I realize that Sautéed Cabbage isn’t the sort of recipe that’s known to elicit romantic gushing, but this 20-minute side dish is love at first bite.
Tender and caramelized with obsessively tasty brown bits, you’ll be twirling this cabbage on your fork, nibbling it right out of the pan, and wondering when it was that you became the sort of person who is this enthusiastic about a vegetable.
Prior to making Sautéed Cabbage, I would describe my overall attitude towards cabbage at large as, “hmmm…is that the thing that’s in coleslaw?”
OH MY. I have been missing out.
Like these Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts (which are a relative of the cabbage, go figure!), raw cabbage is fairly ho-hum and usually serves as a vehicle for greater goods (ahem, dressing).
Sautéed Cabbage changes all of that. Add a bit of olive oil, butter, heat, and a surprise final ingredient, and the cabbage is transformed into something I would serve to the best of company.
If you don’t think you like cabbage, if you consider it bland, and even (perhaps, especially) if you don’t consider it at all, give this Sautéed Cabbage recipe a try. It’s going to surprise and delight you in the most wonderful of ways!
How to Make Sautéed Cabbage
This recipe has FOUR ingredients, along with salt and pepper. Don’t question it. It’s a textbook case of simple ingredients that yield superior results.
- Cabbage. 1 small head weighs about 2 ½ pounds and will yield just the right amount for four to six people, depending upon how much everyone loves vegetables. I used green cabbage, but you can use this same recipe to make sautéed red cabbage if you prefer.
- Olive Oil. The sautéed-anything workhorse.
- Butter. I like to use butter AND olive oil in this Sautéed Cabbage recipe. The olive oil can stand up to the heat, and the butter provides great flavor. One tablespoon of each is all you need for the whole head of cabbage! If you’d like to make the Sautéed Cabbage Paleo, you can use ghee. To make it dairy-free, use entirely olive oil.
- Salt and Pepper. Season, season, season. Be sure to use kosher salt, which has a much more pleasant flavor than table salt.
And now, the secret ingredient…
- Apple Cider Vinegar. Cabbage craves acid. Just ½ tablespoon will completely transform this sautéed cabbage and bring it to life. For fun, taste it before and after.
One of my favorite parts about cooking is learning about how simple changes—like adding vinegar to sautéed cabbage—can transform a dish from something good enough to something truly special. That is the case here!
An Easy, Healthy Side
Start to finish, this Sautéed Cabbage takes 15 minutes, and much of the cooking is fairly hands-free.
- To prepare the cabbage for frying, cut it in half from its top down through its core. Place the cut-side down on your cutting board, then slice it as thinly as possible around the core so that you have fine ribbons. Discard the core.
- Add the butter and olive oil to a fairly large, deep sauté pan.
- As soon as the butter melts, add the cabbage. The cabbage will take up a lot of room and barely fit at first, but it will cook down fairly quickly.
- To saute, stir the cabbage every now and then, but don’t obsess over it. You want the cabbage to turn golden brown and get a little caramelized and crispy. That magic happens while the cabbage is sitting undisturbed (a.k.a. while you are relaxing, sipping a glass of wine, and/or prepping the rest of the meal).
As soon as the cabbage is tender and browned like the photos, it’s ready to serve!
This healthy Sautéed Cabbage is low in calories (just 77 per serving!). It also offers tons of vitamin C and fiber. Plus, it’s rich in antioxidants, which may help reduce inflammation.
What to Serve with Sautéed Cabbage
Sautéed Cabbage goes with a variety of dishes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Pork. Sautéed Cabbage and pork are a perfect match! Try it with these Crock Pot Pork Chops.
- Chicken. A favorite for quick weeknight meals. Sautéed Cabbage would be great served with Lemon Butter Chicken, Grilled Chicken Kabobs, French Onion Chicken, Sheet Pan Italian Chicken, or Baked Chicken Parmesan.
- Other Vegetables. For an easy Meatless Monday, serve Sautéed Cabbage with these Grilled Cauliflower Steaks.
- Sandwiches. Prepare an easy and healthy lunch by serving this dish with a hearty sandwich. This Steak Sandwich, Teriyaki Burger, Avocado Burger, or Italian Turkey Burger are great options.
Recipe Spins + Other Favorite Easy Vegetable Side Dishes
- Sautéed Cabbage and Onions. Add 1 thinly sliced yellow onion to the pan with the cabbage.
- Sautéed Cabbage with Bacon. Add 6 strips of uncooked bacon to your pan before adding the cabbage. Once the bacon is almost crispy (about 3 minutes), add the cabbage, and sauté according to the recipe directions. If you love bacon and veggies, you’ll adore these Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts.
- Sautéed Zucchini. Another quick and always delicious addition to your repertoire.
- Roasted Zucchini. EVERYONE loves this recipe (must be the Parmesan on top).
- Sautéed Cabbage and Carrots. Different and delicious.
- Fried Cabbage. A similar take to sautéed cabbage, but pan fried.
- Roasted Frozen Broccoli. EASY and so tasty!
Dearest cabbage, I’ll never overlook you again.
- Cut the cabbage in half from its top down through its core. Place the cut-side down on your cutting board, then slice it as thinly as possible around the core so that you have fine ribbons. Discard the core.
- Heat a large saute pan or similar heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter. Once the butter is melted, add the cabbage, salt, and pepper. Saute for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender and begins to brown. Don't feel like you need to constantly stir it. Leaving cabbage undisturbed for a minute or two as you go is what will allow it to develop brown caramelized bits (aka FLAVOR).
- Remove from the heat and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Taste and add a bit of additional salt and pepper if you like, or a splash more vinegar if you'd like to add more zippy and acidic flavors. Sprinkle with thyme. Serve warm.
- TO STORE: Store Sautéed Cabbage in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- TO REHEAT: Place Sautéed Cabbage in a microwave-safe bowl or on a plate and reheat gently until warm. You can perk your leftovers up by adding another sprinkle of salt and a splash of apple cider vinegar after reheating.
- TO FREEZE: Sautéed Cabbage can be frozen if placed in a freezer-safe container. The texture of the cabbage may change slightly while frozen, but will still taste delicious when thawed.
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