage.This will make my cabbage go further with the addition of potatoes, I am from Sydney Australia and I paid $9.00 Au dollars for my cabbage, prices are so high after our fires, floods and now Corona virus so needless to say there was plenty of cabbages at the market. Will be making this today except for the caraway seeds, hate them but love fennel seeds. My mother used to make a caraway cake and I think it was because us kids hated it, she had all to herself.
    Stay safe,
    Carol.

  • March 28, 2020 11:30pm

    I was wanting to make potato soup when I came across this recipe/article today. It sounded so good I made a double batch! My husband is finishing his 2nd bowl…I just wanted to let everyone know it is scrumptious! I used coconut milk and vegan butter/olive oil but otherwise followed recipe exactly. We topped it off with the parsley oil, pumpkin seeds and crumbled turkey bacon. If I could attach a photo I would! This proved to be a great way to spend a self-imposed day at home!

    • March 29, 2020 7:29am
      David Lebovitz

      I appreciate your feedback. I figured one could use coconut oil or olive oil for sautéeing, especially if one is vegan, but good to have solid proof (!) I tried to get pumpkin seeds at my natural food store but they were out of them, but I think they’re underused and are great on top of soup!

  • Jodi
    March 29, 2020 12:47am

    Sadly, cabbages in some parts of Australia are $9 each and not so affordable. Probably a result of prolonged drought, bushfires, storms and now COVID-19. Hopefully this situation improves and we’ll have abundant access to cabbages again.

    • Patricia
      March 30, 2020 9:05am

      Hi Jodi,
      This is precisely the reason why I’ve decided it’s time to put in a little garden in my back yard.

      I am in Sydney and it’s hard to find anything that is a bargain these days.

      I’ve heard Aldi will have seeds on sale this Wednesday – 01/04/2020.

      Just a tip, if you want it.

  • Caroline Mitchel
    March 29, 2020 3:48am

    Thank you so much David, I love your new book, just bought two copies! I’m generally a wine drinker except for a couple of margaritas a year, but I will try some of your concoctions as soon as I can safely venture out. The photos are just gorgeous. Love it! I happen to have lots of cabbage as well, stay healthy and keep on keeping on.

    • March 29, 2020 7:27am
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks and glad you are enjoying the book!

  • Be in Portland
    March 29, 2020 7:52am

    I’m going off-topic for just a minute to tell you that our world-famous indie bookstore, Powell’s, is sold out of Drinking French. Powell’s closed all their stores but their mail order business has surged to the extent that they have rehired 100 employees to handle the online traffic. I’m thrilled that they are doing so well.

    In the end, I bowed to the inevitable and ordered Drinking French from Amazon.

    • Kristen
      April 11, 2020 8:15pm

      Book Larder is a great source if others are looking for indie ordering options: https://www.booklarder.com

  • Jancooks
    March 29, 2020 11:00am

    I will make this as soon as I can get a cabbage. Here in Santa Cruz CA, as a “high risk elder” I’m supposed to stay home. I’ve gone out only twice in 2 weeks, so I will head for my favorite natural food store soon. .
    My mother cooked cabbage in milk (in the 50s). Not a lot of milk and I think sometimes the milk was scalded/almost burned? Not on purpose, of course. I wonder if anyone else has had it this way. It was OK, but not really memorable in the flavor department.

    Thank you for keeping us warm and nurtured with your recipes.

  • March 29, 2020 4:31pm

    Hello David, Maria in Portugal
    Here they also sell quarters or half cabbages, green or purpe, and around here the choux pointu is called ‘coração de boi’ (ox heart)
    I love cooking with both and have just made a cabagge soup (before I saw your recipe)
    Can I sub the caraway seeds for nigella seeds?
    Love your recipes!

  • Mike Smith
    March 29, 2020 9:34pm

    Oh golly! I’ve been going through the freezer to use up stuff during the quarantine and found 3 quarts of duck stock. I see this soup on this week’s menu. Thanks for the dinner-planning help!

  • shell
    March 29, 2020 11:16pm

    Love cabbage to. Greens with an attitude.

  • Jen
    March 30, 2020 1:12am

    At the last, apocalyptic Ottawa farmers’ market, when the vendors were spaced metres apart and Kyle the sheep cheese guy had a sign on his stand saying “So long, and thanks for all the fish,” I lugged home two large, heavy heads of organic cabbage. Most of the first and all of the second has now become micro-batch sauerkraut, which makes a very fine salad with the addition of olive oil, rice vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and chunks of juicy orange. I’ve been getting through the winter on locally-grown storage vegetables ever since they started the winter market a few years ago, and am dreading having to go back to supermarket and imported produce now that the market has had to close because of COVID regulations, and I’m using up the last of what I was able to buy two weeks ago. It’s not even a philosophical thing: the locally grown stuff just tastes so much better that I decided a couple years ago that I’d rather eat yet another cabbage salad made with sweet, delicious cabbage than buy an industrial cucumber that tastes like styrofoam with a faint cucumber aroma. I’m now trying to work out CSA options in case the markets are still closed when the June growing season begins. Sigh.

  • Melissa
    March 30, 2020 2:41am

    I made this tonight and it is so much more than the sum of its parts. What a way to make cabbage feel luxurious.

    A few notes – I passed the soup through a fine mesh strainer since my blender doesn’t do that great of a job. I went a little light on the caraway seeds, about 3 tsps, as 4 tsps seemed like a lot, and I’m glad I did. And I cooked the potatoes in homemade chicken stock, which I appreciated in the richness of the soup.

    This soup was a delight on an otherwise melancholy, rainy evening alone. Making something so lovely out of humble ingredients gives me a bit of hope that the next weeks – months – will be bearable.

  • myrna1
    March 30, 2020 8:08pm

    Hi David, This is on the menu tonight. Caraway is one of my favorites. Its very popular in southern Germany. I had an aunt who would make Caraway/Kuemmel snapps. Good for what ails you!

  • Penny
    March 30, 2020 8:13pm

    I used chard instead of cabbage, because there is too much chard in my yard. Didn’t make the cabbage version, can’t compare, but I love the chard version!

  • MonicaK
    March 30, 2020 10:10pm

    I have been home for last few weeks and haven’t gone out. One of the few things I have in the fridge is a large heavy head of cabbage which I bought on sale before the Saint Patty’s day.
    I used it for 3 different ways: Cole slaw with Japanese mayo(which tastes closest to the French one), coarse French mustard, sugar and lots of apple cider vinegar. Ate it with fish and chips. I will also use the leftover cole slaw for tonight’s ground beef taco(was lucky enough to find a small packet of taco seasoning).
    I also made cabbage wrap by steaming the leaves for about 8 min. It was excellent to wrap up some leftover steak cubes and chili onion crunch from Trader Joe’s.
    Lastly, I made a small portion of cabbage kimchi following a recipe online.
    I have been eating well, maybe too well, without a supermarket visit for last few weeks.

  • Bonnie
    March 31, 2020 1:12am

    Have been house bound but had a cabbage! Made your soup tonight, using home made chicken stock instead of water for cooking the potatoes. The soup was delicious even without the parsley oil. Thank you for this, David.

  • Pristine
    March 31, 2020 12:52pm

    Hello from Sydney, David. This is a splendid recipe, and even my partner who usually baulks at soup loved it. I read your post on Sunday morning, and cycled out to the supermarket to find cabbage. As other Australian readers have noted, it’s a little bit pricey at the moment. Even so, I stuffed a 2 kilo head of cabbage into my backpack along with a few other things that could fit in, and cycled home merrily. I love the soup and have been sharing the recipe with other friends. Merci et bon courage!

  • Elissa
    March 31, 2020 5:39pm

    Made this last night, since my farmers’ market pickup box contained a cabbage bigger than my head and I’ve been searching for new cabbage recipes ever since. Delicious and unusual soup! You have to love caraway to like it, but I do. used almond milk, which worked great. No parsley oil, but chives on top. Thank you for sharing!

  • Karen
    March 31, 2020 11:58pm

    Hi David…..I made this soup today and I think it might have been awesome…..but I used celery seed instead of caraway as our small grocery store didn’t carry it.
    Equal measure of celery seed is TOO much and kind of ruined it.
    So FYI use less if substituting.

    • April 1, 2020 9:36am

      Ahhhhhh I was exactly looking to do it with celery. Cream soup are my favorite dish, thanks for sharing your tips about this version. I will try it now!

    • April 1, 2020 10:43am
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks for letting us know. I made a note in the headnote to use less. If you have some potatoes, I could cook one or two up and puree those with some of their cooking liquid, adding them to the remaining soup. Potatoes are outstanding for absorbing extra flavors and will likely lessen the oomph of the celery seed.

  • Pamela J McNab
    April 1, 2020 3:14am

    OH, if only I’d known how scrumptious this would be, I would have doubled the recipe! It’s a cool, rainy night so this was the perfect meal! I’m going to go out on a limb and say I bet this would also be nice chilled, kind of like a vichyssoise. It had a similar mouthfeel and creaminess. I made it in the Instant Pot, skipping the step of pre-cooking potatoes and therefore eliminating that water. I made it with half chicken broth and half skim milk. IT IS DIVINE! I can only imagine how much better it will be tomorrow! This only used 1/4 of an enormous cabbage so very economical. Merci beaucoup!

  • Margaret Bell
    April 1, 2020 11:51am

    Thanks David….enjoy your posts and loved this soup! With winter on the horizon (land of Oz) it is sure to become a favourite. I didn’t make the parsley oil as it was a simply mid week lunch for the two of us….chopped parsley had to suffice! Really delish!

  • Alma
    April 2, 2020 12:23am

    Hello, I too made this soup tonight. I used heavy cream mixed with water for the milk. It’s super creamy and delicious. Also, I didn’t have fresh parsley so I used a bunch of dried in the oil and it came out pretty tasty as well. Love this way of using cabbage, a vegetable I usually can’t stand cooked. Will use it another day again during a nice cold or rainy evening. Thanks, David!

  • Joanna
    April 2, 2020 2:15am

    I made this for lunch today and it was splendid! I used shallots because I was out of onions. Froze half, and will have the rest for lunch again tomorrow, thank you!
    I live about five blocks from the Berkeley Bowl, so I left my quarantine chambers to replenish my larder there: we line up outside, six feet apart, and get vinyl gloves at the entrance before we get a cart. They let us inside in batches so we can maintain a healthy distance from each other but also from the workers. I’m grateful to all the folks who work there.

  • Lynn D.
    April 2, 2020 2:40am

    Welcome to corona cooking where you have to make do with what you have! Didn’t have potatoes or whole milk, so I made it with onion, celery, carrot cabbage, delicious double homemade chicken stock, turmeric, and (much less than you used) caraway that I finally found in my spice drawer and split orange lentils (I wanted to have some protein in the soup). We have eaten in for three days for lunch. What? Cabbage soup again? And then we devour it in it’s deliciousness.

    • April 2, 2020 9:54am
      David Lebovitz

      Lol! We felt the same way, faced with another bowl of cabbage soup…again. But like you, we devoured them as well!

  • Rachel Callaghan
    April 2, 2020 3:05pm

    Cabbage is incredibly versatile. I use it at least once a week, making coleslaw, of course, but also cooked cabbage with noodles (haluski with or without the pork), chicken or beef pot roast with cabbage, and, one of our favorites, wok-charred cabbage with or without bacon/Chinese sausage/ham (whatever’s around). The caramelization of the cabbage from soy sauce or salt, a little sugar (very little), and rice or black vinegar is delicious. It’s flavored with a bit of onion but never garlic, sesame oil at the end, pepper, sometimes Szechuan pepper corns. Served over rice, yet another cheap and wonderful “peasant” dish.

  • Erin Callihan
    April 4, 2020 8:14pm

    This made for a wonderful dinner last night. The only thing I did differently was put the parsley scraps into the soup, must take full advantage of nutrition when presented with a virus.
    Thank you, David!

  • Kath D
    April 4, 2020 10:25pm

    As I was stirring the cabbage and caraway I realized that this is Colcannon Soup! Same ingredients as in our favorite St. Pat’s dish, with the addition of a pint of milk. It is delicious.

  • Peggy
    April 5, 2020 11:08pm

    Well, that was delicious!! As usual.

    Thank you.

  • CarolJ
    April 7, 2020 2:20am

    Thank you for this recipe. I’d never dreamed that cabbage could be turned into this delicious creamy soup. As I don’t care for caraway, I used a teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves; I also added minced fresh parsley at the end rather than making the oil. I’m very glad to add this to my soup repertoire.

  • Mariana
    April 7, 2020 4:31pm

    I have a red cabbage I need to use. Has anyone tried to make this recipe with red cabbage?

    • April 7, 2020 4:41pm
      David Lebovitz

      A friend of mine made it last weekend with red cabbage and said it came out really well :)

    • Torene
      April 8, 2020 6:40pm

      I made it with red cabbage and it was delicious. I left out the milk, but added some carmelized onions I had left over. I think it would be great with a scoop of creme fraiche or yogurt.

  • LSK
    April 8, 2020 6:19pm

    My biggest challenge with this recipe was keeping my husband from eating all of the sauteed cabbage before I could blend it into soup! Delicious, especially topped with slices of spicy grilled sausage for as a complete meal.

  • Virginia
    April 11, 2020 12:44am

    How do you slice something very thinly that has already been sliced??

    • April 11, 2020 10:01am
      David Lebovitz

      The first time you slice the cabbage, it doesn’t have to be very fine. I took a picture to include in the post, to show that. Since it’s going to be pureed, it doesn’t matter if it’s on the thick side. For the remaining cabbage, you run a knife over it to slice it fine. I didn’t take a picture of that as people online are rebelling against too many pictures in blog posts, in general, so was trying to keep the photo count down. Hope that helps!

  • April 11, 2020 3:45am

    When I first saw this post, I took your advice and noticed that beautiful cabbage was abundant at the market. I got two and just now made this soup. It was better than expected. Divine! Plus, quick, easy, and healthy. I didn’t have caraway seeds but added fresh thyme. I didn’t use the parsley oil because I didn’t have parsley, and I used coconut milk instead of regular milk. This recipe is a keeper. Next time I hope to use the caraway seeds and parsley oil.

  • Kay
    April 11, 2020 3:15pm

    Made it last night. It was indeed, very good. I didn’t have any fresh parsley, alas, but did add some dried and then ate it with a dollop of sour cream. A good recipe and doesn’t require a lot of time; looks more involved than it really is.

  • JeanineMB
    April 11, 2020 8:17pm

    This recipe was easy and delicious. I froze two serving and will have what’s left over the next two days.

  • FSB
    April 12, 2020 11:18am

    This is delicious! I stayed up late and made the cabbage soup and your German Apple cake w almond paste — we had an overabundance of both cabbage and apples since we’re getting a pre-set farm box (for which I am incredibly grateful) during the quarantine. I used cumin seed instead of caraway, and coconut milk — it actually gives me a little North Indian cuisine taste since we often prepare cabbage w cumin and mustard seeds.
    Plus the cake is outstanding – maybe the best baked use of apples I’ve ever made.

  • Terri Taggart
    April 12, 2020 6:55pm

    I’ve made this twice now. Some friends and I are doing a soup-off today, Easter Sunday, at our homes in Toronto, and meeting on ZOOM in a while to compare our results. The first batch I made pretty closely to the printed recipe, except I used some high-fat cream and the butter which was just too much. There’s something about frying butter that does not agree with me. The resulting soup was just too rich for my husband and me. Today I’ve made it using some of the options you mentioned: broth, olive oil. It’s fantastic! I’m never good at measuring things so there is quite a lot of it and I’m looking forward to presenting to our friends at the soup-off. The problem is that we cannot taste each other’s soups for, perhaps, a very long time. Anyway, it’s a great soup and not expensive. I”m thinking about the Savoy cabbage next. Not too sure what’s next, perhaps something from your recent pantry blog entry.

  • C. Parker
    April 22, 2020 12:35pm

    I made this and didn’t like it at all. It was more a purée than a soup and although I typically like caraway it was too strong. I agree with the comment that it’s very heavy.
    Interesting comments though, maybe I will try using other ingredients and use the recipe as a suggestion.