This healthy and easy soup will warm you up
Winter has taken hold in our part of the world. So naturally our thoughts turn to soup.
As they generally do this time of year. After all the holiday goodies we
So hit us with your best stuff, winter. We’re prepared!
Recipe: Cabbage, Kielbasa, and Black-Eyed Pea Soup
Kielbasa adds spice to this soup, but you can substitute another sausage if you prefer. Or use some leftover cooked meat or poultry. You can even omit meat entirely it you’d like a vegetarian soup. If you do that, however, we suggest adding a diced, peeled potato to give the soup some extra body (see the Notes).
We like black-eyed peas in this soup, but you can use any bean of your choice. We use canned black-eyed peas simply because they’re convenient. But it’s easy enough to substitute dried ones (it just adds a bit of cooking time). If you plan to use dried black-eyed peas, see the Notes for instructions. If you plan to use another variety of dried bean, you’ll need to presoak them (again, see the Notes for instructions).
As written, this recipe requires about 20 minutes for prep work and initial cooking, plus another 20 to 30 minutes of unattended cooking. (If you’re using dried black-eyed peas, you’ll need to increase the cooking time; if using another variety of dried bean, you’ll need to add soaking time.)
The recipe yields 6 to 8 hearty servings. Leftovers freeze well.
- 1 onion (medium or large)
- 1 large or 2 medium carrots (or to taste)
- 3 cloves of garlic (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- kosher salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon for us, but see Notes)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (a half-dozen grinds or so for us)
- ~1 pound cabbage (we like to use Savoy cabbage; a smallish head is about a pound)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- ~1 pound kielbasa (or other spicy sausage; or substitute another cooked meat of your choice)
- 8 cups water or chicken stock (may substitute vegetable stock; water alone works well, but stock adds more flavor)
- 2 to 3 15-ounce cans of black-eyed peas (or another legume of choice; we use 3 cans; see Notes if using dried black-eyed peas or other beans)
- additional kosher salt and black pepper for seasoning, as needed (to taste)
- Peel the onion and cut it into dice of ½ inch or less. Set aside.
- Peel the carrots (or scrape their skins), and cut them into dice of ¼ inch or less. Set aside.
- Peel the garlic and cut it into fine dice or thin slices. Set aside.
- Place a 4-quart saucepan or soup pot on medium stovetop heat. Once heated, add the oil. When the oil is hot (in about 15 seconds; it’ll shimmer), add the chopped onions and carrots. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Sauté until the onions are translucent, but not brown (5 to 8 minutes).
- While the onions are sautéing, wash and dry the cabbage and peel off any blemished outer leaves. Cut the cabbage into quarters, then remove the core. With a knife, shred the cabbage across the width of each quarter (no need to shred as finely as for coleslaw; shreds of about ½ inch, or even a bit larger, work fine).
- By now, the onions should be translucent. Add the garlic to the cooking pot and sauté for 1 minute. Then add the thyme and red pepper flakes, and sauté for 15 seconds or so. Add the shredded cabbage, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook until the cabbage wilts somewhat (5 minutes or so). We often cover the pan while the cabbage is cooking, but that’s optional.
- While the cabbage is cooking, cut the kielbasa lengthwise into halves or quarters. Then slice it across the width into pieces of about ½ inch. Once the cabbage has wilted and cooked down a bit, add the kielbasa to the cooking pot. Cook another 2 minutes.
- Add the water or stock to the cooking pot, along with the canned black-eyed peas. Bring the soup to a simmer, then cook for 20 to 30 minutes (until the cabbage is tender; but see Notes).
- Adjust the seasoning (salt and black pepper), if necessary, and serve.
- We like to use black-eyed peas in this soup, but any bean will work. White beans would be particularly nice.
- We prefer to use 3 cans of black-eyed peas, but 2 cans would be sufficient if you want to emphasize the cabbage and kielbasa.
- If you substitute dried black-eyed peas for canned: Pick over 1 cup of dried black-eyed peas to remove any dirt or grit. Rinse the black-eyed peas (no need to presoak), then add them to a clean 4-quart cooking pot along with the cooking liquid (8 cups of water or stock). Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, do the prep work and sautéing described in Steps 1 through 7 above (use a separate frying pan for sautéing). Once the sautéing is complete, add the contents of the frying pan to the black-eyed peas, and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes (until both the black-eyed peas and the cabbage are tender).
- If you substitute another variety of dried bean for canned black-eyed peas, you’ll need to presoak: Pick over the dried beans to remove any dirt or grit. Then either soak them in water overnight, or do a quick soak. For the quick soak, place 1 cup of dried beans in a cooking pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, then boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover the pot, and allow the beans to sit for one hour. Once the beans are ready to be cooked, drain the soaked beans and add to a cooking pot. Cook for about 40 minutes. In the meantime, do the prep work and sautéing described in Steps 1 through 7 above (use a separate frying pan for sautéing). Once the sautéing is complete, add the contents of the frying pan to the beans (after the beans have cooked for 40 minutes), and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes (until both the beans and the cabbage are tender).
- You can cook this soup longer than we specify—and it will probably even taste better. What you’ll lose, though, is the bright green of the cabbage (because the longer you cook cabbage, the more color it loses).
- If you omit the kielbasa (and don’t substitute another meat), we suggest adding a diced potato (or two) to the soup for extra body. Just peel and dice the potato(es), then add the pieces to the cooking pot in Step 8.
- We’ve sometimes made this soup with potato instead of black-eyed peas. It’s tasty that way too. So don’t be afraid of your food—experiment!
- As noted above, water works fine as a cooking liquid for this soup. But stock does add more flavor, so that’s what we recommend.
- Red pepper flakes add a nice touch of spice to this soup (and we like that). But feel free to leave them out if spicy isn’t you.
- We generally use dried thyme in this soup, but fresh would work even better.
- Or substitute other herbs or spices to taste. We haven’t tried caraway seed in this soup, but it probably would taste great (maybe start with half a teaspoon).
- We use kosher salt for cooking. Kosher salt has big flakes, so it doesn’t fill a measuring spoon as “tightly” as regular table salt. Hence, it’s less salty by volume. If you’re using regular table salt rather than kosher salt, use only about half as much as we suggest. But in any case, when it comes to salt (and black pepper), you should always season to your taste, not ours or anyone else’s.
Pictures of Health
“Love this soup,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “And we need to detox after all the rich food we had over the holidays. This is just the prescription.”
“Yup,” I said. “Just what the doctor ordered.”
“It may even ward off some pesky winter ailments,” said Mrs K R. “With some help from our flu shots, of course.”
“Could be a miracle cure,” I said. “But do you think it can neutralize the extra holiday pounds you added?”
“Ahem,” said Mrs K R, giving me a look. “This soup may be powerful medicine. But it doesn’t cure foot in mouth disease.”
You may also enjoy reading about:
Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Soup
Bean and Cabbage Soup
Curried Cauliflower Soup
Winter Squash, Corn, and Bacon Chowder
Roast Squash & Sweet Potato Chili with Kale
Tuscan Bean and Pasta Soup
Or check out the index for more recipes
This is a bowl of greatness if I've ever seen one. I love all of the ingredients. Thanks for this recipe.
I love this! I made a cabbage, sausage lentil soup recently, but I like the bigger bites you get with the black eyed peas. This looks great!
What a great looking soup, just full of deliciousness! Love it! :)
Love soups and this meatless one sounds quite flavorful. I am a big fan of black eyed pea which I ate in a salad last night. ;)
I love vegetable soup and with the addition of kielbasa. . . even better :). Awesome dish, John. Thanks.
I have such fond memories of eating kielbasa. One Christmas in particular, my Grandma brought some over for a big dinner and I loved it. I will make this soup and think of her.
What a nice hearty soup and perfect for this cold weather. Beautiful photo John!
Hi Karen, this is a great soup! So much flavor. And pretty easy to make. Score! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mary, cabbage, sausage, and dried legumes is such a classic combo, isn't it? We particularly like the combo of cabbage and black-eyed peas, but lentils would be wonderful too. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pat, isn't this nice? So full of flavor! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Denise, the meatless version of this is terrific. Really good stuff. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Ray, this really is awesome! So much flavor. And easy! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Laura, kielbasa has such wonderful flavor, doesn't it? A real favorite of ours! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Vicki, we've been eating a lot of soup lately -- cold weather always does that to us. :-) Thanks for the comment.
What a healthy way to start the year. Nourishing, warming soup is always a yes around here -- this is good stuff!
What a warming soup this is. We are on a crazy weather situation in SF and this would be so so good. Love cabbage in soups and this looks so good with the black eyed peas, one of my favorites too.
Great bowl right there.
I love soup time of year! (Even though I could, do, eat soup all year long. My Mr. Rosemary is a sausage and cabbage lover. This would suit him to a T. Me, too!
Hi Judy, this kind of soup is always a yes at our house, too! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Asha, cabbage (or dark greens) has become one of our real favorites in soup, too. So much flavor, color, and nutrition! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Rosemary, we eat soup throughout the year, too, but much more often in cold weather (often 4 or 5 times a night!). Thanks for the comment.
Genuine comfort food! I need to right now to warm me up inside and out. Love your use of Kielbasa. I don't use that much but I should. thanks John!
Hi John, love this hearty soup, one that my husband would even like. Thanks for the inspiration!
Hi MJ, this really is comfort food. We don't use kielbasa that much, either, and always wonder why not -- good kielbasa is wonderful stuff. Thanks for the comment.
Hi CHeri, always happy to provide inspiration! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Oh now this sounds delicious! It's so hot here right now, so I'm bookmarking it for our winter! Thanks for a great recipe.
Hi John , love kielbasa , this soup is a keeper , my family will love it , think I will make cornbread to go with it . Thanks for sharing ... pinning ... Nee :)
Been cooking with cabbage too. I've got a delicious green chile-cabbage soup posting up soon. (Sounds weird, I know, but it's delicious!)
Oh hello beautiful! I stopped eating meat so I'm going to substitute some meat free crumbles instead of the kielbasa. Can't wait, especially on this very chilly day!
This looks absolutely delicious!
This is a lovely colorful soup that is packed with healthy goodies. Perfect for the weather.
We're having the same nasty weather---1 degree this morning!!! Your soup would sure hit the spot! It looks delish!
Hi Liz, this definitely isn't the sort of dish you'd want in the heat! But wait a few months -- then this will be just the thing. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Nee, this soup goes great with cornbread. Ask me how I know. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Debra, your soup doesn't sound weird at all. Cabbage and green chile are a fun combo! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pamela, really easy to drop the kielbasa from the soup and make a vegetarian version. Still really, really good. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Marta, it is! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Amira, colorful food is so enticing, isn't it? And this really is perfect for the weather! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Liz, ouch! That's cold. And colder than we've had by about 10 degrees. And yes, you need this soup in that cold weather! Thanks for the comment.
I think this is a perfect New Year's Day recipe, but it would be perfect on any other chilly day too. I love your suggestion of adding potato instead of meat in this dish. Can't wait to try it!
This soup is perfect "as is" John! I love the addition of thyme. I was actually out in the garden today to check the snow and noticed the thyme is still flourishing.
Thank you so much for sharing...stay warm:)
WOW! This is a healthy, flavorful and delicious soup! Beautiful click
Yum! You're speaking directly to my Polish appetite! For me, this is the perfect thing for this time of year not because of healthiness, but because it's so freaking cold outside! I need a hot, hearty, homemade soup right about now.
Looks like a hearty, tasty soup. I like cabbage and kielbasa combination. Nice!
Hi Marcelle, this would be good for New Years! Or today. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Louise, thyme is one of my favorite herbs! Use it all the time -- too much, probably (just can't resist it). Thanks for the comment.
Hi Kushi, isn't this nice? SO good! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Jeff, this is perfect for freaking cold weather! Going to be warmer tomorrow, but we've seen some cold stuff lately. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Holly, not only does cabbage and kielbasa pair so well together, it's fun to say "cabbage and kielbasa" too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I HATE the cold but I do love winter food. This soup is perfect for this cold weather!
Yummy yummm .who says NO if someone serves soups like this
I think cabbage is such a superstar in so many dishes, but it's often overlooked. I love this soup where cabbage can shine! Stay warm and thanks so much for this warming, beautiful soup recipe!
Hi Ashley, we're OK with some cold, but you get a lot more than we do. Love the food! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Priya, we never say no! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Tricia, I agree cabbage is too often ignored. Too bad, because it has so much to offer. Thanks for the comment.
I will follow kielbasa sausage anywhere...it's in my German blood...love this!
Yum, this is my kind of eating. We love every ingredient and I can't wait to try this. The soup is also very beautiful. Thank you for a great recipe.
It looks delicious and hearty.
Hi Sue, we love kielbasa too! Such a wonderful flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Rocquie, isn't this a pretty soup? And it tastes much better than it looks! Thanks for the comment.
HI Pam, it is, it is! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Delicious looking soup John, I love Kielbasa in soups...so heart...it is sure a perfect meal for this cold weather.
Enjoy the rest of your week :)
Now, that's what I want on a cold winter night. In fact, I want TWO helpings of it. ;)
I'll have to try this. I love a hearty soup.
Hi Juliana, this really is hearty! Which we need with this weather -- getting really cold over the weekend. :-( Thanks for the comment.
Hi Carolyn, two helpings, coming up. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Lux, it's a wonderful soup! So full of flavor. Thanks for the comment.
A really healthy and filling looking soup! Yes the weather is perfect for it (like -20C in my parts). The potato is a great tip for adding substanence, I would add it sausage or not. Thanks for sharing John!
Hi Evelyne, that's cold! We usually don't get quite that cold, although it's supposed to be a bit above that this weekend. Thanks for the comment.
This looks like such a delicious and homely dish. I really need something healthy at the moment too :)
Thanks so much for sharing
We had 40c degree temps all week, then today half that, its like a blizzard has arrived so your delicious, warming and hearty soup is perfect. Love the chit chat at the end, if only food had the power to cure foot in mouth disease, I reckon I'd be the healthiest kid on the block. :)
What a comforting bowl of soup, it sounds like the perfect January pick-me-up.
Hi Julie, it's getting really cold here again this weekend, so we need to cook up a batch of this! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Annna, alas, I don't think anything can cure foot in cure disease. :-) Thanks for the comment.
hi Caroline, this really is a great January (and February!) pick-me-up. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Why does cabbage get a bad rap? It's so sweet and satisfying when cooked up like this. GREG
Hi Greg, cabbage really does get a bad rap, doesn't it? Properly cooked, cabbage is truly good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I don't have foot in mouth disease but I do need to detox! Christmas was full of the typical over-indulging and it seems to get worse every year. We've had weather in Sydney that's been cold enough to enjoy a bowl of soup and this is supposed to be the height of our summer. I love how there's plenty of colour, texture and spice in this soup xx
Hi Charlie we always seem to be detoxing at this time of the year! Not the most sensible behavior, but so much fun. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Such a fabulous soup, John! I have not put kielbasa in a soup and now I must! I love all your notes about the recipe. So helpful to people making the recipe and extra helpful to first time cooks.
Your photography always makes me extra hungry!
Hi Robyn, sausage of any kind goes well in soup, but we particularly like kielbasa. Such great flavor! Thanks for the comment.
I haven't tried Black eyed peas in soup yet. This is a good recipe to start with. Thanks John!
Hi Peachy, black-eyed peas are wonderful in soup! Such a nice flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This hearty and delicious soup reminds me of something perfect to serve on St. Patty's day. I love the aromatics and heartiness of this delicious soup. I might just add a couple of potatoes too just to fill up my boys... I hope mother nature is mild natured this year for you. Take Care
Hi Bam, we've had a mild winter thus far, although today we woke up to a light dusting of snow, and it's rather cold. We'll survive -- with the help of soup. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Sounds like a really hearty dish! Love theat keilbasa in there
Just recovering from a double trouble viral fever that attacked twice. Now If i had a bowl of this , it would not have attacked in the first place! Gorgeous soup with that bright green of cabbage and hearty sausage and black eyed peas! Winter meals should always be like this.
Hi Raymund, it is hearty! And so perfect for the cold weather we're currently experiencing. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Ansh, sorry to hear you've been sick! And nothing worse than double trouble! You need a bowl of this to ward off those germs. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love cabbage soup of any kind, John, and this is one I'm sure to enjoy. I just bought some dried cannellini beans last week and have been wondering how to use them. Well, now I have to get back to the grocery for some kielbasa and cabbage. Our temps have bottomed out and a pot of this on the stove would work wonders. Thanks for sharing.
Hi John, really cold here today, so we're going to have soup of some sort. :-) Have some cabbage in the refrigerator, so we might be making this again! Thanks for the comment.
This soup sounds so hearty and warming. I love the idea if using black-eyed peas - you don't see them used as much as they deserve!
Hi Amy, black-eyed peas have such a wonderful flavor! They're a real favorite of ours. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Don't know where your part of the world is, but mine is in Chicago area and it's definitely winter, bitter cold and all of 5° now. this great soup is perfect for the weather. We love cabbage in soup so this is on my list. Happy winter!
Hi Pam, we're in St. Louis, so similar weather, although not as cold as you get. We're about 10 degrees warmer, maybe a bit more. Anyway, thanks for the comment.
I always enjoy your conversations with Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. I have to agree that almost everyone I know will love this recipe after the holiday indulgence.
Hi Kristi, those conversations are fun to write! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Had to come back. On my way to the grocery, I decided it was too cold to put off making your soup. I bought the ingredients that I needed, made the soup, and had a wonderful, warming dinner. Better still, I've got enough in the fridge to make it through this cold snap and a couple of quarts in the deep freeze on my back porch for the next blast. Thanks, John. This soup is every bit as good as you said it is. :)
Hi John, glad you liked it! I need to get to the grocery today and get more soup makings -- snow coming our way. :-(
I haven't seen black-eyed peas in years- must try them again. Paired with the spicy sausage, I have a feeling that this dish would have a true southern, 'soul food' kind of taste! (hope I'm not putting MY foot in my mouth here)!
Hi Fran, hadn't thought about it, but this dish does have a bit of a soul food taste. Good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
What a wonderful, rich and warming soup. It looks so tempting, I think we could try it even we are in summer season right now.
Hi Daniela, this is one you might want to save until July -- it's so wonderful for cold weather! Thanks for the comment.
This soup looks like a yummy meal to warm up with. I eat a lot of soup during the winter months and I would love this one for a nice lunch. I do have to say though I have never tried black eyed peas before. They look interesting and now you have me wanting to try them.
Hi Dawn, black-eyed peas are SO worth trying! Really interesting flavor, and loaded with nutrients. Thanks for the comment.
Our winter is quite mild, 50-something today with rain. How I would have loved to put a pot of this on the stove, but I made bread instead. That means I have bread to dunk in the soup tomorrow!
Haha, foot in mouth disease! I hope you didn't get into too much trouble, John. :) I've had a life long battle with this disease so I must give your soup a try and see if it cures me. ;) Great recipe!
Hi Brooks, snow here tonight. And cold! So we had soup again. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Nancy, I don't think there's any real cure for foot in mouth disease. Alas. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Another winner. I am a soupoholic and will have broth soups for breakfast.
Hi Claudia, we usually freeze our leftovers, but when we don't I've been known to have soup for breakfast, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
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