For Heartier Chicken Noodle Soup, Throw In Some Cabbage

Person holding box of cabbage
Person holding box of cabbage - Michael Blann/Getty Images

Soup, in all its forms, is a comforting, satiating, and downright delicious meal -- as classic as it is customizable. And one of the most quintessential varieties to embody this soul-soothing spirit is chicken noodle soup. Although this brothy, cold-weather favorite is typically made from a straightforward lineup of shredded chicken, egg noodles, carrots, celery, and herbs, there are plenty of clever ways to jazz up a traditional batch. Enter the unsung hero of the leafy greens family: cabbage.

Cabbage, a cruciferous vegetable cultivated from the wild mustard plant (which also sprouts other greens like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale), is a high-volume, low-calorie veggie that excels at keeping you full and satisfied between meals. Although it's commonly used in coleslaw and sauerkraut recipes, introducing cabbage to your favorite chicken noodle soup is an easy way to give it a wholesome, rib-sticking boost of heartiness.

Not only does adding cabbage to chicken noodle soup impart a fortifying stoutness, but it also adds even more nourishment to the dish. Cabbage is a nutrient-dense food that is rich in antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals, so not only will you finish your soup feeling full, but you'll also likely enjoy a heightened sense of well-being and nutritional satisfaction.

Read more: 12 Vegetables And Fruits That Used To Look Very Different

The Best Cabbage Varieties For Chicken Noodle Soup

Green and red cabbage
Green and red cabbage - GSDesign/Shutterstock

Before you add some to your next batch of chicken noodle soup, consider the differences between the various cabbage cultivars. Green cabbage, the most common variety, has a smooth and tightly packed head that offers a mild sharpness with a nuanced hint of sweetness once it's been cooked. Green cabbage is a perfect choice as it becomes tender while still retaining a delicate crunch, providing a gentle textural contrast to the velvety soft noodles.

Red cabbage, which takes a bit longer to mature than its green counterpoint, boasts a uniquely peppery taste and a slightly firmer bite. Although it's still a solid option for incorporating into a chicken noodle soup dish, its vibrant color, which can be used as a natural dye, will change the hue of your soup from an earthy yellow to a blueish-purple. Savoy cabbage has crinkled, curly, and tender leaves that boast a markedly sweeter taste than green and red cabbage. It works well in soups that benefit from a mild cabbage flavor and a touch of elegance thanks to its visually appealing texture. Napa cabbage is a greenish-white cabbage cultivar that's mild in flavor and frequently used in Asian soups, which makes it another great choice for including in the chicken noodle variety.

Really though, all of these cabbages can be used interchangeably. So, the choice depends on the particular subtleties you want to bring into your chicken noodle soup.

Enhancing Cabbage-Infused Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup with cabbage, broccoli, and green onions
Chicken noodle soup with cabbage, broccoli, and green onions - Wita Design/Shutterstock

Now that you're ready to chop and simmer some cabbage for your chicken noodle soup, you might consider some other exciting ways to enhance this cruciferous-kissed dish. Elevate your soup's flavor profile by introducing a medley of fresh herbs. Consider adding a handful of chopped dill, parsley, or cilantro just before serving as the herbal notes will pair gracefully with the cabbage, culminating in a garden-fresh flavor profile.

Infuse the soup with a burst of brightness by squeezing in a touch of citrus juice. A splash of lemon or lime not only adds a zesty kick but also complements the cabbage's savory sweetness for a soup that's equal parts invigorating and earthy. Lemon pepper chicken noodle soup, anyone?

For an extra hit of heartiness, try adding a dash of cream to the soup, which will give the broth a thicker texture and coat the cabbage in a jacket of velvety richness. If you don't want to use dairy cream, opt for coconut cream -- its sweet and nutty flavor can amplify the mild sweetness of the cabbage.

Next time you're craving chicken noodle soup, throw in some cabbage. Your tastebuds will thank you.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.