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.


  • 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.