The One Cabbage Recipe That Will Feed You All Week

February 14, 2016

Marcella Hazan's rice and smothered cabbage soup is not a weeknight meal.

Once you've turned diced onion a deep golden-brown on the stovetop, you'll add a heap of finely shredded cabbage, 1 tablespoon of wine vinegar, salt, and pepper, and then cover the pan and leave it to cook for longer than seems reasonable: 1 1/2 hours (and that's the minimum).

See the recipe through to completion on Sunday, by adding broth and rice, and you'll have a perfectly enjoyable soup for the rest of the week.

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But stop the smothered cabbage in its nascent state, and you won't have to eat soup every night: You can use that tender, caramelized tangle as the jumping off point for many different weeknight meals.

Stop it right there! Photo by Mark Weinberg

Over the weekend, make a double or triple batch (no matter what, it won't set you back more than $10) of the smothered cabbage.

As it cooks on the stove, set yourself up for the week by making:

  • A pot of chickpeas, white beans, gigante beans, or lima beans
  • A big pot of brown rice or another grain of your choice (like farro or freekeh)
  • Vegetable stock (if you're looking to clean out vegetable scraps in your freezer and finish that block of Parmesan anyway)
  • Tart or pie dough (or buy puff pastry from the store)
  • A baking sheet's worth of roasted cauliflower or carrots

And stock up on the following ingredients for your weeknight cooking:

  • Arborio rice
  • Tofu or tempeh
  • Eggs
  • Oil-packed tuna
  • Dark leafy greens, like lacinato kale
  • Hard cheese, like Gruyère
  • Pasta
  • Onions, lemons, and garlic

And now, how to put it all together:

  1. With your beans and leafy greens, make a version of Heidi Swanson's Pan-Fried Giant White Beans and Kale. Add the cabbage when you add the greens so that it warms through.
  2. Pan-fry tofu or tempeh, then add the cabbage, and douse in a mixture of your favorite stir-fry ingredients (Sriracha, soy sauce, sesame oil, black garlic).
  3. Grain salad, the obvious choice. Mix together your cooked grains, flaked oil-packed tuna, smothered cabbage, roasted vegetables, small cubes of the hard cheese, and any knobs and nuggets you can find in your fridge and pantry: chopped nuts, dried fruit, herbs... Top with a soft-boiled egg.
  4. Use leftover cooked grains in fried rice-style sauté. Crisp them in a hot wok or sauté pan, then mix in scrambled eggs and your smothered cabbage.
  5. Turn your Arborio rice and vegetable stock into a basic risotto, then stir in the cabbage at the end.
  6. You're set up to make a much, much simpler version of Weeknight Pasta with Caramelized Cabbage. While the pasta boils, warm the cabbage on the stove. Then turn it into a sauce by adding some of the pasta water and mix it together with the pasta.
  7. Making a savory galette is just a matter of rolling and folding when you've already got the crust and the filling made. Sprinkle your dough with grated Gruyère before (and after) you add the smothered cabbage. If you picked up puff pastry, making a savory tart is even easier.
  8. Your smothered cabbage can become veggie burgers—seriously. Add an egg for binding, plenty of breadcrumbs, and any lingering cooked grains or beans. Then bake or pan-fry.
  9. And now that you're finally in the mood for soup, add warm vegetable broth. Leave it as is, or purée for something more slurpable.

How many pounds is the largest cabbage you've ever held? Tell us about your mammoth cabbage in the comments below.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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How long would you cook this in a slow cooker and at what temp?
thelastmike April 6, 2016
The acid will keep the cabbage from softening while it cooks which is why the cooking time is so long probably. Leave the vinegar out until the end and the cabbage will cook to a nice texture in much, much, much less time.
Alayna M. February 21, 2016
where is the recipe confusing to mix info with recipe
Sarah J. February 21, 2016
Hi Alayna, You can click on the first image to get to the smothered cabbage recipe.
Heidi R. February 21, 2016
I actually discovered Hazan's recipe for Smothered Cabbage about a month ago -- and have been making it regularly every week!

I have to say, as someone who collects cookbooks and cooking magazines, I usually used Hazan's "Essentials" for classically Italian dishes, like pasta. However, I am quite enjoying her vegetables and salad recipes; like this cabbage recipe, they usually take advantage of ingredients one already has in the pantry, they're very economical, and most important, they are de-LISH!
Emilye February 15, 2016
Thanks so much for this. I have been searching for ways to streamline dinner preparation and this is very helpful. I love how the meal suggestions are nutritious and based on a big pot of vegetables. Would definitely appreciate more articles like these (including lunch ideas).
Cathy N. February 15, 2016
Can you list these ideas in a way that we can print them out and attach to the smothered cabbage receipe? I would love to have them together.
Sarah J. February 16, 2016
Hi Cathy, You can print this page from their browser toolbar (or try copying and pasting into a document), but unfortunately printer-friendly article pages are a tech limitation we have for now. Sorry about that!
Betty J. February 14, 2016
We live in a farming county. Last week end as we were returning from bird watching we saw a windrow of cabbages which had obviously just fallen off a truck hauling freshly harvested cabbages. Whoo wee- we gathered up 7 and served one to friends that night--then sent our friends home with cabbages too! A great find--the last cabbage is cooking as the "Suspiciously delicious Cabbage" as I type!
anotherfoodieblogger February 14, 2016
Well I never weighed it but I brought home a cabbage the size of a basketball once!
Mike M. February 14, 2016
Next week, how to repaint the walls in the bathroom because the paint was ripped off because you ate cabbage for a week.
Sarah J. February 14, 2016
We actually already have that post:
Mike M. February 17, 2016
Foodie, writer and a humorist. You have a single sister? Thanks for the laugh!