When you want to eat a ton of food without a ton of calories, you need this diet cabbage soup. This is a modified cabbage soup diet recipe, based on the original Cabbage Soup Diet recipe. You’ll love this cabbage soup diet recipe with protein added from lean beef and bone broth. It’s delicious, under 500 calories, and SO FILLING!
Have you heard of the Cabbage Soup Diet plan (AKA Weight Loss Wonder Soup)? (This one’s an old one.)
On this diet, a person mostly eats a special cabbage soup recipe to aid in weight loss. This is meant to be a temporary eating plan, not a strategy for long-term weight loss.
I’ve seen several versions of the “original” weight loss cabbage soup recipe online. Something that they all share in common is that they are packed with non-starchy veggies and not much else. They are kind of like the soup version of a dressing-free, minimal protein salad.
And just like if you were eating a dry salad, the soup is lacking in certain essential nutrients and is (IMHO) pretty boring. Eating the original cabbage soup is about as close as you can get to consuming no calories while still consuming food. (Remember that though foods like celery are very low-calorie, they are not zero calorie foods.)
I first found the diet cabbage soup recipe around St. Patrick’s Day when I had cabbage on the brain. In my search for cabbage recipes, I came across this Food.com version of the “original” cabbage soup.
Instead of practically living on that soup as a temporary diet, likely resulting in temporary weight loss, why not try my recipe revamp?
The changes I made turns the original into a full meal. Your family won’t know this started as a “diet soup” recipe.
- 🍲 What is the Cabbage Soup Diet?
- 🥄 How are the Cabbage Soup Diet results?
- ⭐ Why This is the Best Cabbage Soup Diet Recipe
- 🥘 Cabbage Soup Diet Ingredients
- 🍽 Equipment
- 🔪 How to Make Cabbage Soup Diet Recipe with Protein Added
- 🌡️ Leftovers
- 📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Low Calorie Soup Recipes for Weight Loss
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
🍲 What is the Cabbage Soup Diet?
So, you might be wondering when the Cabbage Soup Diet started. Where did it come from?
Here’s the interesting thing... no one seems to know for sure.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics claims the Cabbage Soup Diet started in the 1950s. However, other sources claim that it’s based on Doughboy Cabbage Soup, a dish used in World War I when few vegetables were available.
The Cabbage Soup Diet became popular in the 1980s, when it was incorporated into the General Motors Diet plan (GM Diet). Most of the information you can currently find on the one week Cabbage Soup Diet lives on blogs. On many sites, the “7-Day Cabbage Soup Diet” is actually a just a variation of the GM Diet that includes low protein cabbage soup (AKA GM Diet Soup).
So, what do you eat each day on the Cabbage Soup Diet? Here’s a typical 7-day cabbage soup diet chart. (Note that there is some variation on these diet rules between sources.)
|Day of Diet||Food Allowed (eat cabbage soup and drink lots of water daily)|
|Day 1||All fruit except bananas (melons highly recommended)|
|Day 2||Baked potato breakfast, then eat only non-starchy veggies for the rest of the day|
|Day 3||All fruit except bananas and all non-starchy vegetables|
|Day 4||Bananas and skim milk|
|Day 5||Beef and 6 or more large tomatoes|
|Day 6||Beef and non-starchy veggies|
|Day 7||Vegetables and fruit juice (some sources also add brown rice)|
I don’t recommend doing the cabbage soup diet for 2 weeks. I actually don’t recommend this diet at all; it’s unnecessarily restrictive and may put you at risk for deficiencies if used long-term. Why not use the soup recipe for a single meal rather than as part of the Cabbage Soup 7-day plan?
🥄 How are the Cabbage Soup Diet results?
You can find claims online that the Cabbage Soup Diet can help you lose up to 10 lbs (or even 15 lbs) in a week. Unfortunately, most of this quick weight loss is likely to be water weight.
Hot tip! The general recommendation for safe weight loss is 1-2 lbs per week.
Since it’s a short-term diet, you won’t see long-term benefits to your cholesterol, blood pressure, or heart health. Also, you are likely to regain any weight you lose on the diet after you go off the diet. (Unless you adopt some new healthy lifestyle changes, that is.)
Most health professionals would consider the cabbage soup diet to be a rigid fad diet. The diet is too low in protein and calories for most people. It's also low in carbs, though low carb diets work well as a weight loss strategy for some.
In summary, I don’t recommend using this diet without medical supervision. This is especially true if you have a medical condition (such as diabetes) that is influenced by diet changes. Your health team may have better (i.e., longer lasting and more sustainable) suggestions to lose weight.
⭐ Why This is the Best Cabbage Soup Diet Recipe
I switched up the original diet cabbage soup recipe to turn it into a complete and filling meal. Here are some nutritional benefits of cabbage diet soup (this version, anyway):
- Protein: Unlike most cabbage soup diet recipes, this is a cabbage soup diet with meat. You’re getting enough high-quality protein here to make this a one-pot meal.
- Vegetable-packed: Even if your goal isn’t weight loss, this is an excellent recipe that helps you eat more veggies. There are soooo many vegetables here. So many that even my Dutch oven could not contain them. Haha
- Fluid volume: Water and other drinks aren’t the only contributors to your hydration. The fluid-filled veggies and broth base in this soup may help as well. In addition, the fluid provides a weighty meal that can help keep you full.
- High fiber: This heart-healthy soup is low fat and high in fiber. You get 13.3 grams of fiber per serving of soup.
- Essential nutrients: This cabbage soup is also an excellent source of many essential vitamins and minerals. This includes potassium, iron, provitamin A, and vitamin C. The tomatoes are rich in beneficial but non-essential lycopene.
- Special diets: The combination of non-starchy veggies and lean protein in this soup is compatible with a variety of special diets. This includes some low carb and Paleo diets, whole30, low calorie, and Weight Watchers.
- Delicious: Many versions of the cabbage soup diet are pretty bland. I flavored this one up with a savory bone broth, herbs, and some balsamic vinegar to make it tasty.
🥘 Cabbage Soup Diet Ingredients
Here’s what you need to make the cabbage soup diet recipe:
- Lean ground beef
- Shredded cabbage
- Chopped onions
- Diced bell peppers
- Chopped celery
- Sliced scallions
- Beef bone broth (homemade bone broth or from a store)
- Balsamic vinegar
- Canned chopped tomatoes
- Finely chopped garlic
- Fresh lemon juice
- Dried thyme
- Dried basil
- Tomato paste (double-concentrated)
- Cilantro or parsley, chopped
Quantities of all ingredients are listed in the recipe card at the end of the article!
As mentioned above, one of the most significant changes I made to the original cabbage soup is that I added more protein! The bone broth here and lean beef add flavor as well as protein to help you feel satiated. This cabbage soup just got an upgrade from a side dish or snack to a full entrée.
Using some flavorful bone broth allowed me to nix the ultra-processed foods in the original recipe. The balsamic vinegar also adds deliciousness to the soup’s broth. So goodbye, powdered onion soup mix and chicken bouillon cubes, there is no need for you here.
There is also no need to purchase special Cabbage Soup Diet spice blends like you’ll find for sale on the web. Regular dried herbs will work just fine.
Another change I made was to adjust the vegetables to improve the flavor. I love onions, but six seemed like a lot to put in a soup (other than a French onion soup).
All you need to make this cabbage soup are a good knife and a large stockpot. I have a stock pot that I pretty much only use for the occasional crab boil. The pot has finally found an additional purpose here.
This recipe makes quite a lot of soup! I quickly learned that my sizeable Dutch oven was not going to be sufficient to hold all of this veggie goodness. I told you that you are getting a ton of food with this recipe, and I was not kidding!
🔪 How to Make Cabbage Soup Diet Recipe with Protein Added
To make this cabbage soup diet recipe, begin by prepping your veggies. Roughly chop the cabbage into small slices or shreds about ¼-inch (0.6 cm) thick. Cut the onions, bell peppers, and celery into ½-inch dice (1.27 cm).
Slice the scallions and mince the garlic. Now you’re ready to cook!
Brown the ground beef in the stockpot over medium heat on the stovetop. Break it up with a spatula as it cooks. It will take about 10 minutes to brown.
Put all of the ingredients into the stockpot with the cooked ground beef, except the parsley or cilantro. Give it a stir. Let the soup come to a simmer over medium heat with the lid off.
Allow the soup to simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to medium-low for the final 30 minutes of cooking. Some recipes only have you cook the soup for 15 minutes, but I find this leaves the cabbage too tough.
After the soup is cooked and all the veggies are tender, ladle it into bowls. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, and enjoy.
You can also cook this cabbage soup diet recipe in a slow cooker. Put it in the crock pot on low for 6-8 hours if you don’t want to use the stove.
This cabbage diet soup with protein can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It also freezes very well. The soup mellows out a lot with freezing, so you may want to add more vinegar after it thaws.
Reheat individual servings of soup in a microwave safe bowl on high for 5-6 minutes. Keep the bowl covered with a paper towel and stir it halfway through heating time. You can add more beef broth if the soup is getting dried out.
📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
One serving of cabbage soup diet with added protein has 401 calories, 37.3 grams net carbs, and 32.5 grams protein. This recipe has too many net carbohydrates for keto (unless you decrease the portion size).
You can make this recipe low in added sodium by using no added salt tomatoes and homemade broth. Also (of course) don’t add salt! Canned soups and broth from the store are not generally good fits for low sodium diets (unless labeled low sodium).
Does cabbage have protein? Most foods have some protein, including cabbage, but that doesn’t mean they all count as protein group foods. Per Cronometer, cabbage only has 1 gram of protein per 1 cup chopped. Cabbage is not a significant source of protein.
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). This recipe makes five HUGE servings at approximately 400 calories each.
Though this may seem counterintuitive, if you need a higher energy meal, I’d consider cutting back on the serving size here because it is tough to eat more. Replace some of this filling soup with some energy-dense bread, crackers, and/or cheese to add more calories.
If you are using the cabbage soup diet to lose weight, remember that quick fixes don’t lead to long term results. There is no reason to solely stick to this soup if you are trying to lose weight. Any combination of foods that result in the maintenance of a calorie deficit can lead to weight loss.
That said, you don’t want to starve yourself in the name of weight loss. The cabbage soup diet plan (outlined above) could be too low calorie for your needs. Depending on how much you eat, the boring nature of the diet could lead to undereating (under 1000 calories per day).
You should consult with your physician or dietitian if you want to try a very low calorie diet. There is a higher risk of nutrient deficiencies if you cut your calories too low. Your doctor or RD can help make sure you are losing weight in a safe way, rather than “detox dieting.”
A few quick notes about this soup: stick with small servings at first if you typically eat a low fiber diet. This soup may cause some GI disturbance if your body isn’t accustomed to all the fiber.
Also, this is a cabbage soup that’s heavy on the cabbage. The cabbage may be overpowering for some people, so skip this one unless you enjoy this cruciferous veggie.
How does the cabbage soup diet help you lose weight? The cabbage soup diet works the way most other weight loss diets work. The diet keeps you in a calorie deficit that leads to weight loss. Yes, you can lose weight by just eating low calorie cabbage soup, but is that a realistic long-term strategy? (Nope!)
Yes, but your time may be better spent working on adopting healthy lifestyle changes that you maintain long-term. If you are on a medical nutrition therapy (such as for diabetes), consult your physician before making major dietary changes.
You may lose water weight quickly on the cabbage soup diet, which can lead to a lower number on the scale. However, you may also experience fatigue or dizziness from undereating. Some sources say flatulence is a common side effect of this diet.
Can you eat eggs on the Cabbage Soup Diet? Some sources allow additional sources of protein aside from occasional beef and dairy on the cabbage soup diet. In general, the rules for breakfast are that you can have cabbage soup and whatever other foods that are allowed that day.
You can make this a vegetarian keto cabbage soup! Use low carb legumes in place of the beef, and veggie broth in place of the bone broth. Tofu, tempeh, or black soy beans are some options for keto legumes. Keep in mind that these changes will alter the nutrition information for the recipe.
👩🏻🍳 Other Low Calorie Soup Recipes for Weight Loss
If you dig soups, check out my other low-calorie soup recipes, such as the Fat Flush soup recipe. Mixing things up can help you keep your healthy diet from feeling boring! Here are a few more ideas:
Broth-based soups can be a fantastic option for fat burning, but many other foods are great as well. I have a whole section of low-calorie, tasty, and satisfying recipes over in my Recipe Finder that may interest you. If you prefer to focus on reducing carbs rather than calories, I have a low-carb section as well.
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All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Cabbage Soup Diet Recipe with Protein Added
- 1 lb. ground beef, lean (454 grams; 93/7 beef)
- 25 ounces shredded cabbage (709 grams; about ½ small head)
- 1 lb. onions (454 grams; about 2-3 medium onions)
- 1 lb. bell peppers (454 grams; 2 medium peppers of any color)
- 1½ lbs. celery (680 grams; about 1 bunch)
- 6 scallions, sliced
- 6½ cups beef bone broth
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 28 ounce cans chopped tomatoes (794 grams per can; do not drain)
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste (double-concentrated)
- ¼ cup cilantro or parsley, chopped (optional, for garnish)
- Roughly chop the cabbage into small slices or shreds about ¼-inch (0.6 cm) thick. Cut the onions, bell peppers, and celery into ½-inch dice (1.27 cm). Slice the scallions and mince the garlic.
- Brown the ground beef over medium heat on the stovetop, breaking it into crumbles with a spatula as it cooks. It will take about 10 minutes. (You can use a skillet or stockpot for this step.)
- Put the beef and all of the rest of the ingredients (except the parsley or cilantro) into a large stockpot. My Dutch oven was not big enough for this job. Give everything a good stir.
- Let the ingredients in the stockpot come to a simmer over medium heat. Let the soup simmer for one hour with the lid off, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to medium-low for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
- Garnish with the cilantro or parsley. Makes five (or more!) servings of tasty soup!
Hi there! What is a serving size for this recipe? Directions just say it makes 5 HUGE servings but doesn’t specify actual amount. Thx!
Summer Yule says
Hi Kristin, great question! I don't usually give volume measurements for servings because there can be a bit of variation in how people measure (and that can throw off the nutrition info). It's generally more accurate just to divide the whole thing into the number of servings prior to serving. That said, each serving fills one of my largest soup bowls- I believe it's over a quart of soup!
Thank you for all of your honesty about this recipe. I may or may not try it because of my high potassium level. Tomatoes is one of the things that I am not supposed to have.
Summer Yule says
Hi Judy, thank you for visiting! Unfortunately, this recipe isn't a good fit if you're looking to keep potassium on the lower side. You didn't say, but if you need kidney-friendly recipes, I know Davita is a great resource: https://www.davita.com/diet-nutrition/recipes Summer 🙂
Terrified Amateur says
Splendid improvement, Summer! The original recipe suggests, well, exactly what you'd expect of diet food.
You made a few thoughtful tweaks, though, and made it something to anticipate, to savor.
You kept it oh-so-healthy, and it's still calorie-efficient, yet now it boasts culinary virtues of it own.
Another great idea, apparently drawn from your infinite storehouse.
Summer Yule says
Thank you! A lot of the "diet" foods I see may not be so bad with a few tweaks either to the recipe or to the health information that is packaged with it.
More in the foodie realm, I had an interesting comment on Twitter that the combination here has similarities to a Korean dish called kimchi jjigae. Cabbage soup always draws my mind to the cuisines of eastern Europe. It's truly amazing how some simple seasoning changes can dramatically change a dish so that it evokes cuisine from another part of the world entirely!
Brian Hardin says
The balsamic vinegar is a nice touch! Adds a sweet acidity to the soup. Thanks for posting!
Summer Yule says
Thanks so much! I love how versatile balsamic vinegar is as an ingredient. It's great for so much more beyond salad dressing!