“February is the border between winter and spring.”
— Terri Guillemets, Years

The month of February arrives like every other year – with cold blast. I try to stay positive. I like to think of in a few short months some of my favorite things will be here: asparagus, tulips, wild leeks, peepers, and the opening of the Skandia Farmers Market. After a long winter it makes my gardener’s heart happy. I cannot wait to plant trays of seedlings and I am even looking forward to “mud season” (anyone with dogs and/or children understands the delight and dishevelment of mud season). 

This is also the time of the year when I start to take inventory in our pantry. How many jars of pickled beets are left? Green beans? Dill pickles? With the growing season coming clearer into view, I feel the pressure lighten, and I am less stingy. I find myself opening up Mason jars with wild abandon.

I started getting serious about food preservation six years ago and I am getting a feel for how many quarts I have to put up to provide for our family. Though, with teenagers in the house, it is always a good idea to plan extra. 

Last week, I came to the realization that I have quite a few jars left of tomatoes and tomato juice. Therefore, I thought it was the perfect time to make a pot of Cabbage Soup. 

This recipe is an old favorite that my mom and I enjoyed making when I was in high school and college (especially when we were being extra mindful of our weight). I am going to share a basic recipe and you may decide to bulk it up with pasta or beans and flavor it with your favorite spices. You can also add other vegetables (I have added zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, kale or whatever I had on hand). However, to be honest, my favorite is the classic recipe that I grew up eating. 

It is a simple and versatile soup and it is packed with flavor and nutrients. While it is wonderful hot, I must say that I even enjoy it cold (similar to a gazpacho) which is why it is perfect for any season. I have been known to affectionately call it Bloody Mary Soup as a throwback to my 20s when I was a bartender, since some of the base ingredients can be found in the popular drink.  It is also a satisfying soup to make in the fall since I can pull nearly every ingredient out of my garden.


*4 cups of finely chopped cabbage (the cabbage cooks down)
*1 medium chopped onion
*3 ribs of chopped celery
*2 chopped bell peppers (I use one green and one red or yellow. I really like the flavor that the bell peppers bring to the soup)
*1 cup of chopped carrots
*6 cups of tomato juice
*4 cups of canned tomatoes
*2 Tablespoons of minced garlic
*1 Tablespoon of olive oil (or your cooking oil of choice)
*Salt and pepper to taste
*Lemon juice to taste (when I use fresh lemons, I use two and always use the zest. The more lemon the better.)
*Worcestershire sauce to taste
*Hot sauce (Optional. I recommend adding it to your cup or bowl before serving. If you like some heat you could also add a diced jalapeno pepper to the pot)

(While this soup is plant based, you can swap out a few cups of the tomato juice for a good quality chicken stock.) 

Saute garlic, onion and celery in olive oil until soft and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 45-60 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do. It is  filling because of all the fiber and it has been a staple in my meal plans for years. If you are looking for other healthy recipes, make sure you check out the soup tab at the top of the page. Enjoy February and every month of the year. Before we know it – we will be back in the garden and swapping stories at the farmers market. Until then, remember to eat your vegetables!



  1. I remember this soup! I think I’ll make it this week! You wouldn’t happen to have the original WW recipe for Ranch Dressing from the 70s or 80s, would you?

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