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Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had an amazing celebration with friends or family. After all the holiday festivities, it’s time for some healthier detox food. Don’t you think so? If you do, you need this recipe for easy cabbage soup with ground beef – Crock Pot or Instant Pot methods included!
The cabbage soup diet might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cabbage soup. It was really popular at one point. You’re actually better off including this low carb cabbage soup recipe in a balanced low carb diet, instead.
Let me explain what the cabbage soup diet was about first. Then, we’ll see why there are better options, and how to make cabbage soup the better way…
What is the Cabbage Soup Diet Plan for Weight Loss?
The original cabbage soup diet plan gained popularity in the 80’s and 90’s. It was a fad diet, which I generally do not support. That term alone should tell you that there are issues with it.
But, that doesn’t mean that cabbage soup isn’t great as part of a healthy eating plan. That is a much better way to enjoy it.
For those that want to know, I’ll still go over what the cabbage soup diet involves. You start with a huge batch of homemade cabbage soup, which you can have in unlimited amounts. There are recipes to make it in the Crock Pot, Instant Pot, or the stove top. Also, each day of the week allows certain other foods.
In a nutshell, here is the summary of the 7-day cabbage soup diet:
- Day 1: Unlimited cabbage soup and fruit (except bananas).
- Day 2: Unlimited cabbage soup and non-starchy vegetables. One baked potato with butter or oil.
- Day 3: Unlimited cabbage soup, fruit (except bananas), and non-starchy vegetables.
- Day 4: Unlimited cabbage soup, bananas, and skim milk.
- Day 5: Unlimited cabbage soup, 6 tomatoes, and 20 oz beef or chicken.
- Day 6: Unlimited cabbage soup and non-starchy vegetables, plus 20 oz beef or fish.
- Day 7: Unlimited cabbage soup, non-starchy vegetables, brown rice, and unsweetened juice.
As you can see, it involves a lot of cabbage soup! It’s also far from low carb, especially with the bananas, potatoes, milk, and rice in there. In fact, it much more closely follows the old premise of a low-fat, low-calorie diet.
This is why the original recipe for how to make cabbage soup does not include ground beef. It’s vegetables only, which means lower fat and calories. This is not necessarily a good thing, and is not sustainable. But does it work?
Does the Cabbage Soup Diet Work?
So, does the cabbage soup diet plan work? Yes and no. Let’s talk about the how and why.
The cabbage soup diet works at first, simply because it inadvertently restricts calorie intake. It will happen even with the unlimited cabbage soup and the starches allowed.
The small food selection combined with the volume of soup makes it difficult to eat enough calories to maintain weight. This results in short-term weight loss.
Unfortunately, it does not work in the long term. It’s a way to shed weight quickly in a week, but like any fad diet, most people gain it back quickly.
That being said, a healthy cabbage soup recipe can still be a way to kick start a diet if it helps to motivate you. The diet plan above is not recommended for a keto or low carb diet, though. I think you could modify it if you wanted to, by replacing the starchy foods with low carb ones.
Pros & Cons of the Cabbage Soup Diet
The cabbage soup diet does have some advantages:
- It’s very high in fiber
- It focuses on fresh, real, unprocessed food
- It’s inexpensive and doesn’t require fancy ingredients
- Unlimited cabbage soup means you won’t be hungry
- It works in the short-term
Unfortunately, the disadvantages outweigh the pros:
- Low protein intake leads to muscle loss (source)
- Very low fat intake leaves the body unable to absorb fat soluble vitamins and minerals (source)
- Very low calorie intake can slow metabolism (source) and lead to feeling weak
- Most of the weight loss is from glycogen depletion (water weight) and is temporary (source)
- Many days of the diet are very unbalanced, especially the day of unlimited bananas and skim milk
- It’s pretty boring and bland
- It’s a fad diet and does not work in the long-term
Do you know what’s way better than a (fad) cabbage soup diet? A healthy, low carb way of eating that you can maintain in the long term. Seriously.
What To Do Instead of the Cabbage Soup Diet
I know you want fast results if you’re considering the cabbage soup diet, but what’s the point if it doesn’t last?
Instead, a beef cabbage soup can be a delicious meal for lunch or dinner, without actually following a complete cabbage soup diet.
A long-term plan that you can stick with will get you much better results, and I definitely recommend a low carb diet for that. It will stabilize your blood sugar, keep you satisfied, and still produce results. That is why I created this low carb cabbage soup with ground beef.
The soup fits into other diets, too. It’s paleo, whole 30, and packed with nutrients. It’s just wonderful for the New Year’s resolutions going on right now, or any time you want a lighter meal! It will keep you full and can help you lose weight in a more long-term way.
Meanwhile, there’s no reason to impose the unreasonable restrictions of a fad diet. You can enjoy your cabbage soup with ground beef one day, taco salad the next, and even fathead pizza the day after that. Low carb eating gives you infinitely more flexibility than a rigid fad diet.
So, what about the soup? Is cabbage soup low carb? Yes, it absolutely can be!
Traditional cabbage soup is already moderately low carb, but it lacks fat and protein that will satisfy. And, some of the veggies, like carrots, are a little higher in carbs.
With some modifications, cabbage soup can be an even better fit for a low carb diet. There are multiple variations out there, but with this version you get protein and it’s low carb friendly. You’ll get all the benefits of the original, plus it tastes better and has even more nutritional value, as you will see.
Besides, cabbage soup with ground beef makes a meal that’s both filling and light on calories. Even though calories are not top priority on a low carb diet, you won’t lose weight with it if you eat too many. This cabbage soup recipe lightens up your lunch or dinner without making you feel deprived.
A (Better) Recipe for Cabbage Soup with Ground Beef
This low carb spin on a cabbage soup recipe includes ground beef and bone broth. If you want to know how to make cabbage soup that actually tastes good and satisfies, this is it. And, I’m even throwing in options to use the Crock Pot, Instant Pot, or stove top.
With the meat and healthy fat in there, this soup actually feels like a real meal. And, the nutrient profile is incredible. You’re going to love it.
The veggies in this cabbage soup are a little different from the usual, to keep it low carb. For example, carrots are almost entirely omitted. I say almost, because I used shredded coleslaw mix. This has just a little bit of carrots, but not enough to make the carbs too high.
The bagged coleslaw mix makes this recipe super quick and easy. I love the convenience!
If you would rather buy a whole head of cabbage and chop it up, that’s totally fine. Feel free to throw in a handful of shredded carrots if you go that route, or skip them if you want.
The main advantage of the head of cabbage is it will store in the fridge for a longer time than the pre-shredded mix. That’s something to consider, depending on when you will be making the soup. In general, though, cabbage stores pretty well even in a pre-shredded state, so it shouldn’t be a big issue.
Best of all, cabbage soup with ground beef is way more filling and more nutritionally balanced. It incorporates satiating fat and protein, which helps maintain muscle mass and aids in nutrient absorption.
Don’t worry, it’s still a very effective cabbage soup for weight loss.
The bone broth in this beef cabbage soup makes it even healthier. If you’re not familiar with it, the broth made by simmering chicken or beef bones is packed with collagen, glycine, proline, glutamine, and tons of minerals. These compounds have loads of health benefits for the joints, skin, immune system, and leaky gut, among others (sources here, here, here, here, and here).
Which Cabbage Soup Recipe – Crock Pot, Instant Pot or Stove Top?
There are multiple ways to make cabbage soup with ground beef. There are pros and cons to each method, so you can choose the one right for you.
Keep in mind that you might see cabbage soup recipes like this under multiple names, such as beef cabbage soup, stuffed cabbage soup, and unstuffed cabbage soup, among others. Don’t ask me what the difference is between the last two! 😉
The Instant Pot is the fastest way to cook cabbage soup. It takes just 30 minutes total! It also requires the least cleanup, since you can saute and cook the soup in the Instant Pot only.
The stove top is middle of the road in terms of time. It takes the same amount of time to saute the ground beef, but you’ll need to simmer it for longer. Since it doesn’t require any special tools, it’s a great option if you don’t have a Crock Pot or Instant Pot. The recipe below is for cabbage soup in the Crock Pot or Instant Pot, but the stove top will work just fine, too.
The Crock Pot cabbage soup method is great for preparing in advance. It takes the longest, but the time is hands off. After you saute the beef, let the Crock Pot do all the work for you.
How To Make Cabbage Soup with Hamburger
Okay, so we’ve covered what the original cabbage soup diet was all about, why this cabbage soup recipe with ground beef is even better, and the various methods for cooking.
Now, how do you make cabbage soup with ground beef? It’s easy!
And, all you need are simple, common ingredients. It’s yet another reason I think it’s the best cabbage soup recipe ever.
First, saute the onions in avocado oil. Feel free to use another oil or even grass-fed butter, if you’d like. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. These steps are done directly in the Instant Pot if you’re using that, or otherwise on the stove.
Next, all that’s left is to mix all the ingredients together and simmer the cabbage soup. The remaining things to add include shredded coleslaw mix, diced tomatoes, bone broth, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and bay leaves.
Either dump these into the Instant Pot, or transfer everything to the Crock Pot. Simmering the soup takes 20 minutes in the pressure cooker or a few hours in the slow cooker. Either way, it takes almost no effort.
That’s all it takes! Whether you’re looking to try a low carb version of the cabbage soup diet, or simply wanting an easy cabbage soup recipe to have as a healthy meal, this one is a must-try. And, I highly recommend the latter option!
More Low Carb Soup Recipes
- Broccoli Cheese Soup – keto and just 5 ingredients!
- Low Carb Vegetable Soup
- Nigerian Spinach Stew
- Green Chili Chicken Soup
Tools To Make Beef Cabbage Soup:
Click the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Saute pan – You only need this if you’re making the Crock Pot version.
- Crock Pot – My favorite Crock Pot for making cabbage soup with ground beef.
- Instant Pot – A pressure cooker is so convenient for a quicker version of this recipe!
How To Make Cabbage Soup with Ground Beef - Crock Pot or Instant Pot Recipe:
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How To Make Cabbage Soup with Ground Beef - Crock Pot or Instant Pot Recipe
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Crock Pot Cabbage Soup - Slow Cooker Instructions
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions start to brown.
Add ground beef to the pan. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, breaking apart with a spatula, for about 7-10 minutes, until the beef is browned.
Meanwhile, place the remaining ingredients into the Crock Pot.
When the beef is browned, add the beef and onion mixture to the Crock Pot. Stir to combine. Season with more salt and/or pepper to taste.
Cook for 5-6 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
Instant Pot Cabbage Soup - Pressure Cooker Instructions
Press the Saute button on the Instant Pot. Add the oil and chopped onions. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions start to brown.
Add ground beef to the Instant Pot. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Increase saute temperature to "High". Cook, breaking apart with a spatula, for about 7-10 minutes, until the beef is cooked through.
When the beef is done, turn off heat and add the remaining ingredients into the Instant Pot. Stir to combine. Season with more salt and/or pepper to taste.
Cover and seal the Instant Pot. Press the Manual button and adjust the time to 20 minutes. When cooking is complete, let pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then use quick release. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
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Serving size: 1 cup
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Nutrition Information Per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Net carb count excludes fiber, erythritol, and allulose, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. (Learn about net carbs here.) We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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