Easy Red Cabbage Soup [Vegan] [Low Carb] [Paleo]

I love the color of this super easy soup, not to mention the vitamin-packed nutrition from the fresh red cabbage. My mother always said that color is the key to health- fresh, colorful veggies are full of vitamins and minerals essential to our health and digestion. Red cabbage is high in Vitamins C, K, and the B vitamins, as well as iron. The World's Healthiest Foods site lists cabbage and describes the detoxifying ability and digestive boost which cabbage gives the body.

This is a quick soup which we love and has even been a hit with my sometimes picky family. It makes a great simple appetizer and is very low calorie- served with a nice big green salad and a balanced entree, you're well on your way to a healthy weight loss meal. Melissa, this is my first soup for January "soup month" and I'm looking forward to many more recipes from the whole community (where's your kale and cauliflower one? :) )

6 c. water
1 whole small organic red cabbage head
sea salt
2 T. extra virgin olive oil or virgin coconut oil
1 T. organic apple cider vinegar (optional)
2 organic purple potatoes (optional for low carb)

Combine water and purple potatoes (if you are using them) in a large pot. Turn up the heat to get the water boiling. In the meantime, rinse and pat dry the cabbage. I sliced it up with our Saladmaster, but a sharp knife would also do the trick. Add the cabbage, olive (coconut) oil, and seasonings to the water, reduce heat to low, and cover.

Cook/steam for about 7 minutes or until the cabbage is tender and the water is bright purple. It is important to drink all the broth since the water soluble vitamins have all diffused into the water; the cooked cabbage adds more filling dietary fiber, but the cooking has leached most of the nutrients otherwise. Add the vinegar right before serving, if desired.

I should note that if you or someone you love has a thyroid problem (underactive), then they should consume only cooked cruciferous vegetables (of the Cruciferae family). This includes both red and green cabbage, broccoli,, cauliflower, kale, collards and Brussels sprouts. Raw cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens which can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Some doctors recommend that people with already existing and untreated thyroid problems consider avoiding cabbage. However, there is always a danger in an unbalanced diet. It is thought that cooking inactivates the goitrogenic compounds, but by what extent is currently not obvious from the research. WHF has a page on this issue if you're concerned about your thyroid; read their article "What are goitrogens and in which foods are they found?" for more information.

Since the goitrogens put raw cabbage on the suspect list for thyroid issues, then one might lean towards only eating cooked cabbage and broccoli. Life is, of course, not so simple and it is always about balance. The cancer-fighting benefits from cabbage are best reaped from fresh, raw cabbage. These cancer-fighting organisms, or glucosinolates, are produced by myrosinase enzymes which are released when cabbage is sliced or chopped. World's Healthiest Foods gives a detailed section on this subject and notes that cooking denatures the myrosinase enzyme, thus stopping the production of glucosinolates.

Thus, if you want to get the anti-cancer benefits, eat raw or fermented cabbage.
My mother in law makes fantastic red cabbage sauerkraut which is fermented with liquid whey; this lacto-fermentation (rather than vinegar based) creates a higher proportion of beneficial bacteria for the gut. This makes her delicious red cabbage kraut my cabbage treat of choice- it has the anti-cancer benefits with (possibly) less thyroid aggravation. Don't get me wrong, I am a human black hole for red cabbage, green cabbage, and assorted dark greens sauteed in virgin coconut oil, mmmmmm! The sauteed greens are a daily part of my diet, but I am also careful to add raw vegetables since cooking can damage the food's vitamins (especially the water soluble ones). My brother-in-law David makes a kill red cabbage saute too, so I guess it runs in the family :)

Cindalou's Kitchen Blues: Healthy Celiac / Coeliac Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes


  1. Hi, I this is the first time I've seen your blog. Great job. I didn't know that about thyroid and cruciferous veggies. I am currently stuggling with thyroid issues and I do eat a lot of raw cabbage (coleslaw). Thanks for the data!

  2. Oh, we are on the same wavelength again! I just posted soup stock 101 for a good soup launching pad. And you're so right, red cabbage has lots of good things to offer. And your cashew raisin sprout salad looks awesome as well. Yum, yum, yum. You're such a little recipe-rock-star, Cindy!

  3. This is a GREAT recipe, thanks for posting it. I have thyroid issues and sometimes it's hard to keep track of the stuff you're supposed to eat and not supposed to eat. I do eat cooked cabbage though and this one is going into my routine!

  4. Hi and thank you for sharing this recipe and the really valuable info along with it!

    Interesting about the whole thyroid thing.... I wonder how the raw food community feels about or deals with it. I am not 100% raw, but promote at least fruits and veggies to stay as raw as possible....

  5. Man, that looks healthy. I think this one's simple enough that I might be able to give it a shot. Some of your other recipes were a little outside my skill range :) I don't get enough red/purple veggies in my diet so this soup is perfect. Plus you said it's low carb and low on the glycemic index, which I'm trying to eat more of. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Wonderful! I had my doubts. But I did tweak it slightly. First I put in half an onion chopped, added one more potato and replaced 1 cup of water with 1 cup of organic vegetable broth (Better than Boullion).
    Simply Mahvelous!

    World Wonderer

  7. Hello!!!

    This is was a great post and very helpful as well.


  8. Hi,

    Nice post!!!

    Really it is a great . i am so impressed.


    Water Removal

  9. Thank you for sharing this recipe and the really valuable info along with it!

  10. Hi, thanks for a great post! I love red cabbage and never thought you can cook it too, I usually ate it raw. :)

  11. have you published your mother in law's red cabbage saurkraut recipe? Sounds like good food. Would like the link!


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