This nourishing green cabbage soup, with just a hint of lemon and dill, is the perfect balance of light and comforting. With plenty of shredded cabbage, Yukon Gold potato and chickpeas, it’s a light meal all on its own: I like to roast the chickpeas for a crunchy topping but you can also throw them directly into the soup so you don’t have to turn on the oven!

bowls of green cabbage soup with potato and chickpeas and spoon
This light, fresh yet satisfying cabbage soup is a simple and budget-friendly meal.

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On so many levels, soup is a perfect meal…it comes together in one pot, it makes it easy to eat a TON of nutrient-dense veggies (newsflash: the dietitian wants you to eat your veggies ha ha) and they usually come together pretty quickly. 

Whether it’s a cozy weekend or a busy weeknight, soup is always one of my go-to meals, which is why I have so many vegan soup recipes here on the blog. Some nights, I love a rich, creamy soup like my curried lentil, tomato and coconut soup. My hearty mushroom barley soup is all about nostalgia. 

And this green cabbage soup leans into simple, fresh flavours: a little lemony and herbaceous. It really is the perfect balance when you want something that feels light but still comforting. A lot of the cabbage soup recipes online have a tomato base, but I really wanted to celebrate the fresh, gentle sweetness of green cabbage with a clear broth.

Because the ingredients for this soup are all quite delicately flavoured, there are a few tricks I use to create a bit of magic. The first is taking a few extra minutes to get the textures right: finely shred the cabbage so it melts into the soup and you’re not crunching through it. Dice the potato into small 1 cm (½ inch-ish) pieces so they fit easily on the spoon with other ingredients – we’re using waxy Yukon Gold potatoes here so they keep their shape and don’t release too much starch into the broth.

You’re also going to cook the cabbage with aromatics just a few minutes longer until they start to brown a bit and develop their flavour. And then of course, my not-so-secret weapon: Better Than Bouillon concentrate. I haven’t used vegetable broth in years as this is lower waste, more affordable per serving and tastes SO much richer. I use the vegetarian “no chicken” concentrate here but the garlic would be amazing too. If you have celiac disease, these aren’t GF so substitute your favourite GF bouillon cube or concentrate. Go Bio has nice vegan, GF options.

There are two ways to approach the chickpeas in the soup: you can simply add them with the water and spices and let them simmer – or, if you don’t mind turning on the oven – you’ll roast them as the soup cooks for an extra layer of texture in the soup which I love. 

Either way, you’ll have a nourishing bowl of soup in 45 minutes flat to feed a crowd, and most of that time is hands off simmering. It’s a light yet complete meal with veggies, potatoes and chickpeas.

How to make this simple and nourishing cabbage soup

A little chopping, a little sauteing and a little simmering: just 45 minutes to make this nutrient-dense cabbage soup! But here’s the hack: if you buy pre-shredded cabbage, you’ll save even more time.

cabbage, chickpeas, potatoes and lemon
Just 9 VERY simple ingredients – plus oil and salt – for a satisfying cabbage soup.

Step One: Gather your ingredients. You’ll need 1lb each of cabbage and Yukon Gold potatoes, a yellow onion, a lemon, some fresh dill, plus bouillon concentrate, dried thyme, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper and oil. Yep, just 9 ingredients and most of them are basics!

Step Two: finely shred your cabbage into roughly 2-3 inch ribbons so it isn’t long like spaghetti in your soup. Get those onions thinly sliced too.

Step Three: Cook the cabbage and onions in oil over medium heat until they’re soft, glossy and just starting to brown a bit, about 8-10 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper. Don’t skip this! It pumps up their flavour in the soup…it does not make them taste “salty”.

Step Four: Add the water, potatoes, chickpeas, bouillon concentrate, garlic powder, thyme, and cumin. Bring it to a boil on high then let it simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

Step Five: Turn off the heat, add the lemon juice, zest and dill. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve on it’s own or with some nice crusty bread.

roasted chickpeas on baking sheet
To get your chickpeas even crunchier, start with a dry roast and DON’T add too much oil!

Why Cabbage is So, So Good For You

Kale may get all the press, but the humble cabbage is a nutrient powerhouse in its own right. It is the very definition of nutrient-dense: just 1 cup of shredded cabbage contains 1.3 mg of fibre for digestion, along with small amounts of vitamins and minerals, like:

  • 30mg of calcium for strong bones, 0.4mg of vegan iron and 126mg of heart-healthy potassium plus trace amounts of zinc, copper and selenium.
  • Green cabbage also contains B vitamins like folate, 27mg of vitamin C, some vitamin K as well as small amounts of choline and betaine.
  • But as a cruciferous vegetable (yes, just like kale!) where it really shines is the sheer amount of antioxidant and antiinflammatory phytochemicals it contains, such as lutein and zeaxanthin for healthy eyesight, quercetin and sulfur-based compounds like sulforaphane.

Make this vegan cabbage soup your own

I love this soup exactly as it is…but one of the things I love about soups is how flexible they are, so go ahead, make it your own!

  • Add spice! A good pinch of red chile flakes will add a bit of heat, or stir in a bit of harissa
  • Boost the protein: want to double down on plant-based protein? You could always double the chickpeas, or you could finely dice (really small!) some extra firm or smoked tofu into the soup before it simmers.
  • Love lemon? Add even more zest or juice. My hubs and I really debated this one…he strongly preferred just 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. But I also liked the taste of 2 tablespoons because then that zesty lemon flavour really hits. You could also swap fennel for dill if you prefer that flavour or blend in some roasted garlic to the broth.

More nourishing vegan soups

bowls of green cabbage soup with potato and chickpeas and spoon

Vegan Green Cabbage Soup with Potato

This nourishing green cabbage soup, with just a hint of lemon and dill, is the perfect balance of light and comforting. With plenty of shredded cabbage, Yukon Gold potato and chickpeas, it’s a light yet satisfying meal.
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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil
  • 1 pound green cabbage, cored and finely shredded (8 cups shredded)
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1 cm (½ inch) cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved and finely sliced
  • 14 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Concentrate, or gluten free alternative
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 lemon , zested
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped

Instructions 

Roasting the chickpeas? Start here

  • If roasting the chickpeas, do this FIRST: preheat oven to 425℉ (218℃). Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Rinse and drain chickpeas then pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Place chickpeas on baking sheet, DRY, and bake for 20 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon oil and ¼ tsp salt, stir with a spoon and bake until crunchy, about 15 minutes more.

Cabbage Soup Instructions

  • Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, glossy and starting to brown, about 8-10 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.
  • Add water, potatoes, (chickpeas if not roasting), bouillon concentrate, garlic powder, thyme, and cumin. Bring to a boil on high, then let bubble away on medium until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Turn off heat. Add lemon juice, zest and dill and stir. Taste, adjusting salt as needed. Ladle into bowls and top with crunchy chickpeas if using.

Notes

This soup keeps well in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for a month.
You can absolutely double the chickpeas to boost filling protein and fibre. Or, add diced extra firm or smoked tofu to the soup at the same time you add the potatoes.