Beef and Cabbage Rice Soup

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For a quick weeknight dinner, start with this beef and cabbage rice soup. This beef and cabbage soup is so flavorful thanks to a few spoonfuls of fruit preserves. This soup is going to be your new favorite beef and cabbage recipe.

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Cabbage is a staple in my house because of its versatility. It can stretch meals a bit further and add a bit of density to a dish. Even a small half cup of cooked cabbage still gives you a touch of fiber and protein for the day!

Cabbage is a cheap, healthy veggie that can make its way into just about anything though I particularly enjoy it in soups and stir-fries.

This beef and cabbage rice soup recipe is made up of a few main ingredients:

  • Caramelized onions
  • Cooked beef
  • Fruit preserves; in this case a fig spread
  • Rice
  • Cabbage
  • Liquid; water or stock

A key to this ingredient is the lightly sweet fruity undertones thanks to this Turkish fig spread by Josephine’s Feast.

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I loved using this particular variety because it has no added sugar, so you really just get a nice, subtle fruity undertone in the soup.

You can use your favorite brand or variety of fruit preserves but I would stick with a fruit preserve that isn’t nauseatingly sweet and one that can stand up to the warm flavors of a savory soup. If you don’t have the fig spread or fig preserves, try it with:

  • Apple preserves
  • Blackberry preserves
  • Apricot preserves
  • Prune preserves
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How to make this beef and cabbage soup recipe:

This recipe is all about building layers of flavor. You’ll use one pot and build up the flavor from the caramelized onions all the way to the finished soup.

First, caramelize the onions. This will take about 30 minutes, so be patient!

Remove the onions from the pot and add the beef. Cook until it’s browned all over. Add the spices–thyme and crushed red pepper–and then add the fruit preserves.

Next, simply add the uncooked rice along with the caramelized onions. Finish by adding the cabbage and plenty of water or stock.

To finish the soup, bring it to a boil and then simmer covered for 30 minutes. Let it simmer uncovered an additional 10 minutes.

How to serve this soup:

I served it with a few fresh dill sprigs, though you could get creative with the fresh herbs. Try it with parsley, fennel fronds, or chives. A dollop of sour cream or a drizzle of heavy cream would be a great way to add a bit of richness to the soup as well!

Looking for more soup recipes? Check my archives!

If you made this recipe, please rate the recipe below and leave a comment to tell me how you liked it! If you take a picture of it, please tag me on Instagram so I can feature you in my feed!

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Beef and Cabbage Rice Soup

For a quick weeknight dinner, start with this beef and cabbage rice soup. This beef and cabbage soup is so flavorful thanks to a few spoonfuls of fruit preserves.
4.04 from 27 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Inactive Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 305kcal



  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion peeled and thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 1 teaspoon sugar optional
  • 1 pound ground beef 90/10
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dry thyme
  • 3 teaspoons Turkish fig spread or fruit preserves of your choice
  • 1 cup white rice uncooked
  • 1 small head savoy cabbage trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 10 cups water or chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For serving:


Caramelize the onions:

  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, melt the butter and add the onions. Cook, stirring regularly, for 15 minutes until they soften and the edges begin to darken.
  • If desired, sprinkle with sugar to help speed up the caramelizing process. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 15–20 minutes until the onions are deep, golden-brown, and well-caramelized. Remove them from the pot and set them aside.

Brown the beef:

  • If the pot seems dry, add another teaspoon of oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the ground beef. Cook, breaking it up with a spoon, for 15–20 minutes until well-browned and thoroughly cooked through. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and thyme. Add the fig spread and stir to incorporate. Cook an additional 1–2 minutes.

Simmer the soup:

  • Add the white rice, reserved caramelized onions, and the thinly sliced cabbage to the pot. Season the cabbage with a few shakes of salt. Pour the water or stock over and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir the soup occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking.

Finish the soup:

  • Remove the lid from the pot, taste the soup, and season to your preferences. Simmer an additional 10 minutes, uncovered. If the soup is too thick, add another splash of water or stock to the pot.

To serve:

  • Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fresh dill or parsley. If you like, serve with a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!


Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 16g | Sodium: 87mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin C: 43mg
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