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.

Bruce Aidells
Source: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2015


Recipe Summary

1 hr 10 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • 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 Facts

325 calories; protein 12.3g; carbohydrates 24.2g; dietary fiber 4.1g; sugars 5.2g; fat 19.7g; saturated fat 4.8g; cholesterol 39mg; vitamin a iu 4056.8IU; vitamin c 45.2mg; folate 79.6mcg; calcium 99.4mg; iron 2.3mg; magnesium 47.5mg; potassium 849mg; sodium 699.2mg; thiamin 0.3mg.

Reviews (2)

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10 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 0
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 4
Rating: 4 stars
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 Read More
Rating: 4 stars
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! Read More
Rating: 1 stars
This one definitely won't be made again! It's not very often that I try a new recipe and we think it's just plain bad. I made a double batch of this because it seemed like it would be a keeper but I can'r really say that the family is looking forward to having to eat it again. Cons: It tasted bitter Read More
Rating: 1 stars
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. Read More
Rating: 1 stars
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 Read More
Rating: 1 stars
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. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
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 Read More
Rating: 4 stars
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. Read More
Rating: 2 stars
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 Read More