Rustic Cabbage, Chickpea and Wild Rice Soup
4.77 from 21 votes

Rustic Cabbage, Chickpea, and Wild Rice Soup

Yesterday, after two months of strangely temperate weather, Old Man Winter finally hit NYC. It is suddenly cold, very cold. Part of me feels as if I can breathe a sigh of relief–it was strange walking around in 70 degree weather on Christmas Eve, and it made me wonder if we’d all get our comeuppance in January–and part of me is totally unprepared. My favorite way of adjusting has been to dive into my favorite cozy foods, and this rustic cabbage, chickpea, and wild rice soup is now one of them. I made it on New Year’s Eve, and because it makes a whole eight portions, I’m still gratefully slurping up the leftovers.

Rustic Cabbage, Chickpea, and Wild Rice Soup

At first I was afraid that posting a cabbage soup soup in January might somehow be evocative of the famous cabbage soup diet, one of many ascetic food regimes that circulate at this time of year. But, in spite of its being undeniably healthy, there’s nothing sacrificial about this soup. It’s hearty, nourishing, and warming–really, the best kind of comfort food. Come in from the cold, warm up a bowl of your leftovers, serve them with a hunk of bread (and maybe a pat of Earth Balance or a drizzle of olive oil), and feel cared for.

Rustic Cabbage, Chickpea, and Wild Rice Soup

4.77 from 21 votes

Rustic Cabbage, Chickpea and Wild Rice Soup

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 8 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white or yellow onion chopped
  • 3 medium sized carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 medium sized stalks celery halved lengthwise and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed optional
  • 3 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound shredded cabbage half of a medium sized head of cabbage
  • 1 cup wild rice long-grain brown rice, or a blend (I use the Lundberg wild rice blend)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, along with a pinch of salt to get the onions sweating. Saute, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes, or until the onions are totally clear and soft. Add the garlic and the celery seed (if using) and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add the cabbage, rice, both kinds of paprika, salt, pepper, broth, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until the rice is completely cooked and tender.
  • With the soup still simmering, stir in the chickpeas and lemon juice. Turn off the heat and check the soup for seasoning. Add salt to taste, as well as a dash of red pepper flakes if you'd like a little heat. Serve.


Leftover soup will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Leftovers can be frozen for up to one month.

The soup demands a little prep work in the form of chopping and shredding the cabbage, but once that’s done, it’s really easy to make. The fact that it serves a crowd is a big added bonus. You can absolutely cut the recipe in half, but as always, I recommend making it all and having it around for five full days of easy lunches or dinners. It’s perfect with a big salad and some toast. You can also freeze your leftovers, which means great food in a hurry on a busy night.

And, since I just had a bowl of leftovers, it’s worth saying that the soup makes a great, warming dish for breakfast, too!

Rustic Cabbage, Chickpea, and Wild Rice Soup

I love the subtle heat and the hints of smokiness in the soup (I know I overuse smoked paprika in soups, but it’s so hard to stop when I love the results every time), and I also love all of the texture: chewy rice, tender veggies, and plump chickpeas. Each spoonful feels complete. Feel free to make the recipe your own by adjusting lemon, pepper, salt, and other seasonings, or by adding some fresh herbs to the pot. You could stir in some chopped greens, too.

I hope that this rustic, simple bowl will be as much of a favorite in your home this winter as it already is in mine. On Thursday, I have another flavorful meal that will serve you well on rushed weeknights (part of my quinoa parade this week). Stay tuned, and stay warm.


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Categories: Recipes, Soups
Method: One Pot, Stovetop
Ingredients: Cabbage, Chickpeas, Rice
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Meal Prep

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4.77 from 21 votes (11 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating

  1. A perfect recipe! I often have these ingredients on hand and it is a tasty, easy recipe that pleases the whole family! If is on regular rotation in our house. Love the paprika and lemon juice!

  2. Great recipe! I’ve made two varieties of it over the past few weeks 🙂 thank you

  3. 5 stars
    This soup is fabulous. It’s so hearty but not heavy. I love the way all of the flavors come together so perfectly. It always makes me feel so amazing after I’m done eating it. Even my husband begs me to make it. Thank you so much for your wonderful recipe.

  4. I’m seriously on the fence with this recipe. I really enjoyed the addition of lemon juice, it added a necessary zing to the soup. Although the ingredients are readily available and inexpensive, the soup itself was not something I would make again. The texture was a bit off. I followed the recipe exactly. Oh well, life goes on. Be vegan, be healthy, be kind! H

  5. Hello! Just wanted to let you know I’ve made this twice in a week. It is SO good! We host a weekly potluck and in the winter it’s always centered around two or three big pots of soup, and I made it this week and last. So many happy bellies. It makes wonderful leftovers too, and I find I can stretch them by adding a little more water or broth when I warm it back up, as some of it continues to be absorbed by the rice and veggies. I’m considering adding some mushrooms next time but it is really just perfect as is.

    • 5 stars
      I was the lucky recipient of my neighbors bounty of this soup. She did add mushrooms and it was a hit!

  6. This is a fantastic soup. I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand. I tend to get in flavor ruts and this totally busted me out of it! The lemon ant the end brightens it up.
    Delicious and warming for the, finally, chilly weather.

  7. I made this yesterday for the first time and it was a huge hit with myself, my husband, and my in-laws. I ended up using a mixture of half brown / half black for the rice. I also only used 8 cups of liquid so the mixture was thicker than a soup, but it turned out really tasty. Thanks for sharing your recipes!

  8. 5 stars
    I really like soups like this. So simple, yet full of flavor. It seems like adding some garam masala might work & I’d do that.

  9. 5 stars
    I made this hearty soup last night, and my husband and I loved it! I added some baby kale to the soup during the last simmering to add some extra nutrition and color. This is definitely a keeper!

    • I’m thrilled that you and your husband liked it so much, Sandra! The baby kale was probably an awesome addition.

  10. Oh, I’m so going to have to make this soon! I have nearly all the ingredients. What a wonderful soup for a cold month!

  11. 5 stars
    Made it (with a few adjustments to make it my own and satisfy my picky-eater of a husband), LOVE it, and would be happy to share your original version and my version with my blog readers. Thanks so much for this wonderful soup recipe.. my husband gives it two thumbs up! 🙂 🙂

  12. Sounds so good. I haven’t met a recipe with smoked paprika that I didn’t love, so keep adding it to everything! 🙂

  13. 5 stars
    I made this soup for dinner last night, and it is amazing. the paprika adds a depth of flavor that is wonderful. this one is going in my recipe folder for repeats. thanks for such a delicious soup recipe to add to my faves.

    • Totally thrilled you enjoyed it, Becky. Thanks for letting me know! I’m still savoring leftovers 🙂

  14. You said “Come in from the cold…and feel cared for” in your post. That is exactly how soup makes me feel. Especially soup made at home, with fresh ingredients and love. Warm foods make me feel whole and safe. This chickpea and rice soup looks just divine. I can’t wait to try it. Thank you for sharing.

  15. I am looking very much forward to trying this soup. The weather has been cold in Denmark for quite some while now so the soup is perfect 🙂

  16. This looks like such an easy yet filling dish! I love soup so much but it never seems to fill me up enough when I’ve got a busy day at uni – will definitely be giving this a go.

  17. gena, you had me in fits at the infamous cabbage soup diet! i was once acquainted with an office full of resolution bound women that were determined that it would change their lives. i’m sure you can guess the outcome. on a much healthier hand – this soup is gorgeous and full of flavors that i crave to keep me warm come shocking temperatures. happy new year to you! xo

  18. This soup looks great Gena–so nourishing–and very pretty too! Plus it’s the kind of soup that just gets better with “age.” I love wild rice, but I’m also thinking it might be wonderful with barley. The liquid ratio would have to be adjusted some, but I think it could work. Thank you!! xo

  19. The cold has hit the South too! It was 75 degrees on Christmas Day, and even though it felt great, I was worried that the awesome sweaters I received as gifts wouldn’t get much love this year. But now we’re officially in sweater weather season. It was 27 degrees when I woke up and not much warmer now. The cabbage soup sounds like the best way to warm the soul.

  20. I love everything about this soup… it’s getting to ridiculously freezing temperatures here in the next few days, so this will be on the list to make for sure!

  21. I’m looking forward to trying this soup. I have all the ingredients – that in and of itself is a small miracle. It looks delicious!