For a healthy and hearty soup, this slow cooker cabbage roll recipe really hits the spot. The rich broth with tomato and paprika is red and beautiful. This unstuffed cabbage roll soup is packed with crumbled ground beef, al dente cauliflower rice, and savory tender cabbage. It is pungent, thick, and a little bit spicy.
If you have never had one, a traditional cabbage roll is stuffed with ground meat and white rice. This recipe uses riced cauliflower for a low-carb, keto, high-protein, low-calorie, and diabetic-friendly version. With the added vegetable it makes this Crock-Pot unstuffed cabbage roll soup grain-free, paleo, and Whole30 than the typical recipe. It is also nut-free, dairy-free, and can be made vegan - see variations below.
This is a great recipe in fall or winter when the weather is cool But I honestly love it just as much in spring and summer when I am a little bit more apt to watch what I eat. This healthy soup is great for weight loss thanks to the low-carb ingredients. Which is what I am motivated to eat before summer clothing weather kicks in.
This is inspired by classic stuffed cabbage rolls. They are traditionally made with blanched cabbage leaves that are rolled around a hearty mixture. That mixture has ground beef, tomato sauce, spices, and white rice. This recipe takes all those same ingredients with a swap out of the high-carb white rice with cauliflower rice instead.
Then the rest stays pretty much the same and instead of all the steps for blanching and rolling the cabbage rolls, it is all chopped up and into the pot for soup, it goes! All the flavor without the labor!
- How to Make Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup
- How Long to Cook Cabbage Roll Soup?
- How Many Carbs in Keto Cabbage Roll Soup
- What to Serve with Cabbage Roll Soup
- Substitutions & Variations
- Refrigerating & Freezing Soup
- Reheating Cabbage Roll Soup
- Healthy Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Soup (low-carb & keto)
Besides the 3 main ingredients, cabbage, ground beef, and riced cauliflower, this CrockPot recipe calls for a few other ingredients. Most likely you already have these on hand. Many are pantry staples and are used in many great recipes, including this cabbage roll soup.
You will need spices such as paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper. Plus some cayenne for heat. Canned tomato products help the broth become deep in color plus some acid and richness. Lastly, the beef broth. If you do not have broth, you can use bouillon to mix up the desired amount.
- Ground Beef
- Green Cabbage
- Riced Cauliflower
- Beef Broth
- Tomato Sauce
- Tomato Paste
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup
Like many slow cooker recipes, this one is simple and easy. After just a few steps to prep, it all basically gets dumped into the Crock-Pot. Then just set it and forget it. Let it cook slowly all day and hours later the cabbage is soft and tender. Then the whole soup is ready to enjoy.
Boil the Ground Beef
I begin this soup as I do with many recipes that I use ground beef for, by boiling the meat. Yes, you read that right. I find that boiling ground meats slowly in water yields a more tender and finely ground product. Most people brown their meat but trust me, try this method. (hint: this is also fantastic for taco meat, sloppy joes, etc)
Open your packet of ground meat and place it in a medium-sized pot. Add water so that it covers the meat. Turn the heat on medium so that it will slowly simmer. Next, use a wooden spoon or spatula to break it up in the water.
As it cooks, stir and break up the pieces of meat. Let is simmer on medium for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can prep the vegetables while the beef cooks down. It will be done when all the meat is cooked and brown. It should look like finely ground meat as shown below. Drain and set the meat aside to add to the slow cooker.
Prep the Vegetables
As the ground beef boils, begin prepping the vegetables. To the cabbage, cut medium-sized ribbons or shreds. Then chop those into smaller pieces. They should be chunky but also be small enough that they will fit on your soup spoon when you eat.
Dice up the onion at this time also. If you did not buy cauliflower that is already riced or finely chopped, do that now. The best way to do this is to add cauliflower florets into a food processor. Chop until ground about the size of grains of rice.
Add Everything to the Crock-Pot
Once you have the meat cooked, the vegetables prepped, the broth ready, and all the other ingredients ready, it is now time to combine everything. Add all the ingredients for the homemade cabbage roll soup one by one into the slow cooker.
How Long to Cook Cabbage Roll Soup?
This is a slow cooker recipe so it will take hours for this soup to finish up. By slow cooking this soup, the spices, and broth really help flavor the ground beef, cabbage, and cauliflower. Let's be honest, cabbage and cauliflower are not super flavorful on their own so this way to cook the soup renders the deepest flavors.
Set the slow cooker to high for 4 hours. Let it cook without lifting the lid or stirring other than maybe once during the process.
You can also set it on low for 8-10 hours if that works better for your schedule. The longer time works on workdays or when you will be away from the house all day and want dinner to be hot and ready when you get home.
What if I don't have a CrockPot?: You can still cook this slow cooker keto cabbage roll soup even if you don't have a slow cooker. You can cook this on the stovetop. Boil the meat in a large stockpot as instructed and then drain. Next, place all the remaining ingredients in with the meat. Bring it to a boil on high heat. Once it has reached a rolling boil, turn the heat down to medium-low to simmer. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes. It will be done with the cabbage is tender and the cauliflower rice is cooked but still a bit firm.
How Many Carbs in Keto Cabbage Roll Soup
This keto soup recipe is low-carb. Since it is an unstuffed cabbage roll soup recipe that uses cauliflower rice, the calorie and carb count is very low. Without regular white or brown rice, this version is grain-free and keto-approved.
There are only 207 calories and 6.7 net carbs per serving of this cabbage roll soup. This big batch of soup makes 6 large servings that are very filling. For full nutritional information, see the recipe card below.
What to Serve with Cabbage Roll Soup
This is a low-carb and keto-friendly recipe but no matter what someone's diet is, everyone will love this soup recipe. It is a complete meal in itself with the tender cooked cabbage, riced cauliflower, and ground beef. It is hearty enough for lunch or a light dinner.
However, if you are looking for what goes well with unstuffed cabbage roll soup, all these sides are great to make. Whether you want a salad or some freshly baked bread, all these are good side dishes. I have included gluten-free, low-carb, and other recipe ideas below. My favorite with this is my Keto Cornbread Chaffles!
Substitutions & Variations
This recipe is a great combination of meat, vegetables, and a spicy tomato broth. However, with a few changes, you can make this soup exactly to your specifications. I have included some ideas below.
You can make this more or less spicy for example. I have also included how to make a version for anyone wanting a vegan cabbage roll soup recipe. Also, you can swap the beef out for another protein.
- Spicy - add additional cayenne pepper
- Creamy - add a dollop of sour cream to your bowl of soup, stir to combine
- Kid friendly - leave out the cayenne pepper for a zero spice level
- Poultry - instead of ground beef, use ground chicken or turkey
- Vegan - use MorningStar crumbles or a Vegan Ground Beef Substitute and my recipe for Vegan Mushroom Broth.
Since this is a slow cooker, you will need a CrockPot or other brand slow cooker. For the amount that this soup makes, a larger-sized model will be what you need. I am using a 6-quart slow cooker and it fills it to the rim. So do not use a size smaller than that unless you are cutting the recipe in half.
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Refrigerating & Freezing Soup
This unstuffed cabbage roll soup is a great make-ahead recipe. If you are on a low-carb or keto diet, it is the perfect soup recipe for meal planning. This soup can easily be stored in the refrigerator. Place any leftovers in an air-tight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
This soup also freezes well. Store in an air-tight container or ziplock bag that is sealed well. Freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost, place it in the refrigerator to thaw over 2-3 days.
Reheating Cabbage Roll Soup
To reheat the soup, place it in a small pot on the stove. Heat on medium heat for 10 minutes so that it heats thoroughly. You may need to add a touch more broth. This is because the cauliflower and cabbage may soak up a lot of the broth during storing and freezing.
Healthy Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Soup (low-carb & keto)
- 6 Quart Slow Cooker
- 1 pound ground beef
- ¼ cup onion chopped
- 4 cups cabbage shredded and chopped
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 15 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 cups beef broth
- 2 cups riced cauliflower
- Open your packet of ground meat and place it in a medium-sized pot. Add water so that it covers the meat. Turn the heat on medium so that it will slowly simmer. Next, use a wooden spoon or spatula to break it up in the water.
- Simmer the meat in water on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set the meat aside to add to the slow cooker.
- Cut the cabbage into medium-sized ribbons or shreds. Then chop those into smaller pieces. They should be small enough to fit on a large soup spoon.
- Dice the onion.
- If you did not buy cauliflower that is already riced or finely chopped, do that now. The best way to do this is to add cauliflower florets into a food processor. Chop until ground about the size of grains of rice.
- Once the meat is cooked and the vegetables are chopped, everything is ready to go into the slow cooker. Add the drained meat, spices, onion, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and broth. Stir to combine.
- Set the slow cooker to high for 4 hours.You can also set it for low for 8-10 hours - this works best for when you are cooking this while you are away from home for a full day.
- Once the timer is up, the soup is ready. The cabbage should be tender and the riced cauliflower should be cooked but not mushy.
- Ladle into soup bowls. Optional- top with a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy.
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 5.9g||8%|
|Saturated Fat 2.1g||10%|
|Total Carbohydrate 9.7g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||11%|
|Total Sugars 6g|
|Vitamin D 0mcg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.|