What can I substitute for cabbage in soups?

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question,”What can I substitute for cabbage in soups?”, and discuss the nutritional profile of cabbage, how cabbage soup is made along with a  brief description about some of the substitutes for cabbage in soups.

What can I substitute for cabbage in soups?

Brussel sprouts, Bok Choy, kale, celery, kohlrabi, lettuce can be substituted for cabbage in soups. Other than that, watercress, spinach, dandelion greens, and mustard greens are also suitable substitutes. 


Lettuce can be used as an alternative to cabbage but the nutritional value of both the cabbage and lettuce differs significantly. For example, the amount of fibre in cabbage is twice the amount found in lettuce. On the other hand a variety of lettuce known as little gems can be a pleasant alternative for cabbage.

Brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts tend to be bitter than cabbage, but still have a similar flavour. 

Red cabbage

Red cabbage can be substituted for green cabbage as they are the most similar in terms of flavours, the recipe can also benefit from the red colour of the cabbage making it look attractive, but there is a high chance that the colour can be washed into soups. 

Bok Choy

Bok Choy is more flavourful and juicy than cabbage, making it a good alternative. It also is milder in terms of texture than cabbage.

Other vegetables

Some vegetables such as kale, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, and arugula are a healthier substitute as they are rich in nutrients such as vitamin A, K , iron and calcium.

Savoy cabbage

Savoy cabbage consist of leaves that are circular in shape and dark in colour and work well in soups, salads, and stir fry recipes. The leaves of the savoy cabbage are softer than cabbage. 


Broccoli is easy to cook and can quickly be turned into mush. Broccoli is therefore added in the end when making soups and stews, to obtain the similar texture as to when cabbage is used. 


Cauliflower can be steamed, chopped, used raw or sliced and are very similar to cabbages, often confused with them, making it a good alternative.

Napa cabbage

Napa cabbage is commonly known as Chinese cabbage. It has a lighter taste and weight than regular cabbage.

Celery roots

Celery roots have a deep flavour to it making it helpful in soups when used instead of cabbage. The roots also have a spicy flavour, and when added to stew or soups, can mellow out.


Cucumber can only be used in raw forms so are not suitable for soups as they can get soft really quick.


Zucchini is another alternative to cabbage. The flavour is not as refreshing but still it is crunchy. I doubt zucchini is used when preparing soups. 

What is the nutritional profile of cabbage?

1 cup raw chopped cabbage consists of 20 calories, 150 grams potassium, 5 grams carbohydrates with no proteins or fats and almost 2 grams fibre. 

How is cabbage soup made?

2 tbsp olive oil is heated at medium heat in a large pot. A large onion, 2 chopped carrots, 2 stalks of celery which are minced with half a tsp of chilli powder, kosher salt to taste, and freshly ground black pepper are then added, cooked and stirred until the vegetables become soft, which takes about 5-6 minutes. 

A can of white beans which are rinsed and drained, 2 cloves garlic and a tsp of thyme are further added and cooked until the garlic gives out its fragrance. 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth with 2 cups of water are added and the mixture is brought to a simmer.

½ a large head of cabbage with a can of chopped and fire roasted tomatoes are then added and cooked for about 6 minutes until the cabbage wilts. The solution is then removed from heat and a pinch of red pepper flakes and 2 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley are added to garnish the soup.

Other FAQs about Cabbage that you may be interested in.

Can you eat sauerkraut raw?

Can you eat sauerkraut on keto?

Can you freeze red cabbage?


In this brief article, we answered the question,”What can I substitute for cabbage in soups?”, and discussed the nutritional profile of cabbage, how cabbage soup is made along with a  brief description about some of the substitutes for cabbage in soups.