Of Cabbages and Kings…

Cabbage Soup – A Dorset Delicacy?

OK, perhaps not.  But, the humble cabbage was first grown in England in Dorset, in Wimborne St Giles on the estate of  Anthony Ashley (1551-1628), who introduced cabbage to England from Holland.  If you visit the village, you can find his tomb in the Parish Church, along with a monument decorated with cabbages, in tribute to the man who brought them here.

cabbage soup 5-2 diet

Now, this post SHOULD be about rabbit pie.  I really wanted to make a rabbit and cider pie for my Best of British Dorset entry.  And I am sure with a little more time and a following wind I would have sourced some rabbit locally.  There was none at the Farmers Market this week, Waitrose have stopped stocking rabbit and even Abel and Cole didn’t have any to order.  So, I started searching the internet for an alternative.

Cabbage soup has slightly dubious links in my head.  The cabbage soup diet was popular about 10 years ago and involved making a huge pot of evil looking soup to consumer over a week or so.  The concept never really appealed to me. And, while I’m used to small quantities of cabbage in soup, I wasn’t that convinced it would work as the ‘hero’ of the dish.  Then, I found a recipe that looked and sounded viable on the BBC Good Food site

My own version uses the same principle of a potato and some vegetables to make a thick broth, with shredded cabbage added at the last minute.  I’ve also added in a little cream and some bacon.  And, the results were really tasty and filling.  It’s very pleasant without the cream and bacon and extremely low calorie – great if it’s a 5:2 diet day.  Add in the cream and bacon to have a dish worthy of a King.


Cabbage Soup – 5-2 diet

Serves 3-4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Allergy Milk
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Soup
Misc Serve Hot


  • 1 Medium Potato (Peeled and chopped)
  • 1 Leek (trimmed, washed and sliced)
  • 1 Medium Onion (Finely chopped)
  • 1/4 Savoy cabbage (Finely Shredded)
  • 2-3 Bacon rashers ((or a teaspoon of sunflower oil))
  • 1 tablespoon Single Cream
  • 750ml Vegetable stock ((I used e-cuisine stock powder))
  • 1 handful Fresh parsley (Chopped)


Step 1 cabbage soup 3
Sweat the bacon rashers in a heavy bottomed saucepan till cooked. You should have some bacon fat in the bottom of the pan now. If you are not using bacon, skip this stage
Step 2 Remove the bacon and set to one side. Gently soften the onion in the bacon fat or sunflower oil till translucent and just starting to brown around the edges
Step 3 Add in the leek and cook for a few minutes
Step 4 Add in the potato and pour over the stock.
Step 5 cabbage soup 4
Bring to the boil and cook until the potato is soft (about 20 minutes)
Step 6 cabbage soup 2
Zap the mixture with a stick blender till smooth and add more water if necessary till you have something the consistency of single cream
Step 7 Bring back to the boil. Adjust the seasoning and then add in the cabbage.
Step 8 Cook for a further 5 minutes on a gentle simmer
Step 9 Stir through the cream if using
Step 10 Serve garnished with small pieces of the cooked bacon and with chopped parsley

Of course I DID serve this with my own home made bread.  I’m really quite pleased with that – and it seems to be keeping reasonably well (it is now three days old and still quite fresh).  And, I did enjoy it.  I suspect it is partly the base mixture that makes what could otherwise be rather a boring soup into a very pleasant meal.  I used leeks and onions rather than the original ingredients in the Good Food recipe because that’s what looked best when I went shopping.   I would have added in a stick of celery if I had any – but I’m unconvinced about the addition of carrot which I think would turn this soup a rather dirty dishwater colour.





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  1. says

    I’m afraid this is one recipe, Fiona, that I won’t be trying. Cabbage is just not my thing. It’s good to hear that the bread is holding up, though! Good luck with Best of British!

  2. says

    That is a wonderful entry for Dorset Fiona, and if I may say so, it looks very un-cabbage like as soup goes, I do remember the evil cabbage soup diet soup and it was vile, watery and very unappetising. Yours looks thick and creamy with bacon, how lush is that? Thanks so much for entering into the Dorset leg of best of British, and for being so imaginative with your entry too! Karen

    • says

      lmao, it is genuinely NOT what I wanted to do …but I kind of liked the end result! Not my idea to make a thick broth and then add shredded cabbage, but it works a treat!

  3. Fiona B says

    Would love to try this out – cabbage is an unsung food and the Dorset connection along with the inevitable great taste sounds superb.

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