Irish White Bean and Cabbage Stew

I created this recipe from basic ingredients (cabbage, potatoes, carrots) and seasonings (parsley, thyme, rosemary) that can be found in the simple, hearty dishes of Irish home cooking. With barley and white beans, too, it’s a healthy, filling meal all on its own. Check out our roundup of vegan St. Patrick's Day recipe ideas for more inspiration.

By Susan Voisin,


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ head cabbage, chopped
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 to 1-½ pounds potatoes, cut in large dice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1⁄3 cup pearled barley (optional or substitute with gluten-free grain)
  • 6-8 cups vegetable broth or low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 cups cooked great northern beans (2 cans, drained)
  • 1 14 ½-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • salt to taste


  • Crock Pot: Place the vegetables, seasonings, and barley into a large (at least 5 quart) slow cooker. Add enough vegetable broth to just cover the vegetables (start with 6 cups and add more as needed). Cover and cook on low heat for 7 hours.  Add beans, tomatoes, parsley, and salt to taste. Check seasonings and add more herbs if necessary. Cover and cook for another hour.
  • Stovetop: Place vegetables, seasonings, barley, and broth into a large stockpot. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, parsley, and salt to taste. Check seasonings and add more herbs if necessary. Simmer uncovered for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Comments (59)

(5 from 29 votes)

Recipe Rating

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


I served it for dinner to a bunch of guests and everybody commented that it was lackluster and really needed some thing. We all ended up pouring salt on it in hopes it would be salvageable. I love potatoes and cabbage and beans and carrots, so I had high hopes, but this managed to kill all of it. Now I need to figure out what I can do to the leftovers since we ate hardly any of it. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t taste good.


Very easy and delish! My new go to for St. Patrick’s Day!


Can I freeze this soup

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hi Charlotte Yes you can. Be sure to freeze in the portion size you want to reheat it in!

Bev Nocon

This is a keeper! Delicious!


Winter staple! Everyone in my family loves this soup. It is so good, it is hearty, yet light. I make a big batch and freeze in portions. Perfect for a quick mid-week supper.


This was a hit. I did double the spices, except for the caraway, and used fire roasted tomatoes, other than that I made it as presented. I would add this into the winter rotation.


Delicious!! It was ready in the Instapot in under 15 min (not including prep time). Everyone loved it.


excellent recipe to try for these cold days.

Laura Bazerman

I'm allergic to tomatoes. Does it lose much if I keep the tomatoes out and just add more broth and other vegetables?


Ok to use purple cabbage? That’s what I have right now.


Exactly what I wanted for a week of lunches in this chilly early spring.

Sharon Nicolo

Need a hearty soup for my cold. This looks like it will do

Susan Wright

I put in mushrooms and greens too its so good


this is amazing! makes a very large amount and its chock full of veggies. I didn't have thyme, rosemary or caraway seeds but instead put in garlic and onion powder. A winner recipe that I highly recommend!


I posted a question below about the directions and I've thought of a possible answer. I was/am confused about "add the remaining ingredients", when (to me) all ingredients have already been added in the first step. Do we divide the vegetables into 2 categories, those already cooked (canned beans and tomatoes) and those needing cooking? When the recipe refers to "add the remaining ingredients" perhaps it means add the already cooked vegetables (beans and tomatoes)?


Hi! The stove top instructions are unclear. The crock pot instruction specifically list the "other ingredients " I can't wait to try this recipe!

Megan Edwards

Hi Linda, We've updated the instructions and the order of the ingredients so it’s easier to follow now. The “remaining ingredients” for the stovetop instructions referred to the beans, tomatoes, parsley, and salt, but we agree that it wasn’t very clear. Hope this helps! Let us know how it turns out.


I would say that both methods: crockpot or stovetop are saying to cook the vegetables barley broth and seasonings for the bulk of the time and then add the great northern beans, tomatoes, and parsley towards the end. PERSONALLY, I would say that that's not absolutely necessary. There's no reason at all that the tomatoes and parsley can't cook right along with the rest of the vegetables, IMHO. The only reason I can even think of WHY you would want to hold off on adding the Great Northern beans until towards the end would be this: they're already cooked, being CANNED, and since they are rather soft on the insides, the recipe creator thought they would tend to loose their pristine shape if they cooked longer, so she held off till towards the end. To ME flavor is where it's at...and EASE. So I would probably dump everything in at the start and be done with it...ESPECIALLY since I have other things to do besides watching a timer and hovering over pots. Hope that helps.


Thank you so much. This was very helpful in addition to doubling the spices. It turned out well.


The stovetop directions call for adding vegetables, seasonings, barley and broth together and cooking. Then the directions call for adding the remaining ingredients... What remaining ingredients? Just the parsley? Maybe I don't know the difference between "seasonings" and "herbs". Am I missing something? I, too, would like to know if the spice measurements are for dried. I am a novice cook; any help would be appreciated...

Megan Edwards

Hi there! Thanks for pointing this out, we've updated the instructions and the order of the ingredients so it's easier to follow. The "remaining ingredients" referred to the beans, tomatoes, parsley, and salt, but we agree that it wasn't very clear. We've also updated whether the spices are dried or fresh, so we hope this helps! Let us know how it turns out.

Suzanne Priolo

Can I make this in my Instapot?

Megan Edwards

Hi Suzanne, Yes you can use the slow cooker setting on your Instapot and follow the Slow Cooker instructions up above. Let us know how it goes!

Joyce A Stevens

Can this soup be frozen in one cup portions? Thanks!

Megan Edwards

Hi Joyce, Yes, this soup can be frozen in 1 cup portions in freezer bags or in freezer safe plastic/glass containers that have enough space to allow the soup to expand as it freezes. When you're ready to eat, place the portion in a pot on the stove to heat it up. Let us know how it goes!


Definitely a keeper. I make it every 3/17.

Patti Squire

This was VERY bland as written. I've added at least twice the amount of herbs, salt, and pepper and it's getting there. It's an awful lot of veggies & product to waste, so I'll keep doctoring until it's at least a bit tasty. Definitely won't be making this again.


We added some spicy salt to it and loved the flavor. So good!!

Mom of 3 Boys and a Lil Lass

Delicious! I omitted the garlic (due to an allergy), otherwise I followed the recipe exactly as written. We all thought the stew had an excellent flavor. The recipe made a lot, so we'll have plenty for at least one more dinner and maybe even a lunch. (2 adults and 2 kiddos), and I'll definitely be making this again this fall/winter.


Absolutely excellent receipe. The smell throughout the house is amazing! I've made this 4 times. Keeping the seasonings the same but add way more carrots and celery. I also chop a whole head of cabbage, double the garlic and use fire roasted tomatoes. I am a big crockpot user but this one I prefer stovetop. Serve with crusty French bread.

Andrea S.

I’ve made this recipe several times and shared it with all types of eaters— they loved it!! It’s hearty and flavorful. It’s a go to!!! Thanks

Kim McGarghan

I know this recipe is fat free however, I recommend sautéing the garlic and onions and carrots prior to putting them in the crockpot. I used a tiny bit of olive oil and of course kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Arlen Johnson

I use water for sautéing onions, carrots, celery, etc. Use just enough water to keep the veggies from sticking to the pan.


This was delicious! I will definitely make it again.

Patsy Keim

My whole family loved this stew. It had a perfect balance of seasoning.

Anne Braithwaite

My family and I enjoyed the warmth of this stew and I will definitely make it again. We served it with home made whole wheat bread for a hardy meal.


I am not a fan of the caraway seed. I think it is really unappealing.


This was delicious! I cooked this on the stovetop. Added sage, fennel, onion powder, chopped the caraway seeds, and used seet potatoes. Let it simmer for an hour. Then added the barley and tomatoes so the barley could soak up all the good flavors, that took another 30 minutes or so. Only used about 6 cups of broth. Probably used a little more seasonings than the recipe called for.


How many potatoes do you put in this?


This stew very satisfying and the ultimate comfort food. Even my resident carnivore commented about its delicious scent and asked for a helping. That's big!


Very good!!!


How should the recipe be adjusted if I want to use toasted quinoa instead of barley? Are the ingredients for dry spices? I use those instead of fresh.

Ray Maglalang

This is great food to celebrate st. patty's day


Are these dried seasonings? The amounts lead me to believe they are.


I wish I knew! I'm guessing it uses dried, but I'm curious about the parsley, as we bought fresh and want to know if I need to adjust the amount.


I’ve concluded it’s fresh parsley and the rest dried!! Parsley says chopped, is larger amount, and is added toward the end.


Needs a lot more seasoning, kind of bland, I would at least double the seasonings. Will not make again.


It’s perfect to me! We all have different tastes! Id rather taste the vegetables!


I've concluded it's fresh parsley and the rest dried!! Parsley says chopped, is larger amount, and is added toward the end.


Everyone loved it. I did not add the potatoes or tomatoes and I served it with shell pasta. Whole family loved it. It does make a lot, but you can eat a lot of it.


If you don't have a crock pot can you cook this over the stove in a pot can you it's looks real good I would love to try it very soon Mary


Instructions 2 are for stovetop. Large soup pot needed. Read again.


Very good and makes a big batch. Other than the barley I had everything on hand (I used wild rice), which was a bonus; no extra shopping required.


This makes a huge amount of soup. Definitely needs more flavor, tried salsa, but not a great addition. Will try greens next, but won’t make again.


Loved it but too much broth, maybe use 4 cups and add if you think it needs more.


A good basic recipe with lots of room to adjust the seasonings to your own taste. I used the stove top method, sauteing, the onion and celery in a bit of broth first, and I used ground caraway as I did not have caraway seed and it worked out fine. I also added more thyme and may experiment next time with adding a whole large tin of tomatoes (28 ounce is usually the size I have on hand). Definitely will make this again as it is a great recipe for all the wonderful fall veggies that are on sale now.


Delicious warm hug in a bowl! I have made this MANY times and always get requests for the recipe.

kj knaus

So delicious! This has become a go-to recipe for my family and friends- thank you!

About the Author

Headshot of Susan Voisin

About the Author

Susan Voisin

Susan Voisin is a food blogger and photographer who loves sharing her delicious low-fat recipes almost as much as she does eating them. Follow her cooking adventures on her popular blog, FatFree Vegan Kitchen, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
See More from this Author

Free Download

Free 5-day meal plan!

Get a taste for healthy, fuss-free meal planning with this free five-day meal plan from Forks Meal Planner!

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.

Placeholder image

Join our mailing list

Get free recipes and the latest info on living a happy, healthy plant-based lifestyle.

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.