Slow Cooker Spicy Ground Beef and Bean Soup with Cabbage and Spinach

This Slow Cooker Spicy Ground Beef and Bean Soup with Cabbage and Spinach can cook in the CrockPot while you’re at work! And this tasty soup is low-carb, gluten-free, dairy-free, and South Beach Diet friendly! Use the Recipes-by-Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.

Click here for more Slow Cooker / Pressure Cooker Recipes on my other site!

Here’s a new low-carb and Phase One soup recipe you can put in the slow cooker and let cook all day while you’re at work.  When you get home you’ll have to add the cabbage and spinach and cook for about another hour, but you can put your feet up and read the paper while the soup finishes.   And if chop the cabbage and spinach the night before, your work will be done when you get home from work!

I ate the soup with sour cream when I made it, so that’s how I took the photos, but when I took this to my family Christmas party quite a few people there liked it with Parmesan cheese.  I’m an equal opportunity soup garnisher, so take your choice on that.  I call this soup spicy because I threw in a good pinch of red pepper flakes when I added the vegetables at the end, but if you’re making it for kids you can always leave that out.  

Heat a little olive oil in a large heavy frying pan and brown the ground beef well.

I like to rinse the cooked ground beef with VERY HOT water to remove some of the fat, especially when it’s going to cook for a long time like this.

Also rinse the beans until no more foam appears.  (This is a tiny colander, but it’s only one can of beans.)

Chop up the celery and onion.  (If you’re going to cook it all day, do all this the night before and store in individual containers in the fridge.)

Put the ground beef, chopped onion, chopped celery, garlic, canned tomatoes and water you rinse the can with, beef stock, vegetable stock, kidney beans, dried parsley, and dried thyme into the slow cooker and cook about 4 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low.

After the soup had cooked that long, I tasted it and added a tiny bit of salt and some fresh ground black pepper.

I also added a generous pinch of dried red pepper, totally optional, but good.

Thinly slice and chop the cabbage and chop spinach into fairly thin pieces so they don’t take too long to cook.  (Or do this the night before if you’re cooking all day.)

Stir in the vegetables, turn to high if you were cooking on low, and let cook about 1 hour longer, or until the cabbage is cooked.

Then stir in 2-3 tablespoons of sherry vinegar (or use another vinegar if you don’t have that.)  Serve hot with sour cream or Parmesan cheese to add at the table.

Slow Cooker Recipe for Spicy Ground Beef and Bean Soup with Cabbage and Spinach
(Makes about 6-8 servings, but this freezes well.  Recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from a soup recipe in Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook.)

I used a 4.5 quart slow cooker for this recipe.

2-3 tsp. olive oil (depending on your pan)
1 lb. lean ground beef (use ground beef with less than 10% fat for South Beach Diet)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 tsp. crushed garlic (or more)
2 cans (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes with juice
(rinse each can of tomatoes with 1/2 can of water)
4 cups homemade beef stock (or use 2 cans beef broth and a little water)
1 can vegetable broth
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 T dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
2 cups very thinly sliced and chopped green cabbage
1 cup chopped spinach
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
2-3 T sherry vinegar (or use any mild vinegar that you like)
sour cream or grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)


Heat the olive oil in a large heavy frying pan and cook ground beef until it’s well-browned, breaking apart with the turner as you cook.  If desired, place the cooked ground beef in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with VERY HOT water to remove most of the fat. 

Chop the onion and celery and crush the garlic (or use crushed or pureed garlic from a jar.)  Rinse the kidney beans with cold water until no more foam appears.  

Put the ground beef, chopped onion, chopped celery, garlic, canned tomatoes and water you rinse the cans with, beef stock, vegetable broth, kidney beans, dried parsley, and dried thyme into the slow cooker and cook about 4 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low. Taste soup and add salt and fresh-ground black pepper as desired.  (I added a tiny bit of each.)

While soup cooks, thinly slice the cabbage and chop the spinach.  After soup has cooked 4 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low, add the cabbage and spinach, turn slow cooker to high if needed, and cook about 1 hour more, or until the cabbage is done.  Stir in the sherry vinegar (start with 2 T and taste to see if you want to add more.)  Serve hot, with sour cream or grated Parmesan cheese to add at the table.

(If making this to cook all day while you’re at work, I recommend you brown and rinse the ground beef, chop onions, chop celery, crush garlic, slice and chop cabbage, and chop the spinach the night before to make it easy to put the soup together in the morning.  Store these prepped ingredients in containers in the fridge, not in the slow cooker crock.)

This freezes well.  Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then heat in the microwave or in a small pan on the stove.
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South Beach Suggestions: 

If made with lean ground beef, this soup that’s loaded with low-glycemic ingredients would be great for any phase of the South Beach Diet.

More Phase One Soups You Might Like:
Ten Phase One Soups to Help You Get Through December from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Phase One Soup, Stew, Or Chili Recipes from Kalyn’s Kitchen

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36 comments on “Slow Cooker Spicy Ground Beef and Bean Soup with Cabbage and Spinach”

  1. Ahhhh, that's my kind of soup (especially with those red pepper flakes!). I'm on the lookout for soups that freeze well, as our Soup Swap approaches later this month, and this soup really appeals to me.

  2. Sounds like a nice hearty soup – I might try making this for our local seniors at our senior center. It's been so cold out already. If I make it stovetop, what's the minimum amount of time I need to cook it?

  3. Lydia, I thought of you when you I added those red pepper flakes. They really added a lot!

    Jeanette, it's just a guess but I'd say a little over an hour for the first part and then about 30 minutes more with the cabbage and spinach added.

  4. Can't wait to try this soup! So glad I found your blog. I'll be dropping by often!

  5. I was just having a twitter conversation with someone about how i need to slow cook more…and then you posted this! I take it as a sign.

  6. Thanks Kim!

    Joanne, that's one of my goals too.

  7. I remember my mother used to make hamburger soups all the time when we were growing up. It was hearty and filling. This sounds good!

  8. Can something else be used instead of the vinegar since vinegar and my body DO NOT get along well. This sounds so yummy and I'd like to try it out.

  9. Andrea, my mom did too, I bet that's why I like them so much!

    Baking mom, you could leave out the vinegar, or use a smaller amount of lemon juice.

  10. Hi, another good recipe – I have almost everything in the house – but is there a possibility to sub collard greens (canned) for spinach? What do you think?

    Another hint, did you ever cook with salsify?
    Its called winter asparagus in Germany.

  11. Hi Claudia,
    I haven't used canned collard greens but I bet they will work in this. I'd add the cabbage, cook 30 minutes and then add the collard greens since they are already cooked.

    I haven't used salsify. Will look for it around here; sounds interesting.

  12. Seriously, you are the best soup maker every. This look like another one to add to my list of favorites, right alongside your chickpea and tomato soup.

  13. Thanks Dara. I took some photos of the leftover Chickpea Soup and I'm going to feature it during the month of phase one recipes. (And just ate some of it for lunch!)

  14. This is a great soup for winter. I need to get out our crockpot more often.

  15. Maria, its definitely the time of year for it!

  16. I'm all for this soup, Kalyn! For so many years, I avoided cabbage and then finally actually had it in soup and raw and, of course, love it. So silly that I waited so long to discover that. Hubby who adores cole slaw still thinks he doesn't like cabbage otherwise. Hehe. This recipe might be a good one to convince him AND make me happy. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  17. Shirley, I hope this will win him over. So many good things can be made from cabbage!

  18. Looks Grrrrreat! Saved and will make this one next when I make soup. Thank you for sharing!

  19. Will be making this soon. I have tried to PIN it but the picture doesn't show. Do you know the problem? I'm sure there would be lots of repins if the picture showed.

  20. Pinterest must be having issues because I pinned it myself and there are also lots of other pins. Hope you enjoy it!

  21. Thanks for the spicy ground beef and bean soup recipe. It is great that you can just set it up in a Crockpot to cook while you work.

  22. I made a pot of this soup last Saturday. It was soooooo wonderful! I ate on it all week and was really impressed with how it kept me full! I just recently discovered your site on Pinterest and I've got to say…I am in LOVE! I am on a "DIY medifast" style diet and for those lean & green meals and soups I need inspiration. Your recipes are perfect!

  23. Sarah, glad to hear you are enjoying the recipes.

  24. Looks like a great recipe for new moms. A questions about quantities; when referring to "can" of stock and "can" of beans, what size can? Thanks!

  25. Chrissy, both the beef broth and beans are standard 14-15 oz. cans.

  26. This soup cooked in my slow cooker last night as I slept and I enjoyed it for dinner this evening ๐Ÿ™‚ Yumm!

  27. This is cooking in my crock pot right now and smells wonderful. I thought I had all the ingredants until I came to the tomatos and had to sub 1 can with rotel…I had already added the red peppers flakes too so it will pretty spicy.

    I think I will mix in some prcooked quinoa in my bowl befor I eat it for a filling dinner tonight….Thanks for the great recipes!!

  28. Thanks for this fantastic recipe Kalyn!

    This was devoured by 4 very hungry Australians last night! I'll be checking out your other recipes for sure!!!

  29. How fun to hear from someone in Australia. Glad you enjoyed the soup!

  30. I have to say, I absolutely LOVE this recipe. its hearty, delicious, & filling! I'm on a huge cabbage craze right now & this is perfect! its a favorite for my husband & I, especially when we're health nuts. mostly me trying to make him healthier. ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Alexis, so glad you're enjoying the soup!

  32. I'm so glad I found this site!! Your recipes are the best, especially this soup!

  33. Do you think it would be ok to throw cabbage & spinach in pot in the beginning so it's ready after work? That's generally why I use the crockpot. Don't want to wait an extra hour after I get home to eat.

  34. Cabbage might hold up to cooking all day on low, but I think the spinach would be completely dissolved into the soup. You might like it that way, I've never tried it. But I can't say for sure how it will work.

  35. I don't have beef broth, but I do have vegetable, do you think that would work?!

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