Cabbage, Potato & Bean Soup


Don’t even get me started on the near-90 degree weather Phoenix is experiencing this week. It’s just wrong.

I shouldn’t complain, especially after seeing friends struggling with snowy conditions elsewhere, but we went from a pleasantly cool winter to dangerously-close-to-summer in less than a blink of an eye.

I still have warm, comforting soups I want to make. Take this cabbage, leek, potato and bean soup, for example, which I recently made for #privatechefmonday. Despite the humble ingredients, it is a shockingly delicious bowl of soup.

I started with a recipe from the New York Times cooking site, but I made some significant additions. The recipient of this soup, my best friend, the chef, liked it so much she made it as a special at her restaurant. You can’t get a better endorsement than that.


Here is the original recipe I started with, the NYT Cabbage, Potato and Leek Soup. Below is my adaptation. A couple of things to note:

  • This soup rocks because it has butter. Lots of butter. In fact, I cut out 2 tablespoons and it still tasted plenty buttery.
  • I added celery to the mix because I love celery in soup. Heck, I love celery in anything.
  • To up the protein count, making it more of a complete meal, I added cooked, white tepary beans. You can add any type of cooked beans (even canned, if you rinse well first), but consider a white bean, such as Navy or Great Northern if you don’t have tepary beans.
  • I found the original soup a little flat, so I added lemon juice to brighten it. You won’t believe the power of a good squeeze of lemon. Transformative.
  • Because I like a soup with a little bite, I added crushed chiltepins. Red pepper flakes would work, too.
  • As with most soups, this tastes even better the next day or two, so consider making it while you’re cooking another meal.

Cabbage, Potato & Bean Soup

Adapted from the New York Times Cabbage, Potato and Leek Soup, my version packs more protein with the addition of white tepary beans. I also add a chile kick and a squeeze of lemon to counter the buttery base.

  • Author: Gwen Ashley Walters
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup


  • 4 (1/2 stick) tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large (or 3 medium) leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 3 to 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 8 cups unsalted (or llow-sodium) vegetable stock
  • 5 medium (~ 1-1/4 pounds) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into half moons
  • 2 cups cooked white beans (like tepary, navy, etc.)
  • 3 stems fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), plus more fresh thyme to garnish
  • 2 stems fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano)
  • 2 chiltepin chiles, crushed (or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes) — optional
  • Juice of 1/2 to 1 whole lemon (~ 2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to garnish


  1. Melt the butter in a stockpot over medium heat. Stir in the leeks, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is soft and the some of the leeks are turning a light golden color, about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour in the vegetable stock and add the potatoes, beans, herbs and chiles (if using). Bring to a simmer and cook until potato are tender and liquid reduces by a couple cups or so, thickening the soup slightly.
  3. Season with black pepper. Stir in juice of 1/2 a lemon. Taste and add more lemon juice, and/or salt, if desired.
  4. To serve, remove thyme and oregano stems. Divide soup into bowls and serve with a generous amount of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and a few fresh thyme leaves.


If making in advance, cool completely in an ice water bath after step 3 before storing, covered, in the fridge. When ready to serve, gently reheat in a stockpot over medium heat until bubbly hot. Continue with step 4.

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