Better-Than-It-Sounds Slow Cooker Cabbage Soup

I am terribly busy this month, so here is a simple yet healthy and effective recipe that I have been relying on.  It’s full of vegetables and herbs and not much else, yet the broth comes out aromatic and satisfying—an excellent calming agent after a long day of running around in frustration or confusion.  You can make this soup vegan or non-vegan, as I outline below.  Also, if you are trying to fit into a too-snug wedding dress two weeks before the big day, you can omit the legumes and grains and use this soup as a staple.

It is common in cabbage soup recipes like this one to use a can of diced tomatoes with the liquid instead of fresh tomatoes.  You can absolutely do this if you want, while adding less water/broth.  I used fresh tomatoes this time because I happened to have them, plus they contribute a mellower, less-acidic broth in the end.


Better-Than-It-Sounds Slow Cooker Cabbage Soup

Adapted from Divas Can Cook

Serves: 4, generously
Time: 10 min + 6 hours

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 head of green cabbage (savoy is awesome in this)
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1-2 tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup dry soup mix, or some combination of dry lentils, peas, beans, barley, etc.
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried chili pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp tomato ketchup
    (please trust me. This just gives a nice, subtle hint of sweetness!)
  • 5 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 5 cups water (or more vegetable broth)
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • salt, to taste

At the very least give the legume/grain mix a good rinse like this.  This stuff gets dusty.

For the non-vegan version:

  • 50-100 g smoked sausage/salami/pepperoni, diced
    (whatever you can scrounge from the kitchen works great!)
  • replace veggie broth with chicken broth,
    or use 1 Tbsp chicken bouillon powder for 10 cups water


  1. Place all ingredients, except for the black pepper and salt, in your slow cooker.

I don’t even bother with mixing.  I got things to do!

  1. Set the slow cooker for 4 hours on High, or 6 hours on Low.If you are away for more than that amount of time, ideally your slow cooker will turn itself to Keep Warm until you return.  If not, that’s ok.  That much liquid in a well-insulated container will retain its heat for quite some time and the soup will not spoil.

The barley has bloomed nicely and the cabbage has made the flat smell just like old country.

  1. Remove the bay leaf.  Add freshly cracked black pepper and salt, to taste.
  1. Serve and relax!

3 thoughts on “Better-Than-It-Sounds Slow Cooker Cabbage Soup

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