Make Ahead

Suspiciously Delicious Cabbage

November  5, 2010
41 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

I cook a lot of cabbage during the winter months–there aren't too many other options for greens if you're trying hard to go with local produce! Most often I cook traditional recipes I learned from my mom, but you've got to switch it up sometimes. This was an experiment based very, very loosely off of a kale recipe I was intrigued by (though looking back at the kale recipe now, it's actually totally different, oh well). When we were eating it with dinner my husband exclaimed, "what did you put in this cabbage?! It's suspiciously delicious. Is it actually meat or something?" No meat involved though. The cream picks up the browned bits from browning the cabbage as though it were the base for a gravy. It also mellows out the spicy ginger so everything practically melts together. It makes a delicious cold weather side dish, and I bet it would also be lovely tossed with pasta. —fiveandspice

Test Kitchen Notes

"With a recipe title like this one, expectations are bound to be high. Happily, this cabbage is both refined and undeniably delicious–it's the kind of dish that inspires you to keep sneaking forkfuls long past the end of the meal. Fiveandspice has you caramelize the crisp cabbage strands in butter that's been infused with onion, garlic and the key ingredient, fresh ginger. When the cabbage is tender and flecked with tasty brown bits, you add some cream and simmer just long enough for the flavors to meld." –A&M

"In the United States, green cabbage averages at $0.62 per pound, so it’s almost too good to be true that it’s also versatile as heck. You can turn cabbage into soup. Or stuff it with beef and rice. Or pretend it’s pasta. Or you could sauté it.

Sure, this sounds like the humblest option of all, but what this recipe lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for in simplicity and deliciousness. In fact, it’s so simple and so delicious, some might say the whole thing sounds pretty suspicious.

That’s what husband of longtime Food52er Fiveandspice (known in the real world as Emily Vikre) said when he first tried this dish: 'What did you put in this cabbage?! It's suspiciously delicious. Is it actually meat or something?'

No meat. Just onion, garlic, fresh ginger, butter, and cream. You sauté the alliums first, then add the ginger, then the cabbage. These spend some quality time together for 15 to 20 minutes, only to be deglazed with a big pour of heavy cream, which, as Emily writes, 'picks up the browned bits from browning the cabbage as though it were the base for a gravy. It also mellows out the spicy ginger so everything practically melts together.'

It’s a very welcome side to just about any winter dinner—roast chicken, braised brisket, crispy bratwurst, pan-fried salmon, baked tofu, you name it. Emily’s even added in some leeks and tossed everything with hot pasta. 'It was very savory and rich!' she said.

Sounds like dinner to me." –Emma Laperruque

—The Editors

Watch This Recipe
Suspiciously Delicious Cabbage
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 medium green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon (heaping) grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a very large pan, heat the butter over medium heat until it is melted and starting to bubble a little. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.
  2. Stir in the ginger and cook for about a minute. Then, add in the cabbage, stirring well to coat it with the butter and other flavors. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes, until the cabbage has softened and caramelized.
  3. Turn the heat to low and stir in the cream making sure to scrape any browned bits up from the pan bottom. Cover and cook over low for about 10 minutes. Uncover, add salt and pepper to taste. Then cook for a few more minutes, stirring once or twice, to let some of the liquid evaporate. Adjust seasonings as desired and serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Christine Mc.
    Christine Mc.
  • McMonty
    McMonty
  • Gloria Britton
    Gloria Britton
  • Andrew Morgan
    Andrew Morgan
  • Alice Nani Scott
    Alice Nani Scott
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.

229 Reviews

VikingAndCakes April 10, 2021
This is so freaking delicious and my low go-to cabbage recipe. Even my S.O. who doesn’t like cabbage loves this one. I don’t always add the ginger and it’s still gorgeous. Thank you for this easy, yet impactful recipe.
 
msmess December 5, 2020
Delicious! Lovely way to use a cabbage--though unless you're serving it as a smaller side, I'd say it serves more like 2-4 hungry adults. After reading others' reviews, I upped the ginger quite a bit and used half and half instead of heavy cream. I also mixed in a can of garbanzo beans as the cabbage was finishing up for a bit more heft. Also like a few other reviewers, I noticed it was missing a bit of zip as I was finishing up, so I added a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and that really brought it together (I think it made the ginger sing a little more). I can't wait to try some of the variations others have mentioned here!
 
Miruna.P.Burk September 26, 2020
My family and I had high expectations for this dish and I followed the recipe exactly. It was good, but I think we were expecting a lot more based on the name, the reviews and the description. While tasty, it was not good enough that I will be making it again.
 
cookinalong September 20, 2020
I've made this so many times, I've lost count! It's wonderful as written, but when I found myself with cabbage in the fridge and no heavy cream, I discovered coconut milk (regular, not low fat!) also works perfectly and with a bit of curry powder or just some turmeric, it's wonderful in a whole new way! Also, double the ginger. You won't regret it!
 
Lara Y. June 1, 2020
We love this recipe. My tip is to use a Dutch oven for much easier stirring.
 
cookinalong September 20, 2020
Yes! Great idea and so much tidier. With even a big skillet, I found myself cleaning up cabbage threads all over the stove top & floor!
 
Christine M. May 15, 2020
I have made this recipe numerous times...it is just delicious! I do think the cook times are a bit longer than the recipe states (and I like my vegetables cooked less than most). You can't have too much ginger here. It is the most unimpressive dish to look at. But, it's so good!!!
 
Jude April 6, 2020
My new fav!! Thank you so much for this recipe. I have never cooked cabbage in my life until I saw the video of the Food52 chef making this dish!! I couldn't wait to try this recipe. This recipe is now in my top favs. Thank you fiveandspice!! The second time I made this I sliced Kale thinly and added it to the last several minutes of cooking. I also added a TB of honey, lemon juice/zest and used way less cream. I also sautéed the onion and garlic in fat from one piece of bacon mixed with some of that butter. I like to use a little bit of red pepper flakes as well. It's fun to experiment with different additions. Oh, I forgot to mention that I used a few splashes of dry white wine to the dish while sautéing.
 
Jude April 6, 2020
My new fav!! Thank you so much for this recipe. I have never cooked cabbage in my life until I saw the video of the Food52 chef making this dish!! I couldn't wait to try this recipe. This recipe is now in my top favs. Thank you fiveandspice!! The second time I made this I sliced Kale thinly and added it to the last several minutes of cooking. I also added a TB of honey, lemon juice/zest and used way less cream. I also sautéed the onion and garlic in fat from one piece of bacon mixed with some of that butter. I like to use a little bit of red pepper flakes as well. It's fun to experiment with different additions.
 
neighome March 22, 2020
I've found that I have to really crank the heat for quite a while to get caramelization. But it's worth it. Don't skimp on the ginger. I use 2 Tbls of heavy cream and then broth for the balance of liquid. Works well for me.
 
Andrea D. March 22, 2020
Well, this is just plain delicious. Even the normally cabbage-eschewing members of my family loved it. Start with butter, end with cream: you can’t really go wrong.
 
nancy S. March 21, 2020
Just made this tonight.....I'd give it an 8 out of 10. I used 1/4 of a cabbage, 1/2 white onion, 1 garlic clove and 1/2" piece of ginger. Next time I'd up the ginger and garlic. The timings were right....but at the end of it I'd say it lacked a bit of 'zing'.
 
halfdani February 29, 2020
Made this twice in the same week. The second time over, I added zest and juice from half a lemon. I personally liked it more the 2nd time, as I felt like the acidity made the dish more "fresh" tasting and took the richness from the cream down a notch.
However (!!), my 2 y.o. liked the original version better.
Either way, really liked this recipe.
 
McMonty February 17, 2020
This was the perfect accompaniment to Beef Stroganoff and my (Russian) dinner guests raved!!
 
Gloria B. February 14, 2020
Can this be made using purple cabbage?, thanks
 
neighome February 14, 2020
I've made it with purple cabbage. It tastes the same, but turns an unappetizing gray color.
 
Carina G. January 3, 2020
I halved the recipe and served it with egg noodles which was was delish but just a little too rich for me. next time I try it I will use coconut milk instead of the cream as other reviewers have mentioned
 
Andrew M. December 29, 2019
Ways to eat half a head of cabbage in a single sitting.

Absolutely brilliant as is. I’ve made a few variations as well — include nigella seeds, fenugreek, and cumin for something kinda like a cabbage korma.
Weird but fantastic: heat a waffle iron. Waffle some scrapple. Get it real crispy. Top with the cabbage. Add some crispy onions or nori snack or both. Add Okonomiyaki sauce or bulldog sauce. It’s based off the Lancaster Okonomiyaki from Ivan Ramen. It def needs crispy contrast to the soft-soft scrapple-cabbage, but the flavor. Yes.
 
McMonty February 17, 2020
Andrew! I think I love you!
 
alijohnsonrn August 31, 2019
Amazing cabbage! Almost tastes like a Cabbage Alfredo. Never any leftovers!
 
Alice N. June 25, 2019
Can this be frozen?
 
neighome June 23, 2019
Has anyone tried this cold or room temp?
 
Sixblade K. June 21, 2019
Dang good. Make sure you watch the video before making.