4 Ways to Cook Cabbage: Surprisingly Delicious!

by Ella

Cabbage, a versatile cruciferous vegetable, has been a staple in cuisines around the world for centuries. Its mild flavor, affordability, and nutritional value make it a popular ingredient in a variety of dishes. Whether enjoyed raw in salads, sautéed as a side dish, or incorporated into hearty stews, mastering the art of cooking cabbage can elevate your culinary repertoire. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various cooking methods and techniques to transform humble cabbage into delectable and nutritious creations.

Selecting and Preparing Cabbage:

Understanding Cabbage Varieties: Different cabbage varieties, such as green, red, savoy, and Napa, offer distinct flavors and textures. Choose the variety that best suits your intended dish.


Choosing Fresh Cabbage: Opt for firm, dense heads of cabbage with crisp, vibrant leaves and minimal blemishes.


Preparing Cabbage: Remove any outer leaves that appear wilted or damaged. Rinse the cabbage under cold water and pat it dry before cooking.


See Also: Green Cabbage vs Purple Cabbage: Which Is Better For Health?


6 Common Cabbage Recipes

1. Utilizing Cabbage in Salads:

Classic Coleslaw: Create a creamy and tangy coleslaw by shredding cabbage and mixing it with mayonnaise, vinegar, and seasonings.

Asian-inspired Slaw: Combine shredded Napa cabbage, carrots, and bell peppers with a sesame-soy dressing for an umami-packed slaw.

2. Sautéed and Stir-Fried Cabbage:

Quick Sauté: Heat olive oil or butter in a pan, add sliced cabbage, and sauté until wilted and slightly caramelized. Season with salt, pepper, and optional herbs or spices.

Stir-Fried Cabbage: Create a savory stir-fry by combining thinly sliced cabbage with other vegetables, protein, and a flavorful stir-fry sauce.

3. Comforting Soups and Stews:

Hearty Cabbage Soup: Simmer cabbage, broth, and aromatics for a comforting soup. Add potatoes, carrots, and beans for a complete meal.

Cabbage Rolls: Roll ground meat or plant-based filling in cabbage leaves, bake them in a tomato sauce, and enjoy a hearty and flavorful dish.

4. Braised and Roasted Cabbage:

Braised Red Cabbage: Slow-cook red cabbage with apples, onions, and red wine for a sweet and tangy side dish that complements roasts and meats.

Roasted Cabbage Wedges: Season wedges of cabbage with olive oil, salt, and spices, then roast until caramelized and tender.

5. Fermented Creations: Homemade Sauerkraut:

Basic Sauerkraut: Shred cabbage, massage it with salt, and pack it into a jar. Allow it to ferment for a tangy and probiotic-rich condiment.

Flavor Variations: Enhance sauerkraut with spices, herbs, and other vegetables to create unique and flavorful combinations.

6. Stuffed Cabbage: A Culinary Adventure:

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves: Fill blanched cabbage leaves with a mixture of ground meat, rice, and seasonings. Bake in a tomato sauce for a hearty and satisfying dish.

Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage: Substitute the meat filling with a mixture of grains, legumes, and vegetables for a delicious plant-based alternative.

Cabbage Cooking Ways:

1. Sautéing

Sautéing cabbage involves quickly cooking it in a hot pan with a small amount of oil or butter. This technique preserves the vegetable’s crunchiness while enhancing its natural flavors. Here’s how to master the sautéing process:

Begin by washing and thinly slicing the cabbage. Remove the tough core before slicing for even cooking.

Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add a small amount of oil or butter. Allow it to heat until shimmering.

Add the sliced cabbage to the pan and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes, tossing frequently.

Season with salt, pepper, and any desired herbs or spices.

Sautéed cabbage works well as a side dish or as a base for a variety of main course options.

2. Roasting

Roasting cabbage is a transformative technique that brings out its natural sweetness and creates a delightful caramelization. The result is a tender yet slightly crispy texture with a rich flavor profile. To roast cabbage:

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Cut the cabbage into wedges or thick slices, leaving the core intact to hold the pieces together.

Drizzle olive oil over the cabbage and season with salt, pepper, and optional spices such as garlic powder or paprika.

Place the cabbage on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.

Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning the pieces halfway through, until the edges are golden brown and slightly crispy.

3. Steaming

Steaming cabbage is a gentle cooking method that preserves its nutrients and vibrant color. This technique is especially suitable for recipes that require tender cabbage leaves for wrapping or stuffing. Follow these steps to steam cabbage:

Prepare the cabbage by removing any damaged outer leaves and trimming the core.

Cut the cabbage into quarters or wedges.

Place a steamer basket in a pot filled with a few inches of water.

Arrange the cabbage pieces in the steamer basket and cover the pot with a lid.

Steam the cabbage for 5-7 minutes, or until it reaches the desired tenderness.

Steamed cabbage can be enjoyed on its own, drizzled with a light dressing, or used as a wrapper for fillings such as rice or ground meat.

4. Braising

Braising involves cooking cabbage low and slow in a flavorful liquid, resulting in a tender and succulent dish. This technique is particularly well-suited for dishes like cabbage rolls or hearty stews. To braise cabbage:

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add a small amount of oil.

Sauté onions, garlic, and any other aromatics until softened and fragrant.

Add the cabbage, chopped into bite-sized pieces, to the pot and stir to coat with the aromatics.

Pour in a liquid of your choice, such as broth, wine, or tomato sauce, until the cabbage is partially submerged.

Bring the liquid to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low.

Cover the pot and let the cabbage braise for 30-45 minutes, or until it is tender and flavorful.

How long does cabbage take to cook?

The cooking time for cabbage varies depending on the cooking method and the desired level of doneness. Here’s a general guide to how long cabbage takes to cook using different methods:

1. Boiling:

Cabbage Wedges or Quarters: Boil for about 8 to 12 minutes until the cabbage is tender but not overly soft. Thicker wedges may require a slightly longer cooking time.

Shredded or Chopped Cabbage: Boil for 4 to 6 minutes for a crisp-tender texture.

2. Steaming:

Cabbage Wedges or Quarters: Steam for about 10 to 15 minutes until the cabbage is tender when pierced with a fork.

Shredded or Chopped Cabbage: Steam for 5 to 8 minutes until it reaches the desired level of tenderness.

3. Sautéing or Stir-Frying:

Cabbage Slices or Shreds: Sauté or stir-fry for 5 to 7 minutes over medium-high heat until the cabbage is wilted and slightly caramelized.

4. Roasting:

Cabbage Wedges or Slices: Roast in a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for about 20 to 25 minutes until the edges are golden and crispy.

5. Braising:

Cabbage Wedges or Quarters: Braise in a flavorful liquid (such as broth or wine) for 20 to 30 minutes until the cabbage is tender and infused with the braising liquid’s flavors.

How to Store Cabbage

Properly storing cabbage is essential to maintain its freshness and prevent spoilage. Cabbage is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that can last for a relatively long time if stored correctly. Here’s how to store cabbage to ensure it stays crisp and flavorful:

1. Leave the Outer Leaves On: Keep the outer leaves of the cabbage intact. They act as a natural protective layer, helping to prevent moisture loss and maintain freshness.

2. Keep It Cool: Cabbage should be stored in a cool place with a stable temperature. Ideally, store it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. The temperature should be around 32°F to 40°F (0°C to 4°C).

3. Wrap in Plastic: Wrap the whole cabbage head tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. This helps create a barrier that prevents moisture from escaping and slows down the wilting process.

4. Use a Plastic Bag: If you don’t have plastic wrap, place the cabbage in a perforated plastic bag. You can create small holes in a regular plastic bag to allow some airflow, which helps prevent excess moisture buildup.

5. Store Upright: Store the cabbage with the stem-side down. This helps minimize moisture accumulation at the stem, which can lead to rotting.

6. Freezing Cabbage: Cabbage can also be frozen for long-term storage. First, blanch shredded or chopped cabbage in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then immediately plunge it into ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain well, pat dry, and pack it into airtight freezer bags. Frozen cabbage is best used in cooked dishes like soups and stews, as its texture may change after freezing.

See Also: How to Store Vegetables to Keep Them Fresh Longer: Expert Tips


Cabbage’s culinary versatility and nutritional benefits make it a fantastic addition to any kitchen. From crispy salads to hearty stews and fermented creations, mastering the art of cooking cabbage empowers you to explore a world of flavors and textures. By following these techniques and experimenting with various recipes, you’ll be able to create impressive and delicious cabbage dishes that are sure to delight your taste buds and nourish your body. Embrace the endless possibilities that cabbage offers and elevate your cooking skills to new heights.



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