Embarking on a new year is when I work to lure a new–often forgotten–vegetable into my orbit. Considering I am still wearing a few of the cookies I ate over the holidays, cabbage is this year’s chosen victim.
Bring On the Brassica
Cabbage is a vegetable people either love or hate. I fall into the former category as I love cabbage’s inherent versatility. Raw cabbage can be used in to bring heft to simple salads and makes an everlasting slaw. Cooked cabbage has endless applications ranging from sauerkraut to cabbage rolls to sides to soup to roasted cabbage (slather with the creamy chimichurri and you have an incredible vegetarian entree).
Low in calories–merely 22 calories per cup, cabbage is high in nutrients and boasts Vitamin K, C, folate and fiber. It also comes in a variety of shapes and colors which can make up for cabbage’s lack of physical appeal. No, it’s not a sexy vegetable, but when you look at its make-up, we are reminded not to judge a book by the cover. Studies show cabbage can minimize inflammation, improves digestion, may help keep your heart healthy and may lower blood pressure. Plus, it’s inexpensive and a little cabbage goes a long way.
A friend is traveling to the beach at the end of the month and has been virtually living on cabbage soup to lean out a bit. Filled with vegetables and still hearty because of the cabbage, this reminded me of the “diet of the 90’s”–the Cabbage Soup Diet. I remember gorging on cabbage soup for a week in major anticipation of Friday when you were instructed to eat five bananas! This diet was definitely the jump-starter needed to activate weight loss and recalibrate your palate.
Fast forward more than 30 years and here we are with a new Cabbage Soup recipe that takes the premise of the original dish and kicks it up a bit with fire-roasted tomatoes, vinegar and garbanzo beans for a bit of protein. In prep for my beach vacation in February, I decided to follow my friend’s lead (she’s lost six pounds) with this cabbage soup 2.0 recipe and I love it!
But rather than think of this as a dietetic soup, think of it as a wholesome soup that will fill you up and make you feel good. Cabbage, carrots, onion, celery, bell pepper, garbanzo beans–all of the essential ingredients for a hearty soup that eats like a stew. And if it might help you lose weight, that makes this soup even more delicious!
This is one of the easiest, healthiest and tastiest soups I have made in a while. A riff off the 90's Cabbage Soup diet, in addition to a ton of vegetables, this updated version smartly calls for fire-roasted tomatoes, vinegar and garbanzo beans--all of which take a traditionally boring cabbage soup to new heights.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 4 ribs celery chopped
- 4 carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper cored and chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt divided
- 2 tablespoons white wine or apple cider vinegar
- 1 28-oz canned fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 quart vegetable broth homemade or low sodium
- 4 garlic cloves diced
- 1/2 large head white cabbage cored and thinly sliced
- 1 can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- flat-leaf parsley chopped for garnish, optional
In a soup pot, add the olive oil and place over medium heat.
Once the oil is hot, add the onion, celery, carrots, bell pepper, half the salt and freshly ground black pepper. Saute for 8-10 minutes, stirring to coat.
Add the vinegar, tomatoes, broth, garlic, cabbage, beans and thyme and stir well to combine. It will feel like there is too much cabbage, but the cabbage will wilt in a few minutes as it cooks down.
Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender.
Season to taste, garnish with parsley and serve.
Refrigerate any leftovers for up to a week or freeze for up to two months.