Make This: Ayesha Curry's Meatball and Cabbage Soup recipe

 This southwestern cabbage soup recipe with juicy turkey meatballs has enough spice to perk up any grey, wintery day.

Serves 4

Preparation time 20 minutes

Cooking time 1 hour

There’s no cold weather comfort food quite like a bowl of hot soup. Trust us, this southwestern version of cabbage soup has enough spice to perk up even the greyest wintery days. The meatballs are the key to the extra flavourful broth, plus they make this hearty soup filling enough to serve as a main course.



  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice (long-grain or jasmine)
  • ½ cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro


  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can tomato paste (about 6 oz)
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes, including liquid
  • ½ small head cabbage, cored and shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 4 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 2 cups water

For serving 

  • Grated monterey jack or cheddar cheese
  • Diced avocado
  • Lime wedges
  • Tortilla chips



  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with a nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. (Use your hands, people!) Form the mixture into about 36 golf ball–size balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Roast the meatballs until they are firm and just beginning to brown on top, about 20 minutes. It’s okay if they are not cooked through, as they will continue to cook in the soup later. (Heads up! When roasting, these meatballs sometimes form a layer of goo around them. Don’t worry — it’s just coagulated proteins.
  4. Once the meatballs are cool enough to touch, simply lift each one out of the pan and drain the excess oil on a paper towel.


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to soften but before it starts to brown, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, chili powder and oregano, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer.
  3. Season with the salt and a pinch of pepper.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste, cooking briefly until the paste begins to turn brick red. Pour in the ketchup and the canned tomatoes with their juice and bring to a brisk simmer. Cook over medium heat until the tomatoes have thickened a bit, about 5 minutes.
  5. To smooth out the soup, blend with an immersion blender on low for about 30 seconds to break up the tomatoes. Alternatively, crush the tomatoes with a spoon or potato masher as they cook.
  6. Add the cabbage, broth and water, and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs and simmer over medium-low heat until the meatballs are cooked through and tender, about 25 minutes. (This also gives the rice enough time to cook). The soup should be thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon but not as thick as a stew. If it’s too thick, stir in more water.
  7. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Top with grated cheese and diced avocado, and offer lime wedges and tortilla chips alongside. 

Excerpt from The Seasoned Life: Food, Family, Faith, and the Joy of Eating Well by Ayesha Curry (Little, Brown and Company, September 20, 2016)