Open Arms of Minnesota

Weekly Recipe #161: French White Bean and Cabbage Stew

By Cheryl Ainslie-Waldman, Dietetic Intern with the University of Minnesota/The Emily Program Dietetic Internship

Photo Credit - Stone Soup/Flickr
Photo Credit – Stone Soup/Flickr

This is my absolute favorite recipe to make every year when the weather turns cold. It is super simple, and using a slow cooker helps to ensure a healthful, filling, and delicious meal at the end of a long day. If you don’t have a slow cooker, the recipe can be prepared in a large pot like any other soup. I tend to pair this meal with a nice crusty bread. For a heartier soup, liquid smoke and browned vegetarian sausage can be added just before serving. One of the great things about this recipe is that the relative amounts of each vegetable can be adjusted according to your tastes or what you have on hand. I usually add extra potatoes and beans, especially if I use a larger head of cabbage. If adding extra ingredients, be sure to add a little extra broth to cover the vegetables while cooking.

This soup is naturally low in fat and rich in fiber; the water content of a broth-based soup will also help you feel full, so this is a great recipe if you are watching your weight. As a cruciferous vegetable, cabbage is a source of compounds called glucosinolates, which are responsible for the piquant smell of this soup while it cooks. Glucosinolates help to protect the plant cells from damage, so when we eat cruciferous vegetables (like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc.), the glucosinolates may protect our cells and reduce the risk of cancers, including breast and lung cancers. These compounds are more potent when raw vegetables are consumed, but eating cabbage as part of a broth-based soup is an excellent way to incorporate these healthy components into your diet.

French White Bean and Cabbage Stew

Adapted from “Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker” by Robin Robertson

(Serves 6)


  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 medium-sized carrots, chopped
  • 3-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 head green or black cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1-3 large Yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 1-2 15.5 oz. cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6-8 c. vegetable stock
  • 1 t. dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1) Add all ingredients to a 6-quart slow cooker or large soup pot. Cover.
2) In the slow cooker, cook on Low for 6-8 hours. If using a soup pot, simmer ingredients for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
3) Adjust seasonings to taste and enjoy!

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