Bavarian Leek & Cabbage Soup

Bavarian Leek & Cabbage Soup

10 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2015

This hearty German cabbage soup recipe is made healthy with tons of leeks, cabbage, greens, carrot and celery. If you can't find smoked bratwurst or kielbasa, chicken sausage or ham makes a good substitute.

Ingredients 8 servings

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Original recipe yields 8 servings
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  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts, halved and thinly sliced (see Tip)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped carrot
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock (or see Slow-Cooker Stock recipe, below)
  • 1 12-ounce bottle lager
  • 8 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 3 cups diced red potatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups chopped greens, such as chard or kale
  • 12 ounces smoked bratwurst or kielbasa, cut into ½-inch rounds
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • ½ cup reduced-fat sour cream


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks, carrot, celery and thyme. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add broth (or stock), lager, cabbage, potatoes and bay leaves; cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in greens and sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaves. Ladle into bowls and top each with 1 tablespoon sour cream and parsley, if desired.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Clean leeks well to be sure they're grit-free: After slicing, place in a bowl of water and swish around to release any sand or soil trapped between the layers. Scoop the leeks out of the bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving any dirt behind. Drain well. Repeat as needed.
  • Slow-Cooker Chicken Stock: Cut 1 medium carrot, 1 celery stalk and 1 small onion into 1-inch pieces. Combine with 4 pounds skinless chicken leg quarters, 6 sprigs fresh parsley, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1 crushed garlic clove and 20 whole peppercorns in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add 9 cups water. Cook on High for 4 hours. Strain and let cool to room temperature before refrigerating airtight for up to 1 week or freezing for up to 3 months. Makes: about 10 cups. After straining, this stock has negligible calories, nutrients and sodium.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 1¾ cups
  • Per serving: 325 calories; 20 g fat(5 g sat); 4 g fiber; 24 g carbohydrates; 12 g protein; 80 mcg folate; 39 mg cholesterol; 5 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 4,057 IU vitamin A; 45 mg vitamin C; 99 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 699 mg sodium; 849 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (81% daily value), Vitamin C (75% dv), Folate (20% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 1 starch, 2½ vegetable, 1½ high-fat meat, 1½ fat

Reviews 10

February 03, 2016
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By: Jennie Kajiko
Tasty and satisfying This was very tasty and satisfying. I like that it had a ton of vegetables. The beer added extra flavor. I will definitely make this again.
February 19, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Delish! Totally surprised to read that some found this soup bland. It is very flavorful! Made it it exactly as directed other than decreased amount of cabbage as I only had a small one. Used homemade chicken stock and honey brown lager beer. Be sure to choose a young, tender-sweet cabbage. Highly recommend giving this a try!
February 11, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
In my opinion, ethnic recipes do not use broth for a soup like this. I went against my better judgement and added the broth , and that was all I could taste. I had to add a can of diced tomatoes to add some flavor. Water. Just use water and seasonings. I would not recommend this recipe.
February 10, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Bavarian Leek Cabbage Soup This was not very good. I guess my Eastern European background came front and center on this recipe. Broth is not a part of making cabbage soup. It's water, tomatoes, sausage /fresh pork, bay, and seasonings. The beer was a great addition, smoked sausage should be added when soup is nearly done. Kapusta is a homey soup without using chicken broth. I used marjoram instead of thyme. I wouldn't make this again. I'll stick to my tried and true. I'm sorry I wasted the chicken broth and sausage on this and my time and ingredients.. I should trust my Eastern European instincts on recipes that are called European on a board that publishes recipes of this type. I would not recommend this recipe.
February 02, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Nice way to get lots of veggies in! I really enjoyed this recipe! The lager added a nice flavor and it was a really great way to get veggies like cabbage and kale into your diet without a really overwhelming taste. Very filling and nice winter meal with a slice of grainy bread to dunk in. I did not find it bland at all. I substituted garlic chicken sausage for the kielbasa and I recommend skipping the sour cream because I didn't find it added anything. Pros: vegetables, easy, hearty, filling Cons: lots of chopping
January 20, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Just OK after adjustments After reading the comments about the soup being bland, I looked at other websites for recipe of German sausage and cabbage soup and found a few constants: bacon, onions instead of leeks, marjoram instead of thyme, and caraway seeds. Long story short, I added 8 oz turkey bacon (regular bacon could work), used 1 leek and 1 onion, upped the kielbasa to 1lb, added 1 tsp caraway seeds with the greens, and switched from thyme to marjoram. Overall, the flavor is good. The broth has a meaty flavor, and the vegetables hold up okay. The caraway could be dialed back, as it was sort of strong the first night. However, after a night in the fridge, the soup mellowed and it's come together nicely. But after all that, it's still just a one-note soup. There's not much depth of flavor. I am not sure if I would make this again. It's OK, but with so many other delicious soups out there, this one just isn't interesting enough to make a second time. Pros: Hearty, brothy, robust Cons: Not very interesting
January 16, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Solid Comfort Soup Really solid soup recipe. I find it very full of flavor and filling. I suspect that the reviewers who found it bland didn't use enough seasoning. That's the key to bringing out the flavor in the sausage and veg. Use plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper. Making sure you use a full flavor lager also helps. And to kick it up a notch throw in a heaping spoonful of whole grain mustard at the end. Pros: Inexpensive, Filling, Flavorful
January 12, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Surprised to hear that so many thought that it had no flavor. I do batch cook, so this sat a day or so in the fridge before eating which may have helped, but I thought that it had a nice onion/yeasty flavor and was almost subtly buttery to me. Maybe they used turkey kielbasa? I used regular and the fat released helped to flavor the whole soup. The turkey is more bland to me anyway, so I wouldn't recommend it. I also have a heavy hand with celery and carrots in recipes, so I probably added more than was called for in the recipe.
January 12, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
A lot of work for no flavor This was tasteless. I added tons of garlic and some hot sauce to save it. Not a lot of hot sauce, just enough to give it flavor. Cons: Flavorless
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