Metabolism-Revving Spicy Cabbage Soup

Christina Galioto

Cabbage isn’t particularly high on people’s veggie excitement totem pole but it is on mine! Maybe it’s my partial Eastern European decent, but I find that when carefully undercooked and combined with the right spices, cabbage is one of the best. THiS is what I eat for days leading up to a big photoshoot or fashion show, omit the Cashew Sour Cream and side of bread if you want to ensure a low calorie meal.

Cabbage is low in calories and loaded with nutrition! It’s is an anti-inflammatory, has anti-cancer properties, is good for digestion, digestive tract, and cardiovascular systems. One cup of cabbage provides a person with 91.7 percent of the daily required value of Vitamin K and 50.3 percent of the daily required value of the Vitamin C. Vitamin B6, manganese, folate, vitamin B2 and B1, potassium, calcium, magnesium and Vitamin A are abundantly found in cabbage. It also consists of small amounts of zinc, manganese, and iron. Cabbage health benefits simply cannot be ignored! It really is one of the healthiest foods in the world. I found this recipe in “Oh She Glows Everyday” by Angela Liddon and I’ve been making it ever since.

The ultimate get-fit-quick soup, yet it manages not to taste like diet food. Traditional cabbage soup tends to be a little bland and lacking in protein, I like to kick things up a few notches by using the 9-Spice Mix (from Oh She Glows) for flavor and some red lentils to boost the protein. The result is a flavorful, spicy bowl of cabbage soup that’s full of protein and fiber, and its flavor only intensifies as the leftovers sit.

Serves 4

20 to 25 minutes


2 teaspoons (20 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons (30 mL) 9-Spice Mix (recipe below), or more to taste

1 pound (450 g) green cabbage, cored and finely shredded (about 5 cups/1.25 L)

1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can diced tomatoes, with juices

4 cups (1 L) low-sodium vegetable broth

1/2 cup (125 mL) uncooked red lentils

2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, or 1 small peeled sweet potato (8 ounces/225 g), chopped into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes

1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon (2 to 5 mL) fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Cashew Sour Cream (recipe below), for serving (optional)

9-Spice Mix:

1 teaspoon (5 mL) sweet paprika

1 teaspoon (5 mL) garlic powder

1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried minced onion

3/4 teaspoon (4 mL) fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) smoked paprika

This multipurpose spice mix seems to steal the heart of every person who tries it. It’s super flavorful and lightly sweet, and it pairs well with so many different dishes. It combines some familiar flavors, such as oregano and paprika, lemony thyme, and the pungent notes of onion, turmeric and garlic. I discover new uses for it all the time! Try it on Avocado Hummus Toast, Veggie Burgers, Metabolism-Revving Spicy Cabbage Soup, Roasted Breakfast Hash, in pasta, soups, salad dressings, and sprinkled on Lemon-Garlic Hummus.

Combine all the spices in a small jar. Screw on the lid and shake to combine. Store in a cabinet for up to 2 months.

I use this entire recipe and throw it all in the cabbage soup 😉

Cashew Sour Cream:

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) raw cashews

3/4 cup (175 mL) water, or as needed

2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons (10 mL) apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) fine sea salt, to taste

This multipurpose  cashew cream can be used in a variety of dishes. The recipe prepares a generous amount, but don’t worry if you have leftover cream, because it freezes and thaws beautifully! You can freeze leftover cream in a silicone muffin tray. That way, you can have individual servings you can thaw on a whim.

Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with a couple inches of water. Soak for 8 to 12 hours, or overnight. (For a quick-soak method, cover with boiling water and soak for 30 to 60 minutes.) Drain and rinse.

Transfer the cashews to a high-speed blender and add the water, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt. Blend on the highest speed until smooth, stopping to scrape down the blender container and refrigerate if you’re not using it right away. It will thicken up as it chills. The cashew cream will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for 4 to 6 weeks.

In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, until the onion is softened. Stir in 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of 9-Spice Mix and cook for a minute or so, until fragrant.

Add the cabbage and diced tomatoes with their juices. Simmer over medium to high heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the broth, red lentils, and potatoes. Stir. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils and potatoes are tender.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can also add 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons (5 to 7 mL) more 9-Spice Mix if you’d like it a bit spicer.

Serve with a dollop of Cashew Sour Cream (if using). The cashew cream will quickly blend into the soup, resulting in a creamy broth.