Sautéed cabbage is a simple yet surprisingly complex-tasting side dish. It’s all in the caramelization. Serve it with grilled salmon, roast chicken, pork roast–you name it.
I wish I had some way to make sure that the sleeper recipes in my book don’t get overlooked, maybe a scratch-and-sniff box or a pop-up page. This recipe would need both—it is just that good. — Elizabeth Heiskell
☞ Table of Contents
- 1 medium head (2 pounds) green cabbage*
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz) salted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Cut the cabbage into quarters. (Any time you are cutting something like a ball that rolls, always give it a flat side to keep your fingers safe.) Cut the core out of the cabbage and discard it. Slice the cabbage crosswise as thin as possible.
☞TESTER TIP: You can compost the core or save it for making soup stock.
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the butter and olive oil until the butter melts. Add the cabbage, salt, and pepper and sauté until the cabbage begins to brown, 10 to 20 minutes.
☞TESTER TIP: If there is too much cabbage to fit in your pot, cook the cabbage in batches.
- Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve immediately.
*Can I use this recipe to sauté other kinds of greens, too?You absolutely can—and should. The supporting ingredients and directions are perfectly suited to any other leafy greens in the brassica family, like kale, shredded Brussels sprouts, collard greens, Savoy cabbage, kohlrabi, and gai lan. Keep an eye on the caramelization process with any of them, the timing might change with different veggies.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Forlorn and forgotten, cabbage rarely gets noticed. It patiently waits for summer to be made into coleslaw or a healthy salad. Sadly, it's often overlooked as a wonderfully diverse, economical, and delicious vegetable-readily available and adaptable to so many regions, seasons, and dishes. This recipe for sautéed cabbage is a wonderful, simple, jumping-off spot for those whose familiarity is raw slaw or salad.
The prep is quite simple, seasonings are those on hand, and the finished dish, while delicious as is, could take on many incarnations; a blank canvas is always a good friend in the kitchen. This flavorful preparation could easily reflect different ethnicities, depending upon variations in seasonings. And for the pasta averse (carb watchers or gluten-free), cabbage is a great alternative to spaghetti squash or veggie noodles.
After enjoying this initial foray into cooked cabbage, use your culinary imagination and steer towards the Far East, Southwest, or Eastern Europe-all easily tweaked with your choice of oils, herbs, and spices! I served this with grilled salmon and roasted asparagus.
The simplicity of this sautéed cabbage is what makes it work so well, and lets the cabbage be the star. By slicing the cabbage thin, nearly a chiffonade, you get a good size and texture for the leaves to reach that lovely golden-brown coloring of the edges in short time (under 10 minutes in enameled cast-iron), and a pile of sliced cabbage becomes a soft and glistening tangle to pile onto the plate and serve alongside some potatoes or under some nicely browned sausages.
I used a light, not-too dense/heavy savoy cabbage, and it retained a ruffled texture even in the thin slices, and the pepper and butter were really compatible elements. If there had been any leftovers, it would have nicely gone into some colcannon potatoes the next day, but alas it was too delicious to last.
This would of course work with any beautiful green cabbage (looking at you, lovely cone head-shaped ones, for the next turn). Keep tossing it, and the edges will pick up color but you may want to lower the heat if the bottom of the pan is beginning to scorch.
Originally published June 17, 2021