Suspiciously Delicious Cabbage

November 5, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

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. - fiveandspicefiveandspice

Food52 Review: 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&MThe Editors

Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 40 min


  • 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


  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.

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Reviews (196) Questions (3)

196 Reviews

Cheryl March 21, 2019
Delicious! Rich! Cooks down a lot! I made it vegan by using Earth Balance "butter" and cashew-based creme fraiche. Would use a really large head of cabbage next time and even more ginger. Thank you!
ellemmdee March 17, 2019
I’m very much looking forward to making this tomorrow. I’d really appreciate if Food 52 recipe writers used more precise measurements instead of “medium.” Maybe because I bake a lot and use a scale, I find this frustrating. Ounces, pounds, cups, etc. work so much better and reduce waste or unsatisfactory results. Thanks.
Ontariobnd March 17, 2019
Hi there - I made this the other night for the umpteenth time, and I used about 8 cups of thinly sliced cabbage. I cooked it down a fair while until there were some caramelized bits and then added the cream from the top of a can of coconut milk. I have used heavy cream before as well, and they work interchangeably in my opinion. Good luck & enjoy!
Gal March 17, 2019
Hi ellemmdee,
I both cook and I bake. Precise measurements are important in baking but not in cooking. Baking tends to be more restrictive and precise, because ratios matter, you need to weigh your ingredients the same way every time to get the same results, and once something goes into the oven, you can’t fiddle with it.
Precise measurements (I, too weight things when I bake) make a huge difference in the quality of baked goods. I want my chocolate chip cookies to come out the same way every time. That only happens with precise measurements.

Cooking however, allows more leeway. You can taste a soup or a sauce, add a bit more salt or a shot of lemon juice, or a touch of extra virgin olive oil to adjust the flavors. If your medium cabbage is 1 pound and my medium cabbage is 1 pound and 32 ounces it will not make a difference in the final result. Same for the medium onion. :-)
Nancy M. March 15, 2019
This is very good and I will make it again. However, I do not believe it is possible to caramelize any watery vegetable like cabbage in the amount of time specified in this recipe. I cooked the cabbage for at least 45 minutes and it was beginning to brown so I decided to proceed because it was getting late and I wanted to go to bed. Next time I will plan on at least an hour so maybe it will actually caramelize. This is an issue with recipes involving caramelized onions as well. I am happy to spend the necessary time. Just tell me up front.
Linda M. March 10, 2019
Wowee!!! My husband & I really loved this dish with corned beef I hsd already made. Liked it much better than just boiling cabbage!! Will be a new go-to recipe for us.
Gal March 10, 2019
You are correct. With a recipe title like this one, expectations are bound to be high. I see this recipe was posted in 2010 so I'm not sure how it happened that only now I discovered it.
I decided to give it a try immediately then. For those cooking for themselves for the first time, or for anyone who wants the weekly budget to go a bit further without sacrificing flavor, this recipe fits the bill.
Since I'm now trying to incorporate healthy ingredients into my cooking and diet–
1) Instead of using butter, I used 2 tablespoons of 'Earth Balance' vegan buttery sticks. It worked well.
2) I added 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric (Which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant) after stirring in the ginger.
3) I skipped the heavy cream (Heavy cream is brimming with fat!) and instead I used one cup (6 oz / 170g) of goat milk yogurt.

With these minor tweaks it came out easy, delicious and healthy.
Peter S. March 9, 2019
How many calories? I love it. My husband made it with slices of hot sausage and yum!
Danna F. January 21, 2019
I made this on a Friday night with salmon. Then on Sunday I sauteed mushrooms and added broth to make into a cream of cabbage soup. Great tasting both times.
allison October 30, 2018
Darling husband said " I don't really like cabbage, but I like that". Will defiantly make again!
allison October 31, 2018
"I'd never thought I would have leftover cabbage for lunch" said my husband. Proof this recipe is a keeper.
Sarah P. August 31, 2018
We added a bit of Cajun seasoning, cinnamon and red pepper flakes but otherwise followed the recipe. Both my extremely cabbage-dubious boyfriend and I agreed this was excellentand that we will definitely be making this again - maybe even for guests at Thanksgiving!
a292 April 29, 2018
Made this tonight and it was amazing! Subbed the cream for full fat yogurt, added a heaping tablespoon of black pepper and about a teaspoon of garlic powder on top of the specified garlic, and served with a balsamic red wine reduction on ratatouille. The reduction complimented the ginger peppery flavor really well. Thanks!
watercupcake March 21, 2018
I love this recipe! Been making it for about 5 years now. I always make i around St. Patricks day when I have leftover corned beef to dice and add or when I have leftover ham. The spiced meats go so well with the seasoned cabbage. A big favorite in this household.
Fran M. March 13, 2017
I love this. The women I have shared this with love it, the men not so much. I don't understand. I think it's fabulous.
lisa March 8, 2017
Good. Far from "suspiciously delicious."
Idalu March 1, 2017
I love this dish but was wondering if it freezes well. Anyone out there has ever tried.
Ontariobnd February 15, 2017
I served this cabbage dish topped with the chicken from "Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken and Cabbage" and it was so insanely delicious together I want to make it for dinner again tomorrow night!!!
cookinalong February 1, 2017
I've commented before about this, but it deserves another. After nearly 3 yrs. of putting this on the table, the raves just keep on coming. Now with grandkids old enough for table food, the fan base grows by the year! I usually use coconut milk because I'm more likely to have it on hand than heavy cream, but both are out of this world! It's made a cabbage lover out of one of my DILs, and that was no mean feat! Kudos!
Elyse M. December 12, 2016
Just mde this with half cup whole yogurt in lieu of cream, and a squirt of Dijon. Delicious!
Mel October 30, 2016
I am of eastern European background and grew up on cabbage although it was primarily in the form of my father's homemade coleslaw of my mother's go-to cabbage rolls drenched in amazing sauerkraut. Stumbled across this recipe to make something a little unique for a fall-like cookout. Other than purchasing ginger in paste form and pre-shredded cabbage, all other ingredients and method of cooking was exactly as detailed. During the cooking phase, the smell was amazing and the taste of the end product exceeded my expectations. I was impressed at how simple the recipe was in terms of number of ingredients and timing. A wonderful recipe, very hearty and delicious. Thank you for sharing it.
tamater S. October 13, 2017
This caught my eye - Your "mother's go-to cabbage rolls drenched in amazing sauerkraut." Sounds really intriguing... have you shared it here yet?
Big P. October 18, 2017
elegy P. April 16, 2016
This is easily one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. Thank you for this amazing recipe, can't wait to use it to trick my boyfriend into eating cabbage
candace April 1, 2016
Surprisingly hearty and delicious. I don't always love ginger outside of Asian fare, but it's so subtle. I didn't have cream so I subbed a couple tablespoons of greek yogurt. Yum!
candace December 12, 2016
Update: I have since tried this with cream and I MUCH prefer the yogurt route :) Just my two cents.