It’s soup season. There’s nothing like coming in after a walk through the blustery streets of Vineyard Haven to a piping hot bowl of soup for lunch. And there’s nothing more delicious than homemade soup — sorry, Campbell’s and Progresso.
For the past few weeks, that’s the lunch I’ve been packing every day — homemade soup. Some of them are soups I made and shared with you previously, including Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup and Spinach and Beef Soup. But I do get tired of making the same soups over and over.
It was the week following Thanksgiving, when I made — what else? — turkey soup, that I realized just how much I love fresh vegetables in my soup. And since Thanksgiving always comes with a bit of overindulgence, I was looking for a good soup with few calories.
Well, hello, Vegetarian Cabbage Soup. I got this recipe from the Clever Meal website. Not only is it a low-cal option — just 150 calories in a single serving — but it’s also easy to prepare, mighty tasty, and inexpensive.
It calls for fresh carrots, cauliflower, shredded cabbage, onion, garlic, and celery. The other main ingredients are diced tomatoes (I like the fire-roasted ones) and vegetable stock. The stock is something I messed up on the second time I made this. Someone had left a box of mushroom stock in the same row as vegetable stock at the supermarket. So I had a box of each. It turned out to be a happy mistake, as I really liked the second iteration of this soup that included a mixture of the two stocks.
The spices — ground coriander, chili pepper flakes, and smoked paprika — help round out this flavorful soup.
The first time I made this, my wife assisted with a stick blender. The recipe called for blending about one-third of the soup, but we blended more than that. The second time, we went easier on the blending, and it made for a heartier and more satisfying dining experience.
To make the soup, you cook the garlic, onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil. According to Clever Meal, this process is called “soffritto” in Italy. This fills the kitchen with heavenly smells. Once that’s done, mix in the spices and give it a good stirring before adding the cabbage (for about a minute), and then the cauliflower, and finally the tomatoes and stock. Bring it all to a boil for five minutes and then let it simmer for another 25 minutes before going at it with the hand blender.
Vegetarian Cabbage Soup
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
4 large carrots, cut into chunks
4 celery stalks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 to 4 bay leaves
1 tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. coriander
½ tsp. chili pepper flakes
1 lb. cabbage, shredded
½ lb. cauliflower
1 14-oz. can of diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups mushroom broth
pinch of salt
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, and cook stirring often. When the onion is softened and translucent, add the spices, and coat the vegetables. Add the cabbage, and cook for about one minute.
Add the cauliflower, canned tomatoes, broth, and salt to taste. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil; cover the pot, and reduce the heat to simmer for 25 minutes.
Once the soup has simmered, remove the bay leaves, and use a hand blender to blend the cauliflower. I like some of the vegetables, like the carrots and celery, to be larger, to give it some body.