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Based on a popular weight-loss plan, this healthy cabbage soup recipe gets tons of flavor and a metabolism-boosting kick from spicy chiles.

EatingWell Magazine, Soup Cookbook


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

40 mins
1 hr

How to Make Spicy Weight-Loss Cabbage Soup

This spicy low-calorie soup contains plenty of flavor and fiber to keep you full and satisfied. Though fiber is well-known for its gut health benefits, it also plays a role in weight loss. Research shows that people who simply eat 30 grams of fiber each day without making any other significant changes to their diets lost just as much weight as those who follow more complicated weight-loss diets. This low-cal soup packs in nearly 9 grams of fiber per serving plus brings the metabolism-boosting heat from spicy chile peppers.

1) Pick non-starchy vegetables to add to your soup.

Outside of cabbage, of course, these can include peppers, celery, carrots and onions. These veggies don't add a lot of calories, but help fill you up on fiber which helps keep you feeling satisfied. In this version, we also add low-sodium canned beans. While not considered "non-starchy", beans add additional fiber and protein to the soup. You can leave them out to keep the calories ultra-low.

2) Bring on the heat

Studies suggest capsaicin, the antioxidant in chile peppers that gives them their heat, increases the body's metabolic rate (just a little). We think it's worth it flavor-wise to add a little zest to our soup. We use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce which are jalapeño chiles that have been smoked and canned in a flavorful sauce. They add a nice smoky flavor along with poblano peppers, which can also dial up the heat. (If you want to keep your soup mild, you can use green bell pepper in place of the poblano)

3) Go For Garnish

A garnish for soup helps tie everything together and adds fresh (or creamy) notes depending on what you use. If you have wiggle room for extra calories, crumbled cheese like queso fresco, plain Greek yogurt or diced avocado all complement this zippy soup. For the calorie-conscious, chopped cilantro, minced pepper or a squeeze of lime juice can do the trick.

Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat oil in a large soup pot (8-quart or larger) over medium heat. Add onions, carrot, celery, poblano (or bell pepper) and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add cabbage; cook, stirring occasionally until slightly softened, about 10 minutes more. Add tomato paste, chipotle, cumin and coriander; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.

  • Add broth, water, beans and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice. Serve garnished with cheese, yogurt and/or avocado, if desired.

Nutrition Facts

1 1/2 cups
167 calories; protein 6.5g; carbohydrates 27.1g; dietary fiber 8.7g; sugars 6.6g; fat 3.8g; saturated fat 0.6g; vitamin a iu 2968.9IU; vitamin c 47.2mg; folate 48.4mcg; calcium 115mg; iron 2.3mg; magnesium 50.5mg; potassium 623.7mg; sodium 408.1mg; thiamin 0.1mg.

2 1/2 vegetable, 1/2 fat, 1/2 lean protein, 1/2 starch