If you’ve never tried Napa cabbage, you must give it a whirl in this soup. As the delicate cousin of the more pungent green cabbage that I steered clear of as a child, Napa cabbage (also called Chinese cabbage) plays very nicely with the broth, shrimp, and white beans. I first came to appreciate Chinese cabbage in soup form when I lived in northeast China, where a very simple soup made from frozen tofu and cabbage was served. Tofu can be substituted for the shrimp or the beans if you prefer, but I feel that the shrimp adds a touch that elevates this simple soup from common to elegant.
To take the soup in a Tuscan direction, add Italian herbs. Or for an Asian twist, slice up some fresh ginger and let it simmer a while. Whichever path you choose, a scrumptiously simple soup awaits. One of my daughters requests it on her birthday every year. And now that I know to use Napa cabbage, I will gladly it eat it any time.
Recipe for Shrimp, White Bean, and Cabbage Soup
- Chicken or vegetable broth
- Cooked white beans
- Napa cabbage, rinsed and chopped
- Shrimp, raw or cooked
- Green onions, chopped
- Fresh ginger slices or mixed dried Italian herbs
- Sea salt and/or black pepper to taste
- Heat desired amount of broth to a gentle boil and add white beans and cabbage. Season with ginger or Italian herbs. Simmer for 10 minutes or until cabbage wilts. Add green onions and shrimp. If you use raw shrimp, make sure that it simmers long enough to cook the shrimp, which should only take a few minutes. Season with sea salt and/or black pepper to taste.
- Simmer gently until ready to serve. Top each bowl with additional green onions if desired. Serve as a light meal with Pesto Olive Bread Twists or Dairy Free Naan Bread, or ladle soup into smaller bowls or cups for a beginning course before another entrée.