This healthy Weight Watchers cabbage soup is a simpler version of Minestrone and a 45-year-old classic recipe from my grandma’s recipe box with a few extra vegetables added in.
Back in the day, the Cabbage Soup Diet was the magic bullet many hoped was the surefire way to lose weight fast. Did it work? Possibly—for the short term. But cutting out every carb and eating zero calories doesn’t work for long-term health. So what is sustainable? Eating for better health, not just weight loss.
Chock full of vegetables in a supremely simple, light, and healthy, Italian-leaning broth, this healthy Weight Watchers soup with cabbage has been in our family for over 50 years. My grandma had at least three variations of this recipe in her recipe box, with one titled Weight Watchers minestrone. My favorite minestrone is tomato based and veggieful too, so I can see why there’s a comparison. Grandma’s recipe was pretty lean on the number of vegetables called for, but I knew that adding even more veggies wouldn’t downgrade the recipe. It could only make it better.
Essentially fat-free and low in calories, this 50-year-old recipe still fits the WW standards with zero points, yet plenty of flavors. Apparently, grandma was a Weight Watchers follower, like me too.
What’s in Cabbage Soup
I’ve added carrot and fresh mushrooms to this cabbage soup recipe, as well as a white bean protein boost. If you’re using this soup as part of a cleanse, omit the beans.
Here’s what’s in this Weight Watchers cabbage soup:
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 32 ounces tomato juice
- 32 ounces chicken or vegetable broth (if wanting to make this vegetarian)
- 2 small zucchini
- 1 heaping cup (or more) of shredded cabbage (napa or green cabbage)
- Medium size carrot
- 15-ounce can of chickpeas or cannellini beans
- Italian seasoning
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
How to Make Weight Watchers Soup with Cabbage
This easy cabbage soup recipe comes together easily, and in under an hour. Here’s how to make it:
Sauté the aromatics with cooking spray instead of olive oil. Browning the onion, garlic, and mushrooms in a spritz of cooking spray instead of tablespoons of oil saves fat and calories while still adding savory depth to the broth. Use a large pot or Dutch oven to make this soup.
Use tomato juice for the soup base. Unlike canned diced tomatoes, tomato juice adds a zippy tomato flavor to this soup that doesn’t depend on a lot of cooking time to develop. Use regular tomato juice, or V-8 vegetable juice blend if desired.
Vegetarian Weight Watchers Soup
For added salt and depth of flavor, grandma’s original Weight Watchers soup recipe called for 5 beef bouillon cubes. Sure it’s delicious that way, but I wanted to make this soup more vegetarian-friendly.
Use vegetable or chicken broth instead of beef bouillon. Make this tomato juice-based soup vegetarian by using vegetable broth, or mostly vegetarian with chicken broth. My homemade chicken broth is my favorite flavor builder. Either way, it’s an easy and delicious soup recipe that will keep you on track for your healthy eating goals.
Quick Simmer for Success
Add herbs for flavor. Any Mediterranean herb compliments this soup. I used Italian seasoning, but you could try oregano, rosemary, basil, fennel, or marjoram in combination or on their own.
Add beans for vegetarian protein. My home-cooked cannellini beans are a perfect protein addition to this soup (use 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups) and make it even more filling. Feel free to experiment with canned beans too, such as chickpeas, Great Northern, or even navy beans.
Add the raw vegetables and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Next, add the raw vegetables to the pot and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the broth is flavorful. The longer the simmer time, the more the broth will reduce and the more flavorful the soup will become.
Why is Cabbage Soup Good for Weight Loss
Cabbage is high in fiber and low in calories, so it is a healthy food. However, any weight loss from eating cabbage is temporary, as it’s the water weight you’re losing.
Can You Freeze Cabbage Soup
This soup will last in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, and it makes great leftovers. Freeze the soup in airtight containers or Ziploc bags and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Additions or Substitutions to This Soup
Try other complimentary Mediterranean ingredients in this soup, like:
- Yellow squash, or diced butternut squash
- Celery, kale, or spinach
- Broad beans or other white beans
- Potatoes or cauliflower
- Use vegetable, chicken, or beef broth
- Add heat with a pinch of red pepper flakes or some cayenne pepper
- Purple cabbage instead of napa or green cabbage
- Add bay leaf, for even more depth of flavor
- Try spicy tomato juice for an extra kick
- Garnish with fresh basil or fresh parsley
- If you wanted to increase the amount of protein, ground turkey, Italian sausage, or ground beef would be tasty additions
More Healthy Vegetable Soup Recipes
- The Best Minestrone Soup
- 5 Ingredient Thai Pumpkin Soup
- Curry Lentil Soup With Butternut Squash And Greens
- Moroccan Soup With Kale And Chickpeas
- Vegetarian Crockpot Lasagna Soup
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
- 1 cup yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic , pressed or grated
- 1 cup mushrooms , sliced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups tomato juice
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 15 ounce can chickpeas or cannellini beans , homemade, or canned that are drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 small zucchini , quartered lengthwise and sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- 1 large carrot , peeled and sliced into ¼ inch pieces
- Spray a stock pot or large Dutch oven with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the mushrooms, season with the kosher salt, and continue cooking for 3-4 more minutes.
- Add the tomato juice and chicken (or vegetable) broth. Add the beans with the Italian seasoning and black pepper, and stir in the zucchini, cabbage, and carrot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
More Healthy Recipe Ideas
- 30 Best Comforting Soup Recipes
- 50 Favorite Mediterranean Diet Recipes
- 28 Healthy Slow Cooker Soups & Stews
- 31 Days Of Healthy Comfort Food Recipes
- 50 Dinner Ideas When There’s No Time To Cook
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This is the best vegetable soup!! I’ve made it three times already and have the ingredients to make it again this week!
Happy to hear you liked it Melissa!
This soup looks very flavorful and yummy! I’m going to try it with some farro and a drizzle or two of high quality EVOO. Thanks for sharing!
Love the addition of the mushrooms. I’m thinking about taking this in crockpot for a staff meeting. Any idea how many servings this is?
Great idea Jean! It makes about 6 servings but can easily be doubled. I think. you’ll love it.
this works, for me! thank you, love the cannellini and mushrooms too
I really enjoy your recipes , simple and very tasty.