Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Recipe Connection: Turmeric Chicken Soup with Cabbage and Coconut

January 29th, 2014 · 26 Comments · Recipes

Made with Turmeric - Coconut Cabbage Chicken Soup

You know how some kids put ketchup on everything?

In our house, it’s all about mustard. We go through mustard like nobody’s business, seriously. I should buy stock in the stuff.

Which means, of course, that I should also buy stock in laundry stain treaters and ultimately, clothing, since mustard is a bear to get out of most colors. My kids put mustard on all meat, love it in potato salad and egg salad, and even have been known to dip their vegetables in it. They’re 8, 5 and 2, so we have a lot of shirts with yellow stains.

Why is mustard so yellow, so potent?


I always used to think that mustard was yellow because, you know, mustard was probably yellow. It bothered me for years after I started cooking from scratch that ground mustard was so pale. Where does all that color come from? I would check the ingredients skeptically for artificial colors and come up empty.

It turns out that along with perma-staining bright yellow color, turmeric has plenty of other star features and deserves to get on your plate in far more places than just the humble mustard.

Healthful Properties of Turmeric

  • Powerful anti-inflammatory (“Turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available,” from the American Academy of Pain Management)
  • Supports brain health (people in India, where turmeric is eaten daily in curry, have less than a quarter the rate of Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Protects and detoxifies liver
  • Strong antioxidant properties (cancer-fighting, particularly skin cancer, prostate head and neck cancer, and prohibiting the spread of breast cancer into the lungs)
  • Fights infection
  • Helpful to treat depression
  • May help psoriasis and eczema
  • Effective treatment for IBS
  • Helps cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis
  • May lower cholesterol, support heart health

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Turmeric Chicken Soup - with Cabbage and Coconut

Turmeric is best eaten with black pepper to increase its absorption, and cauliflower and coconut oil are also helpful in enhancing its quite amazing healthful properties.

Of course, I only read this after I created the soup…so I recommend adding cauliflower and increasing the black pepper if possible. Cabbage is in the cruciferous family along with cauliflower, but I’m not sure if it counts. Smile

Ultimately the soup tastes great, though, and it’s a good gateway to getting your family used to eating things tinted slightly (ok, not slightly) yellow.

Apparently turmeric is also more accessible to your body if it’s fermented, which is pretty cool – read more here.

I’ve been using turmeric for a little over a year in many meat dishes and in place of anything that used to call for dried onion soup mix. You’ll see it a lot as an ingredient throughout the Better Than a Box eBook. It’s always nice to learn that something you’ve come to enjoy anyway has so many incredible health benefits!

It also helps avoid hearing, “Me no like poop!” all throughout dinner.

I’ll explain – my toddler has suddenly decided to be stubborn about all foods and claim that he doesn’t like anything I serve. We eat a lot of soup in the winter, and he’s not so solid on the “S” sound. Therefore, “Me no like poop!” is a very common refrain during the dinner hour around here.

“This is mustard chicken soup. Look at all that mustard in there!” was my response with this turmeric chicken soup. It worked well enough to get him through a bowl…

Recipe: Turmeric Chicken Soup with Cabbage and Coconut

Turmeric Chicken Soup with Cabbage and Coconut

5.0 from 2 reviews
Turmeric Chicken Soup with Cabbage and Coconut
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: soup
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • ½-1 c. diced onion
  • 8 c. chicken stock
  • 2 large potatoes, diced
  • 3-4 carrots, sliced
  • a quarter of a large cabbage, sliced/diced thinly
  • ⅓-1/2 c. coconut cream (or a can of coconut milk)
  • 2-3 c. cooked shredded chicken
  • ½-1 tsp. dry ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1-2 tsp. salt
  • ¼-1/2 tsp. black pepper
  1. Melt butter over medium heat. Saute the onion for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent (or browned, to your preference).
  2. Add the stock, potatoes (peeled or unpeeled), carrots and cabbage and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients and cook until potatoes and carrots are completely soft.
* What's coconut cream you ask? It's the same thing as coconut butter, kind of a cross between coconut oil, coconut milk, and dry desiccated coconut – a thick paste (solid at cool room temps) that is great for baking. On the jar it says that a teaspoon in a cup of water makes coconut milk, so I tend to add it to soups and stir fries instead of buying a whole can of coconut milk. I have a lot to use because I grabbed two jars on an impulse BOGO buy here. ;) I'm using a lot to make these cookies, too. Yum!

* If you don't have any coconut cream or coconut butter, a can of coconut milk will do just fine (try to find one with the fewest ingredients). Vitacost usually has a very good brand; watch for free shipping and deals, or if you've never shopped there, use this link to get $10 off.

* I get cooked shredded chicken from making chicken stock or leftover from roasting a whole chicken. Too much work to cook chicken just for soup!

* What to do with the rest of the cabbage? Some awesome ideas (and why cabbage is a great buy) here.

Wintersoup 3D eBook 200The soup was adapted from one by Whole Foods on a Budget found in the Winter Soups Cookbook, a compilation from over 50 real food bloggers. I’ve been tapping into the depth of that book’s resource all week, and what a joy to have so many great new ideas! Check it out here.

Have you used turmeric in anything lately?

Other turmeric recipes


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26 Comments so far ↓

  • Shonda via Facebook

    I have all the ingredients ready to go. I will be making this one today for sure.

  • Teresa via Facebook

    can I use milk instead of coconut (we can’t do coconut in our house because of allergies)

  • via Facebook

    Teresa I have no doubt it would be great as a slightly creamy soup with a cup or two of milk or with just broth as a simple twist on regular old chicken soup. :)

  • Nana Phyllis

    I if I exchange cauliflower for cabbage I have all the ingredients on hand. Might make this tomorrow! Looks great.

  • Dorothy

    Delicious! I added cauliflower and some green peas just for fun (and lots of pepper). Thank you for sharing this recipe! I know I will make it again and again!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Awesome, Dorothy!

  • Maria G

    Perfect! I was trying to figure out what kind of soup to make for dinner tonight. This will be perfect. :)

    Turmeric is one of our favorite spices. I use it in almost every egg dish I make, as well as sprinkling it on homemade coconut-oil popcorn (when I’m in the mood to risk the yellow-stained fingers & fingerprints everywhere!).

  • Lynda H

    This looks absolutely delicious! I may try this with cabbage AND cauliflower!

  • Jennifer

    Looks and sounds yummy! Will it freeze well? Do you think one would have to leave out the cabbage and/or coconut cream to freeze?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Cabbage freezes just fine, so I can almost guarantee this whole recipe would freeze well (although we ate all of ours before I was even tempted to freeze it). :) Katie

  • JOY

    Very yummy!

    I made this today and added 4 cloves of garlic. I almost substituted cauliflower for potatoes but we have been without carbs for a while and was wanting some! :-)

  • Elsie

    I hear you on the mustard! Love that stuff(:

  • Karen

    Made this last night. It was a big hit with the toddlers too! Sweet potatoes were substituted for the white potatoes, added broccoli and garlic. Coconut cream added just hint of sweetness that made it divine. Will definitely be added to the soup rotation!

  • Dae

    Made this yesterday….SO STINKIN’ GOOD!! I forgot to put in the coconut milk until we had eaten half of the batch–it’s FABU either way. We liked it better with the coconut, but if you don’t have any on hand, don’t let that stop you!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    That’s good to know, thanks! :) Katie

  • Diva Goes Organic

    Yum, this sounds tasty! I’ve been looking for a new soup recipe to try. This one looks perfect.

  • Jennifer

    Made this last night……sooooooo good! Hubby loved it, too. I only used 6c chicken stock and extra veggies and spices. We like less liquid and more flavor. Thinking about adding some ginger and snow peas next time, but we’ll definitely have it as is again, too. Thank you for such a good recipe!

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  • Amy J.

    Would you suggest using coconut oil instead of butter to add more coconut goodness to the interact with the turmeric?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    It certainly wouldn’t hurt! Enjoy! :) Katie

  • heather

    I have made this twice now. I use cauliflower and also add some cayenne. This soup is now my go-to for chicken soup! Excellent for boosting breast milk too with all that tumeric :)

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  • Lisa

    I made this and it was awesome! I added the whole container of coconut cream because I didn’t want any left to figure out what to do with (I think it was 12oz), and I was very generous with the turmeric. Mine didn’t look exactly like yours but it tasted so great my husband was talking about it this morning–he can’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch!

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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