Who knew you could create a super savory bowl of beef and cabbage soup in just 40 minutes? The secret lies in using a tender cut of beef and a few workhorse ingredients like anchovies, tomato paste and cumin seeds. Be sure to finish each bowl with a sprinkling of minced lemon zest for a bright, aromatic finish. 

Why This Recipe Works

This beef and cabbage soup recipe is a simple cozy bowl of goodness. For starters, since we want this to cook quickly, we rely on a tender cut of beef—the ribeye. By starting with a tender cut of meat we can skip a long simmer time usually required for tough cuts such as stew meat. 

Plus, we love how each bite is loaded with large chunks of celery and cabbage. Any chunky vegetable soup is a winner in our book. The flavors are simple yet savory thanks to a dash of anchovy, tomato paste, and cumin seeds. 

beef and cabbage soup with tomatoes in a shallow white bowl

The Soup-er Simple Series

This Beef and Cabbage Soup recipe is part of our SOUP-er Simple Series! This means it has a short ingredient list, quick cook time, and loads of flavor. The goal is to give you more than enough recipes to get you through cold weeknights when all you want is something savory and steaming ready in 30 minutes

In order to be apart of the SOUP-er Simple Series, each recipe needs to hit these three criteria: 

  • 10 ingredients or less
  • Ready in under 45 minutes 
  • Taste like it took hours 

If you’re looking for a low-and-slow simmered beef soup, try Beef Ramen. It’s made with beef short ribs and absolutely spectacular.

onion, celery, beef, tomato paste, tomatoes, butter, spices and cabbage measured out and set on a counter

Ingredient Notes

Ribeye Steak

You may be wondering why on earth we are using such a nice cut of beef in a soup recipe. Fair question! Because the SOUP-er Simple Series is all about quick-cooking soup recipes, we need to use a cut of beef that doesn’t require a long cook time to soften and tenderize the tough connective tissue.

And ribeye is the perfect cut. It’s tender, juicy and perfectly marbled, which makes each bite of this cabbage beef soup absolutely scrumptious. Top sirloin steak or strip steak can also be used.

Anchovy Paste

Just a couple of anchovies or a dash of anchovy paste adds loads of depth and savoriness without making the soup taste “fishy.” Because we don’t have the benefit of a long cook time to establish and build flavor, we need to rely on quick umami boosts, like anchovy. Look for anchovies and anchovy paste in the tinned fish aisle next to the sardines and tuna. 

Dried Italian Seasoning 

We like the combination of dried herbs that Italian seasoning offers (plus it’s a great multi-ingredient in one). If you don’t have Italian seasoning, you can use a combination of basil, parsley and oregano. Thyme and rosemary should also be added, but in smaller amounts. In a pinch, we roughly follow this recipe as a guide.

Test Kitchen Tips

  • Finishing this soup with some fresh lemon zest is a total game changer. Instead of using your microplane, we like to peel the zest off with a vegetable peeler or paring knife then minced the zest by hand with a chef’s knife. For the best results, be sure to trim away the bitter white pith before mincing the zest. 
  • If you don’t cook with cumin seeds very often, we encourage you to get them for this recipe and start using them in dishes like roasted vegetables, vinaigrettes, soups and more. To get started, try our Toasted Cumin Seed Vinaigrette
  • Play around with adding fresh herbs in at the end! Fresh parsley, dill and chives are all great options.
  • For even more flavor, add a dash of smoked paprika with the tomato paste and drop in a fresh or dried bay leaf while the soup simmers. Remove the bay leaf before you stir in the browned beef.
beef and cabbage soup with tomatoes in a shallow white bowl

What to Serve with Beef and Cabbage Soup

Because this soup is a meal in and of itself, keep the side dish light and fresh. 


Can I saute the beef in olive oil instead of butter?

Absolutely, you can brown the beef in any fat that you prefer. We like the savoriness that butter adds, but use whatever fat you prefer. 

What’s a cheaper cut of beef that I can use for this soup?

For a cheaper alternative, try top sirloin steak or strip steak can also be used. We tested this recipe with ground beef, and while we liked it, we didn’t love it. If you opt for ground beef

I might skip the anchovies, is that OK?

We want to be clear, adding anchovies will not make this soup “fishy.” Anchovies add savoriness like Worcestershire, soy sauce and dried mushrooms. We don’t recommend skipping the anchovies, but if you must, finish the soup with a teaspoon or two or Worcestershire sauce. 

I have carrots, can I throw those in too?

Absolutely, feel free to throw in any root vegetables you have on hand. We recommend dicing them and adding to the soup when you add the onions.

I’ve made this a few times. What other protein can I try?

Mild or spicy italian sausage, ground turkey, ground pork, or diced ham are all great options. You could also keep it vegetarian by adding 2 drained cans of kidney beans. A great plan-based protein that’s also full of fiber!

Savory Beef & Cabbage Soup

5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 14 cups (6 servings)
Category Main Dish, Soup
Cuisine American


Who knew you could create a super savory bowl of beef and cabbage soup in just 40 minutes? The secret lies in using a tender cut of beef and a few workhorse ingredients like anchovies, tomato paste and cumin seeds. Be sure to finish each bowl with a sprinkling of minced lemon zest for a bright, aromatic finish.


  • 1 ½ pounds ribeye steak, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons anchovy paste, or two anchovies
  • 1 onion, chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 2 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 heaping tablespoon dried Italian seasoning (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, beef broth or beef stock
  • ½ small green cabbage, cut into chunks (5 cups)
  • Minced lemon zest, optional


  • Melt butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Pat beef dry with paper towels, then season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Add beef to pot, increase heat to high and cook until browned all over, about 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer beef to a bowl; reserve drippings in pot.
    chunks of beef browning in a large Dutch oven
  • Add tomato paste and anchovy paste; cook over high until fragrant, browned, and bubbly, 1 minute.
  • Add onion and garlic; season with ½ teaspoon salt then decrease heat to medium low and cook until onion has softened but not browned, 5 minutes.
    onion and tomato paste cooking in a large dutch oven
  • Add celery, cumin, Italian seasoning, and 1 teaspoon salt; increase heat to medium and cook 2 minutes.
    celery, onion cooking in a large pot with tomato paste
  • Add tomatoes and their juices, broth, 2 cups water, and cabbage; bring to a boil over high then reduce heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are tender, 10–15 minutes.
  • Add beef and cook until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top each serving with lemon zest


Store this soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat over medium-low just until warmed through. Avoid vigorously boiling, which will over-cook the beef.


Serving: 1/6 recipeCalories: 443kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 25gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 733mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
beef and cabbage soup with tomatoes in a shallow white bowl

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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  1. I don’t like being that reviewer that says, five stars and here’s the long list of changes I made but here I am… This recipe served as an excellent springboard for some last minute changes we made because of what we had on hand, beef shoulder instead of ribeye, caraway seeds instead of cumin, Instant Pot cook because of the thick meat cut and then stirred in cabbage to cook few mins on saute mode. Hoping we can circle back to try the recipe as-is!