Italian Sausage and Cabbage Stew

Brrrr, it’s cold outside. We had a warm spell for a few days, sunny, high 60s, but now the storms have returned and Sacramento is getting a good chilly drenching. Perfect timing for a big pot of warm and filling cabbage stew. This is an Italian version, using Savoy cabbage (the round, wrinkly cabbage which has a milder taste than regular cabbage), Italian sausage, white beans, fresh parsley, and Parmesan cheese. I’m so used to German treatments of cabbage, I’m surprised at how good this stew is with the Italian sausage and Parmesan. I don’t usually think of Parm and cabbage paired together, but they really do work in this stew. Easy to make and easy on the budget. Buon appetito!

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Italian Sausage and Cabbage Stew Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8 to 10.

We use savoy cabbage for this recipe, but you could use regular cabbage, or even collard greens or dinosaur kale. If you want to make this stew vegetarian, leave out the sausage and double the beans.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, bulk, or removed from casings
  • 1 large yellow onion, half sliced and half minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • 1 15-ounce can of white beans (cannellini, Great Northern, or Navy), drained
  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1 2-pound savoy cabbage, quartered, then sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chopped parsley, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup to a cup of freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese for garnish

Method

1 Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in a large (8-quart), thick-bottomed pot. Add the sausage, breaking it up into pieces as you put it into the pot in a single layer. When the sausage has nicely browned, remove it with a slotted spoon and set aside.

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2 Add the minced onion (save the sliced onion for later) and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Once the onions give up some of their water, use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

3 Add the white wine and the beans and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. If you want, for a thicker base, use an immersion blender to blend some (or all) of the beans and onions.

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4 Add the water, stock, salt, cabbage, sliced onion half, bay leaves and browned sausage. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then uncover and continue cooking until the cabbage is tender, about another 10-20 minutes.

To serve, sprinkle on chopped parsley and grated cheese.

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Links:

Italian Kale, Sausage and Cannellini Bean Soup, with Tomatoes - from Eclectic Recipes
Cabbage Soup with Bread and Fontina Cheese - from Mosels & Musings
Sausage, Kale and Pasta Soup - from For the Love of Cooking


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62 Comments

  1. Elise R.

    This sounds incredible. My husband’s family is very Italian, but every Christmas they make pounds and pounds of sauerkraut. And I love it! Sauerkraut and coleslaw being my only exposure to cabbage, I’m excited for a new recipe to try it in.

  2. JoD

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. It sort of reminded me of a favorite dish my Italian gradmother made, which was a real money saver. Just steam chopped cabbage, saute garlic to taste in enough butter to coat cabbage, and toss all with parmesan cheese. Great, inexpensive side dish.

  3. Dan

    Any suggestions for the white wine?

    I think it’s flexible. Actually for this last batch I used some leftover champagne. Usually I recommend a dry white wine for cooking, such as a Sauvignon Blanc. But basically the best guideline is to use a wine that you like to drink. ~Elise

  4. randi

    Wow this will go great with the bread I am making for the first time for dinner tomorrow. haha hopefully it won’t be hollow.

  5. Holly

    I made this for lunch today with ordinary cabbage; it was delicious! I can’t wait to taste it tomorrow. Thanks for a quick and easy meal.

  6. Peter

    Looked appealing and made it tonight. Used a mix of fresh mild and spicy sausage from Parma (http://www.parmasausage.com/) and dried navy beans. Savoy cabbage was a great suggestion! I blended about 1/2 the bean and onion. Great winter dinner.

  7. anna

    I’m a sucker for a good food photo and you got me…..and the meal was DELISH! I followed the recipe and it was divine but next time i’ll add some fennel. Got some gorgeous house made italian sausage from a little market here in seattle and it got me wanting some more fennel.

    yum yum yum! thank you! ;o) Anna

  8. DS Bakker

    I made it last night with great northern beans and bok choy (because that’s what I had on hand). I did not blend the beans and onions, opting to keep the broth clear. I served it with toasted garlic baguette. Yummy.

  9. Lea Ann

    I think this sounds fabulous. I just posted an Italian Sausage Soup recipe myself. Can’t wait to try this version.

  10. Cheryl

    I made this yesterday and served it today at our hunt breakfast. It was a delicious hunt breakfast recipe and reheated well. I used regular cabbage too.

  11. Kristi Rimkus

    I’m often at a loss with something to do with cabbage besides braising it, or making a salad. I love the savory flavors in this soup with the Italian seasoning and creamy beans. Wonderful for a cold winter evening. Bet it would work well in a slow cooker.

    Kristi

  12. slapshoe

    This looks basically lovely, but unfortunately most kinds of beans make me ill. Would garbanzos make a decent substitute, or would the flavor be wrong? (I have no idea what beans even taste like any more.)

    Yep, I think garbanzos would work, or you could just leave the beans out. ~Elise

  13. randi

    This was a delicious dinner. My son has been talking all night about how much he liked it.
    Went well with my first attempt at bread which was really good.

  14. Anonymous

    As I live in the UK I am not entirely sure what would be considered the equivalent to Italian Sausage. I know we can obtain Chorizo Sausage here but this is more like salami. Can anyone make any suggestions please as to what I should look for as I like the sound of this recipie.

  15. kat

    Loved this! Love most everything I try on this site : )

    I did add a little extra broth (had a slightly larger cabbage) and would add more beans next time (maybe about 50% more? I did not puree any either)

  16. Jessi

    I made this last night for dinner. I used spicy Italian sausage and then followed the recipe exactly. It was great. It reminded me of some Russian soups I have had. I would definitely make it again as a budget friendly way to feed 4-6 people.

  17. Sara

    I made this for dinner tonight and my fiance and I both loved it! I would add more beans next time and puree some of them – I did not puree any this time because I didn’t feel like I had beans to spare and I wanted there to be whole ones in there too. I also think this would be good with some type of small pasta (like ditalini) added in (to individual bowls, not into the whole pot so that they don’t get too soggy and smooshy). Really awesome flavor as is though! Cabbage and sausage are two of my favorite things and this dish is super comforting and perfect for winter. I’m sure the leftovers will be delicious too!

  18. Martha H.

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was great! I agree with Sara, next time, I will add another can of beans. Very good.

  19. Deb in Indiana

    To anonymous in the UK: usually Italian Sausage here in the US is ground pork with a pinch of garlic, oregano, and rosemary, varying amounts of red pepper flakes and a spoonful of fennel seed. The fennel and red pepper seem to be the dominant flavors.

    I love pork and cabbage — a match made in heaven.

  20. David

    Just made this last night and it turned out wonderful. My wife was appreciative. I have been coming to your site for a few years now and have loved all the different recipes.

    I decided to use an immersion blender to blend the white beans and onions completely and went with the pecorino romano cheese.

    Looking forward to all the many more recipes yet to come.

  21. Gery

    Excellent! Modified a bit: used both hot and sweet sausage, added carrots, and used all chicken stock instead of the water. Served with crusty french bread, almost couldn’t stop eating.

  22. deb

    I made this using turkey Italian sausage and also added some cayenne pepper for some heat. I put angel hair pasta in the bottom of the bowls as well. I would use more beans the next time. All in all, really delicious. The parm gave it such a nutty, buttery flavor.

  23. Cherie L.

    Made this tonight with Toulouse Sausage even my husband who doesn’t like cabbage ate seconds and said it came out better than he feared! My toddler ate some too.

  24. Shelley

    Obviously you’ve never seen the savoy cabbage in our stores in AZ…it looks like it’s 100 years old…limp, dry, lifeless. Does it have to be savoy. Seems like all the other cabbage varieties are fine, but savoy but be not used much for anything. I’d love to try this but…

    You can use regular cabbage. ~Elise

  25. Julia

    one word, YUM!! I thought there would be enough for left overs for lunch the next day, I was wrong. My husband and mother-in-law wiped it out.

  26. Dean Mudd

    Made a batch of this soup for lunch. I ended up draining the fat from the sausage on paper towels as there was a lot after the sausage was crisped brown. First time ever using Savoy cabbage and it seems to hold on to some crispness after cooking, unlike the regular green cabbage which tends to go mushy when eating as leftovers. As the soup came to a finish a blanket of snow hit the ground here in Mead WA…yuck on the weather….thumbs up on the soup!

  27. Casey

    I’m an American living in the UK and I do the following whenever Italian sausage is called for: To a pound of pork sausage I add about a teaspoon of fennel seeds (slightly crushed), half teaspoon of oregano, and a small pinch of red pepper flakes. Used it in this recipe and it turned out wonderfully!

  28. F boulanger

    This is an amazing meal. We cooked the stew earlier this week, and it was a ht with everyone. This is a great use of cabbage, something we don’t eat enough of. The rusticity of the meal and the rich flavors are the bomb!

  29. Russell

    Replacement Questions:

    - Mix Sweet and Spicy Sausage?
    – Use a different bean (red beans, maybe)?

    I have most of the ingredients for this soup at home (except the white wine, a little more sausage and perhaps the beans). I’m going to see if the wife will make this tomorrow for lunch or dinner :)

    Sure, mix it up a bit! ~Elise

  30. KimH

    I made this last night.. YUM!! I had it for breakfast & lunch today too.. :D
    I used a mix of both spicy & sweet Italian sausage and celery cabbage. I also used Chardonnay wine I had in the frig waiting for a recipe to use it in.. :D It was a perfect fit!
    Thanks so much for your delightful recipes!!

  31. Nancy Singleton Hachisu

    Ahah, another tasty recipe! As soon as my meat shop opens up again after their fire at New Year, I will make up a batch of Italian sausage to go with our hakusai cabbage. Thanks for the great idea. I’m looking forward to trying it out on the little SSU! kids. They’re getting tired of pasta and risotto (well, maybe not…but I am). It’s hard to get excited about making meals from supermarket meat. Luckily we still have the fish market. Ne?

  32. Stephanie

    Made this last night. It was quick, easy and most importantly tasty. Keeper recipe. Thanks!

  33. Katherine @ NightOwlChef

    Another fantastic recipe, Elise! I sent my mom the recipe when you posted it, and she made it the next day – to rave reviews (and she used a different cabbage; not sure which). I just made it tonight, using turkey italian sausage, and it was simply delightful! The flavor was perfectly seasoned and balanced. I thought the sole can of beans was superfluous, actually, but next time I just might add two cans.
    Lovely – thanks!!

  34. liliya

    Just made it, I added fennel seeds. So good, thanks for the great recipe.

  35. Kandi

    Wow!! Tried this the other night, so simple and able to prepare after work. Use hot Italian sausage and regular cabbage, otherwise followed the recipe to the tee. Hubby doesn’t do cheese so left it out. The hot sausage really gave this a zip, will make it over and over. Cabbage is one of our favorites. I think I might try this w/brussel sprouts next time. Thanks again always on your site.

  36. Jacqueline

    I made the soup last weekend on a particularily cold day in Northern CA and it was incredibly good! It’s great just following the recipe, but I’d love to try it with a mix of a mildly hot Italian Sausage and probably more beans. I used a white kidney bean, one 14 oz. can, and it felt like it could have used more substance to it. But the flavor, especially with the parm on top….so so yummy! And simple! You’ve got to try it!

  37. Nancy

    This was fabulous! I live alone, so made a smaller batch and simplified it to suit what I had on hand. I tend to use dried spices as it is easier for a single cook! I used hot italian sausage, Trader Joes turkey broth for the base (love this for ALL soup), and regular cabbage. YUMMY

  38. Barbara

    This soup is a winner in our house. I added a few winter root veggies and some mushrooms to it, and it came out great. My husband kept commenting that it has such a great tasting broth before you even get to the rest of the soup, and I agree. We are looking forward to eating the leftovers tonight :) Thanks for the great recipe.

  39. Janet

    Quite delicious! I used smoked turkey broth (from a smoked turkey) and think this really took it up a notch. Also added a second can of white beans after pureeing the the first one.

  40. Zoe

    Well – this was good, but not great… which surprised me since I love all the ingredients and love cassoulet. But the combo was only eh. I might have nixed the parsley and added thyme perhaps. Also – someone mentioned it being a perfect meal for their windy evening. Well, my husband and I just laughed and laughed. No wind outside, but whoa! Was it hurricane season indoors. Cabbage and beans! Jeesh, gosh and holy moly! Not date food.

  41. Karita

    Wow! This soup is yummy!!! My only experience with cabbage has been sauerkraut, which I detest, so I was a little leery of trying this recipe. However, I LOVE sausage and the soup sounded so good and heartwarming that I had to make it! It was a success… The broth was so rich & flavorful and the sausage added just the right amount of oomph. I think I’ll add another can of beans to the next batch but other than that it was fantastic!

    It has definitely opened the door to cabbage in my kitchen.

  42. Carol from Minnesota

    Awesome, I’m on my second bowl, and it’s terrific. I didn’t have wine so I just used chicken stock to replace wine and water. Also added red pepper flakes. Thanks for the recipe!!

  43. Michelle

    Made this tonight with a few substitutions due to not going to the grocery this week :) :
    black beans
    1/2 red and 1/2 white wine
    spicy italian sausage

    It was amazing!! I love a good cabbage stew!!

  44. Ed

    Very, very good. When I make it again, though, I’m going to use two cans of the beans and only about a cup of the water.

  45. Moxie

    Great recipe! Yum cabbage! We doubled the ingredients with the idea of freezing half for later, but in 3 days every bit was gone. This is going to become permanent in our kitchen.

  46. Sanya

    Thank you for the great recipe. It came out delicious.

  47. Amber

    I love this soup! I have been making a similar version for years, but never thought of using cabbage. I can’t wait to try it!
    I use Turkey sausage for less calories and spinach for the greens.

  48. Christine Stiff

    Thank you! Good recipe.

  49. Jeanine

    Made it tonight–it was well liked, despite the fact that I only had regular cabbage and sake instead of white wine. Wonderful that it doesn’t require a jillion ingredients to be that tasty.

  50. Thom

    A very nice combination of flavors . . . I did make a few changes: used dried cannellini beans and used the pot liquor instead of the water. And, I left out the salt; but I couldn’t resist adding some pepper and dried pepper flakes Next time, I will definitely double the beans and maybe throw in some sliced carrot. Oh, and I used real cabbage.

  51. Angela

    Yum, this turned out so well. Great flavor!

  52. kathy

    I used to be one of those cooks who added to many ingredients to the pot, then wondered why it didn’t taste as good as grandma’s (or my mother-in-law, or my neighbor who’s following her mom’s recipes). It’s taken a long to realized that those true comfort foods, like the best of italian and french and cajun foods, are truly best when the barest of recipes is followed, true to form. I just made a second batch at his request, which he had for lunch today. Thanks for a great recipe!

  53. Jenn

    This was delicious! I did have to add a bit more liquid than the recipe called for (a small can of chicken stock & another quart of water) b/c it just seemed to be too thick after I put the cabbage in. Of course if anyone reading this does the same, make sure you taste & adjust for seasoning! I live in Henderson, NV & although it was 105 yesterday, it hit the spot! I’m more than ready for cooler weather so this is my way of feeling like it is even when it isn’t.. haha

  54. nicky

    This sounds yummy. My question is: can you freeze the leftovers? Thanks.

    Good question. I haven’t frozen this dish, but if you try it, please let us know how it turns out for you.~Elise

  55. Carmen

    Wow! I added one small sliced fennel bulb, 2 Tbs. Tomato paste, and about 1/2 Tsp. of smoked paprika and it was awesome. Husband thought that he should make a sandwich since we were having soup. He didn’t make the sandwich…but he did have 2 heaping bowls with lots of crusty bread. We loved this dish.

  56. Lauren

    This was soooo good!!! I didn’t add water and instead doubled the chicken stock. Also, I threw in a parmesan rind which added a nice flavor. This is definitely a keeper.

  57. Carmen

    I made a few times over the winter and found that leftovers can be frozen for later.

  58. KariVery

    I made this with a few substitutions (because I was out of some ingredients) and it ended up being kind of a Spanish or Mexican version – I used beef stock instead of chicken, and chorizo sausage. I also added crushed fennel seeds, and a healthy dash of cayenne pepper. Didn’t have beans, so left them out. I used a regular head of cabbage, which worked fine. I used cilantro instead of parsley. It was dee-lish!

  59. Aimee

    This is so good!!!!! We made it last night (I forgot beans at the store, so we omitted those) and the whole family loved it. I have three year old twins, and they kept saying “mo soup!” So it earned their approval as well. A perfect quick-cook stew that tasted even better than it looked. (and it looked darn good!)

  60. Tina

    Delicious! My whole family loved this soup. I added carrots and a second can of beans. Thank you for sharing this :)

  61. Diane

    Drool worthy. Added potatoes, mushrooms and fennel seeds, but otherwise followed the recipe. Oh my!

  62. Rainah

    Yum! We did have to modify this after a first bite….. We really *had* to add a tad of lemon juice and hot sauce if we were going to enjoy this recipe (we could’ve eaten it w/out the changes, but not enjoyed it) But with those two small additions? This soup was amazing then! We found that we can make this in the crockpot w/dried navy beans in roughly four hours (probably great northern would be done in that time too). With the crockpot, personally, I don’t think this could be easier……… But as is, it’s a great quick soup. ALSO, I THOUGHT WE HAD CABBAGE WHEN WE DIDN’T, SO, BASED ON YOUR GREAT ADVICE I SUBBED FROZED SPINACH (but also had to add peas) AND IT WAS SO VERY, VERY GOOD……, MY CHILDREN WERE GOING BACK FOR MORE, MORE, MORE…… *happy mom*! Thanks so much for this recipe!

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