Smokey Sausage and Cabbage Soup

The fall equinox was officially yesterday, which means we can all start exclusively eating soup, casseroles, and occasional slices of pie, right? 

Many years ago, I asked my mom the classic question: "What food would you eat if you could only eat one thing?" 

"Soup," she said. You, like me, might be thinking, Hey! That's not fair! Soup is more than one thing. Her loophole in the system seemed like a cheap answer at the time, but it only took a few minutes before I decided it was, perhaps, the best answer. Especially considering the number of times her soups had the entire kitchen table begging for a the recipe. (She rarely gave it up: "Oh this? It's just everything we had in the fridge.")

Adopting her love of soup was quick and easy. Adopting her nonchalant soup attitude was not. How could I pretend my soup "just happened" when everyone knows I was likely spinning some sort of soup web of a recipe in the back of my head all day? Despite putting some planning into these cozy bowls, the recipe is incredibly simple. A handful of cheap ingredients, a swirl of smokey hungarian paprika, a dash of salt, and the deal is done. 

One thing my mom always (always) had in the fridge was Kielbasa. And while I do not remember ever just eating kielbasa, I do remember always finding smokey chunks of European sausage in my soups. Between the paprika broth and the smoked sausage chunks, this soup has a unique flavor that makes it seem like an age-old recipe handed down from some great-great-grandmother who would spend all day working on dinner. (Don't worry, it doesn't take all day to make this dinner. I made the soup pictured here one hour before class, snapped the pictures, and jumped in the car with a tupperware full). 

If you're a fan of paprikash, you know exactly what flavor I'm talking about. This is like paprikash in a soupy form, with sausage, stewn potatoes, and cabbage. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's okay--you'll figure it out when this soup fills your bowl and you start to feel like you've been transported back to some little kitchen in Eastern Europe. 

Let soup season in: I'm ready hungry!

Smokey Sausage and Cabbage Soup

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Simple and comforting.

Serves: 4   |    Total Time:


  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 12 oz pork kielbasa
  • 1/2 head cabbage
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1/2 pound frozen cauliflower florets (optional -- using an additional sweet potato instead is fine too)
  • 7 cups bone broth
  • 2 teaspoons salt

    Optional: For the Cabbage Chips:
  • 10 cabbage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare the cabbage chips: Carefully tear the outermost leaves from the cabbage head, with out tearing them (some tears are OK- just aim for larger pieces). Use a knife to cut the thicker stem portion from each leaf. You want to cut out the parts that are thicker (and will therefor cook slower) than the rest of the leaf. Place the remain leaf pieces in a bowl, drizzle with avocado oil, and use your fingers to gentle work the oil around the bowl until it covers each leaf (they shouldn't be soaked, just lightly coated). Place the leaves in a single, flat layer on a baking sheet and place in the oven. For 15-20 minutes, or until the leaves become crisp, golden chips. Sprinkle cooked chips with salt. Set aside to cool.
  2. While the chips cook, prepare the soup. Heat the coconut oil in the bottom of a large soup pot over medium heat. Mince the garlic, and dice the onion. Once the coconut oil is hot, add the onion and garlic to the pot. Sauté them until soft and the onions are translucent. Tip: Adding a dash of salt at this point will draw water out of the onions and shorten their cooking time (optional).
  3. Slice the kielbasa into 1/4-inch rounds or half-circles. Add them to the pot, stirring briefly. While the sausage browns, dice the sweet potatoes and cabbage.
  4. Deglaze the pan: Pour a cup of broth into the pot, and use a wooden spoon with a flat edge to scrape the bottom of the pot (releasing the good sauté flavors into your soup). Stir in the paprika.
  5. Add the chopped potatoes, cabbage, and cauliflower florets to the pot. Pour in the remaining broth and salt. Cover pot and bring to a simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.