On rainy days, I often want comfort food—something to warm my belly and my soul! This very easy cabbage soup recipe is something my mother would make for me on days just like this. Her version has a ham hock, but you can use kielbasa instead, or go no-meat, the way I did.
For the soup: Heat the olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent (not browned), about 8 minutes. Add salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to your desired preference. Then stir in the fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes and vegetable stock and bring the entire mixture to a boil.
Once boiling, stir in the cabbage and beans and keep it simmering, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Add more stock or water if you prefer more liquid and taste and season with more salt and pepper, if necessary. When finished, sprinkle over and stir in the parsley for color and flavor.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with crostini or garlic bread, if desired.
For the crostini: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the bread slices on a baking sheet. Brush the tops with olive oil. You can also smear minced garlic over the top, if desired.
Bake until crunchy and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Take the crostini out of the oven, drizzle the tops with olive oil and sprinkle sea salt over the top.