Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Recipe Connection: Katie’s Simple Cabbage Soup with Secret Super Food

June 23rd, 2009 · 72 Comments · Do It Yourself, Frugality, Recipes, Super Foods, What to Buy

Cabbage Soup Secret Super Food

Do you know the thrill of creating a recipe from scratch?  I can’t tell you how tickled I get when I manage something like this (it’s happened only a handful of times in my life).  I think it’s pretty cool already that I have become bold enough in the kitchen to mess with other people’s recipes and tweak this and add that. I always think it looks so suave on the cooking shows when they don’t use measuring cups or spoons, but just dump spices into their hands or twirl the oil around the pan.  Do you feel like you’re on TV when you do that in your kitchen?  (I do.  Just don’t tell anyone; it’s not very humble of me.)

This story starts with cabbage.  I bought my first head of cabbage this spring after reading about how healthy they are.  The timing was great because they are so cheap around St. Patrick’s Day.  I had always thought before that they were in a category with iceberg lettuce and didn’t have many nutrients.  Don’t judge a book by its cover!  I had this recipe picked out for the cabbage, but it only needed half the head.  What do you do with a half head of cabbage (when you barely knew what to do with the first half)?

I pulled up a few cabbage soup recipes and decided on one that had beans in it and was based with chicken stock (two of my favorite foods to cook with, if you’ve been around KS for long!).

Recipes on the Computer and Multiple Tabs

Now you have to tell me: does anyone else do this?  When I find a recipe or post I find interesting, I just leave it open in a tab. I currently have 11 windows open, each with 3-10 tabs.  What?!?  My husband thinks I’m crazy.  Is this a female thing or just my weird quirk?

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So this recipe was up on my computer for over a week, and I would pass it and think, yep, that’s planned for next week.  But I never bookmarked it or printed it…and the night I wanted to make the soup, my computer had been acting up and lost all my windows.  (Grrrr…)  It was off, and I wasn’t in the mood to wrestle with it.

I decided I’d seen the recipe flash past enough times that I could wing it!  I don’t have a clue if this is close to the original; I couldn’t remember the seasonings at all, so I think it really is “mine”.  Love it!  Bragging!  (Shutting up now – here’s the recipe…have you been wondering about the secret super food since Sunday’s post?)

Cabbage Secret Superfood Soup

Katie’s Simple Cabbage Soup with Secret Super Food
Recipe type: Soup
Author: Katie Kimball
  • Olive oil and butter ($0.30)
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped ($0.25)
  • 3-5 stalks celery, sliced ($0.25)
  • 3 carrots, sliced ($0.30)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped ($0.10)
  • 1-2 cans great northern beans (or 2-3 cups cooked if using dry) ($0.50-1.50)
  • ½ head cabbage, thinly sliced ($0.50-1.50 – varies greatly by time of year)
  • 6 cups chicken stock (free if homemade or $2-4.00)
  • 1-2 cups pumpkin ($0.40-1.00)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1+ tsp cumin
  • optional: 8 oz. can tomato sauce ($0.50)
  1. Melt ~1Tbs butter and 2Tbs olive oil.
  2. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and beans in order as you chop them.
  3. By the time you add the beans, the onions should be soft.
  4. Add salt, pepper, cumin and stir.
  5. Add cabbage and cover 5 minutes or so to wilt.
  6. Add broth, pumpkin (frozen is fine) and optional tomato sauce.
  7. Bring to a boil and reduce to high simmer.
  8. Cover and cook 15-30 minutes until carrots and cabbage are tender.  Serves 8 – 10.

Super foods: 8 (or 9 with tomato sauce)  That is a ridiculous number of super foods!  I’m proud of my recipe – can you cram any more nutrients in there? Husband would say “add meat” of course…
Cost:  $2.60-$5.70, up close to $10 if you use fancy chicken stock.
I like how this underscores the frugality of doing things yourself and shopping the sales and seasons.  Dry beans and homemade chicken stock make a massive difference in price here, and shopping for pumpkin in the fall and cabbage in March really cut down the total cost as well.  Under $3 to feed 10 people?  Seriously.  That’s awesome.

Cabbage Secret Superfood Soup

The version with tomato sauce…

The Story of the Secret

As I was assembling the ingredients I did some thinking like, “What spices will taste good with cabbage and beans?” which ran quickly into, “What spices does my family love and I’m in the mood for tonight?”  After tasting the soup, I must have been pondering orange vegetables.  Maybe I was thinking about upcoming Super Foods.  Maybe I was thinking about stuff in my freezer that I needed to use up.  (I always freeze extras from a can in one-cup portions for muffins, but never make enough muffins…)  Maybe I noticed the many cans of pumpkin I have in my basement that I bought in the fall (when they’re on sale and then on clearance after Thanksgiving!) that I need to remember to use more often.  Whatever the inspiration, my sneaky little self thought, “Could I put pumpkin in cabbage soup???”

Find this recipe, updated and with even more frugal tips and transformation options, along with 29 other bean recipes and a ton of information on cooking dry beans, the health benefits of beans, and ideas for bean haters in The Everything Beans Book, available now at Kitchen Stewardship!

My husband only eats pumpkin in muffins and bread.  He won’t do pumpkin pie.  He doesn’t do squash soup or sweet potato fries.  The man is not picky, but he has a thing against orange fall vegetables, apparently.  He also told me that his mom used to serve a tomato-based cabbage soup when he was little that he just loved.  I know better:  pumpkins aren’t tomatoes.  I almost didn’t do it…but a holy kitchen super food boldness stole over me…

I actually put 1 cup of pumpkin in half the soup and 1 cup of tomato sauce in the other half.  My husband couldn’t guess what the “secret super food” was until I hinted about pie (practically gave it away).  He was surprised to find he liked the pumpkin version better than the tomato, and another friend over for lunch that week concurred.  (And she asked for the recipe, the best compliment she could give!)

Cabbage Soup Secret Super Food

Now you have it too.  See if your family can guess the secret super food!

Once you open the can of pumpkin, what next?  Here are 6 Tips for Leftover Pumpkin.

I’m so pleased and excited to be part of Kimi’s first “Pennywise Platter Thursday” carnival at The Nourishing Gourmet, surely one of the classier healthy food blogs out there.  Please come back Thursday and check out her carnival, which is sure to be packed full of good recipes for nourishing foods, tips to save money and be healthy, and more.  For a taste, see her post on Nourishing Food for a Single Gal on a Budget and be sure to read through the amazing discussion in the comments.

Please also take the time to visit these carnivals for other great recipes and frugal ideas:

Check out GirlyMama for a new carnival; Try This Tuesday, Vegetarian Meals.

Tammy’s Recipes has a bunch of cabbage recipes here.

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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