Slow-Simmered Cabbage Soup


Cabbage is rarely described as tasting rich, but when simmered long and slow with plenty of butter and olive oil, that’s exactly the outcome. Although buttery, slow-simmered cabbage can be a dish in itself, add broth and sausage and you’ll get a very simple soup with incredibly rich, comforting flavor.

When cooking cabbage this way, high-quality butter and olive oil make a difference in flavor and healthfulness. Use grass-fed butter, if possible. Buy olive oil that’s as local as possible, has real flavor and has been put through the “fridge test.

Sausage doesn’t have to be the finishing touch to this cabbage soup. Use the cooked cabbage as a base for vegetable soup, or add cooked ground meat or thin slices of pork or beef instead. The cooked cabbage can also be frozen, then added to broth later on a busy night to make a quick pot of soup.

Servings: 4

Time in the Kitchen: 30 minutes hands-on time, plus 1.5 hours to simmer


ingredients 1

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (45 g)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (60 ml)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 or 2 savoy cabbage heads (2 pounds/1 kg total weight) quartered, cored, and very thinly sliced
  • 3 cups chicken or beef stock (700 ml)
  • 1 Kielbasa or other sausage, sliced (8 ounces/340 g)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley or dill (60 ml)


In a Dutch oven or wide, deep pot over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter with olive oil. Add onion and cook until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, cook a few minutes until soft, then add cabbage in batches, stirring well to coat in oil.


When the cabbage has wilted a little, season with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper and cover the pot. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. If the pot seems dry, add a little bit of water. When it’s done, the cabbage will be very soft and tender.

(At this point, the cabbage can be cooled and frozen, if desired. It can then be re-heated in broth for soup.)

Turn heat up to medium. Add broth and kielbasa. Bring to a simmer, uncovered. Cook until the sausage is completely warmed through, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter, fresh herbs, plus more salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Soup 1

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25 thoughts on “Slow-Simmered Cabbage Soup”

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    1. Wanna kick up your apple
      Cider? Try “Fire Cider” out of Pittsfield, MA. They distribute throughout New England mostly but have an online store. Amazing and delicious but in recipes be sparingly.

  1. Definitely making this! I already love cooking cabbage in olive oil, and I am making my second batch of broth from our pastured Thanksgiving turkey right now. Can’t wait!

  2. I make a version of this frequently. It’s fast, easy, and nutritious. You can use any kind of cabbage, and it’s a good way to finish off leftover ham or any fresh veggies that might need to be used. I usually don’t precook the cabbage (although I might try this method). I just throw everything in the pot at the same time–omitting the oil and butter–and simmer it all together for an hour or two, It makes a very flavorful broth, and the sausage will add plenty of fat to the soup.

  3. Mark, you’re amazing. You read my mind. I’ve been thinking about getting some cabbage and I’ve been on a soup kick since mid October! This is perfect!

  4. Such a good idea. I don’t usually cook cabbage since my kids don’t really like it.
    But cooked this way, it sounds appealing. Miam!

  5. I don’t understand why go through all the effort to put in grass fed butter and then put in sausages, which are highly processed and filled with grain fed meat.

    1. You are assuming that the sausage is the crap from the store made in a giant factory. Mark wouldn’t use that. The sausage I get is from my local farm and the pigs are fed only whole foods from their farm. You also can make sausage from just about any protein and fat combination. Don’t assume friend.

  6. One suggested improvement! chicken or duck fat (or goose fat!) even better than butter or olive oil, or use a mixture. Be careful cooking the cabbage, it can scorch easily. You could also pop the pot into an oven at 300 degrees and roast it for a few hours.

    Not hard to find a decent smoked sausage, or just make your own with some ground pork and turkey, a little sage and chili, make into little sausage meatballs and roast in hot oven before dropping into the soup.

  7. How does the cabbage stay moist cooking it for 1.5 – 2 hours only using olive oil & butter? Can you simmer it in the broth instead?

    1. The water from the cabbage should keep it from drying out. Keep it covered and you should be good.

  8. This sounds like it could be an amazing slow cooker dish! I’ll defintely be trying this, but would anyone have idea if it can be modified for a slow cooker too?

    1. I was thinking the same thing, and when I try it I’ll probably dump in all the ingredients and cook on low for 2 hours, then adjust from there the next time.

  9. I do something similar when coming off a fast–I take my bone broth, and add chopped celery and bits of the meat that came off the parts I boiled to get the broth. I suppose I could sub cabbage for the celery, and PASTURE-RAISED pork sausage for the meat bits.

    Sorry–that was for the person who brought up using sausage that was CAFO raised. I know my farmer, and what he feeds his animals.

  10. I’ve done something similar as a side dish. Simply cook bacon in a Dutch oven. Fish out the crispy slices. Follow the same recipe except the bacon drippings replace the butter and oil and omit the liquid. Serve topped with bacon crumbles.

  11. Just had this for dinner tonight…it was wonderful. My wife tweaked it by adding white button mushrooms, uncured applewood smoked bacon and spicy chicken Italian sausage from Trader Joe’s. She also used a Turkey Bone Broth as the soup base. Reminds me of lot of the type of meals I grew up with but far healthier. Truly a Paleo Comfort food and perfect for a snowy winter night while watching the Broncos beat the Patriots.

  12. “Mish me lakra” aka “mishi lakna” (how people in the North pronounce it) is a classic Albanian household staple that has been eaten for an untold number of centuries.

    They typically use the harder green cabbage and chop it up into large squares and put it into a big pot. Top with water and then put in several large chunks (like 2″x2″x2″) of house-cured pork belly. Simmer for a couple of hours and somehow it’s the best-tasting thing in the world. Those squishy, savoury pieces of pork fat are the BEST.

    One winter, my boyfriend’s mom made this more often than usual, and so I ate it a lot more often than usual. Even though I was already primal and had lost some weight, I lost even more weight just eating this all the time… almost no carbs and so rich and satisfying. The cabbage is kind of sweet and you really can’t over-eat with something like this because of all the fibre and fat, so trust me, you won’t want dessert after. THIS is weight loss food. The pork belly they used had a lot of meat on it, too, so it wasn’t just fat- plenty of protein.

    Some Albanians add carrots or even pork bones to their dish but honestly, 3 simple ingredients (I guess 4 if you count the salt used to cure the pork belly)- water, cabbage, and cured pork belly- truly make one of my favourite things to eat ever. It’s just not the same if you use sausage or bacon- seriously, try it with the pork belly and you will love it even more. The texture of it is unbeatable. Poor farmer’s food but isn’t that always the healthiest kind?

    🙂 Happy to see recipes like this on Mark’s Daily.

  13. Made it, liked it, used beef kielbasa. Next time I will use organic andouille sausage and also add a few caraway seeds.

  14. Tried this out today and it was absolutely delicious! A long time since I ate sausages but they were really very nice. I used some organic Cumberlands, amazing! Made it with butter and a bit of chicken stock and the cabbage was perfect. Thanks for the recipe tip 😉 Will definitely make again.

  15. I’m already mostly primal, and a pretty fine chef (as many others have told me), so let me add my thoughts. I made this recipe today for the first time.

    This is *killer*. It SLAYS.

    I put it in the slow cooker for six hours and added to the above ingredients the following: white mushrooms, chopped savory bacon ends, ground fennel seeds, and a minced shallot. I did use chicken sausage to limit the amount of fat, since I was already adding bacon.

    Ridiculously delicious. Easy. Healthy. You don’t have to be paleo to love this.

    This dish, plus a side of sauteed spinach and a plate of winter fruit like persimmons or pears, is going to be my new go-to winter meal. I’ll be serving this to everyone I know.

    Thanks to Mark and staff.

  16. Hmmm, is burnt cabbage Primal?

    I’m going to cook it in stock next time.

  17. thanks.. I am relearning to cook healthier, simple foods.. Resurrected a container of white bean soup with spinach, garlic, onions , some rotini — too bland.. first night added fire roasted diced tomatoes.. tonight added some leftover chopped cabbage salad.. *with the Italian oil dressing already on it.. and found you.. now just tasted.. and have an entirely NEW supper.. will check in again.. even 73 yr old great grannies can learn new things* ST, Anchorage, AK