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A Weeknight Vegetarian Stew, Courtesy of Your Spice Drawer

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Every so often, we scour the site for cool recipes from our community that we then test, photograph, and feature. This richly spiced stew comes from Food52-er Sarah | Wisconsin from Scratch, and it's ready to join your weeknight meal rotation.


Sometimes you have a head of cabbage and you need to turn it into dinner. Sometimes you feel uninspired. Sometimes cabbages do not inspire. That's alright—Indian Spiced Cabbage is here.

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I approached this recipe hoping it would help me turn a lingering bunch of green cabbage into something (at least relatively) exciting. I got so much more than I bargained for. This simple dish makes smart use of your spice drawer, it's vegan but not ascetic, and, despite its bare-bones ingredients, it tastes complex and intriguing. Best of all, it's a delicious way to transform a green cabbage and a few potatoes into a vegetable-forward weeknight meal that will not only satisfy, but works double duty for next day lunches.

Dinner, brought to you by spices.
Dinner, brought to you by spices. Photo by Julia Gartland

The backbone of this dish is really its arsenal of spices: from mustard and cumin seeds to turmeric and coriander. They're toasted in oil for a few minutes to give them time to release their aromatic oils, perfuming the cabbage and transforming it from ho-hum to something addictive and very winter-appropriate. Just a splash of apple cider vinegar wakes everything up, and as it cooks, the cabbage slumps, sweetens, and tames itself into a tangled mess of barely-crunchy cruciferous ribbons.

The addition of potatoes fills out the dish, making it perfectly suitable to eat as a meal on its own. Sarah recommends topping the finished product with fresh cilantro, but I suggest also adding a dollop of plain yogurt, swirling it into your bowl to add creaminess and tang. Of course, if you want to keep it vegan, the dish works perfectly well without it, too.

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Indian Spiced Cabbage

Bc16c9cc bccd 4e91 bada 0ebbded31660  pic Sarah | Wisconsin from Scratch
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Serves 4, generously
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 small yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/4" pieces
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • fresh cilantro for serving
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What's your favorite wintry warming spice in your arsenal? Chili powder? Cumin? Share in the comments!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Vegan, Indian, Vegetarian, Cabbage, Stew