A Weeknight Vegetarian Stew, Courtesy of Your Spice Drawer

January 24, 2018

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.

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. 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.

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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.

What's your favorite wintry warming spice in your arsenal? Chili powder? Cumin? Share in the comments!

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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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