One of the most dog-eared cookbooks on my shelf is Molly Stevens’s All About Braising, and my favorite recipe in it is for the “World’s Best Braised Green Cabbage.” It transforms a humble cabbage into a tender, savory, vegetable showstopper!
Braising cabbage—cooking it in some fat and a bit of liquid in a closed cooking vessel until it’s meltingly tender—is a magical example of how patience pays off.
My adapted Whole30-friendly version of this braised cabbage recipe is a mainstay in my arsenal of vegetable sides for good reason: it transforms a lowly vegetable into a dish worth oohing and aahing over.
Yes, it takes 2½ hours from start to finish, but the total prep time is only 10 to 15 minutes. Plus, this braised cabbage side dish makes your house smell irresistibly yummy.
- Cabbage: The best cabbage to use for this dish is an inexpensive green cabbage. Try to get one that’s about 2 pounds—any larger and the wedges won’t fit in a standard 9 x 11-inch casserole pan. No green cabbage? Savoy and red cabbage also work great in this dish.
- Red onion: Thick slices of red onion add a touch of color and sweetness to this dish. If you don’t have red onions, you can use yellow or white onions or shallots. Don’t slice the onions too thinly or they may burn.
- Carrots: Carrots pair perfectly with the cabbage and onion. Besides, everyone has a couple of carrots languishing in the crisper that need to be cooked up before they get too bendy. Don’t have any or hate carrots? Just leave them out!
- Broth: Even though this recipe calls for only ¼ cup of broth, the quality of broth you use is important because it infuses the whole dish. I like to use homemade chicken bone broth or a high quality store-bought broth (Roli Roti Butcher’s Bone Broth is one of my faves). If you want to make this dish vegan, use a great vegetable broth.
- Fat: Don’t skimp on the fat in this dish—it’s one of the reasons it tastes so dang good. I normally use a high quality extra virgin olive oil, but melted ghee, lard, duck fat, or coconut oil also taste delicious.
- Seasoning: Nothing fancy—just salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper (for an optional fiery kick).
- Acid: Splashing on a drizzle of aged balsamic acid right before serving this dish helps to perk up this comforting dish. Other acid options include sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
You can definitely cook this dish ahead of time, store it in the fridge, and reheat it just before serving it. Here’s how: braise the cabbage for 2 hours in the oven and then take it out before the final step (in which the cabbage gets browned, uncovered, at a higher heat). At this point, you can keep the braised cabbage in the fridge for up to 4 days. When you’re ready to serve the dish, pop it in a hot oven to brown the top and add the balsamic acid right before you eat it.
What Do You Serve With This?
This braised cabbage dish tastes great with anything meaty! Some ideas include: Instant Pot Beef Stew, Instant Pot Magic Pork, Ollie’s Cracklin’ Chicken, and the Perfect Steak. I also love to eat leftover cabbage with a couple of crispy fried eggs for breakfast.
How to Make World’s Best Braised Green Cabbage!
Heat oven to 325°F / 163°C with the rack in the middle. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish or casserole pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted fat.
Lop off the tough stem end of the cabbage and divide it into 6 to 8 wedges, keeping the core attached.
Place the cabbage pieces in a single layer in the greased dish – a little overlap is okay.
Toss on the onions and carrots and drizzle with broth and the melted fat.
Season well with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper (if using).
Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven.
Braise the cabbage undisturbed for 1 hour. Crack open the foil cover and carefully flip the wedges over.
Reseal the dish tightly and braise in the oven for another hour or until fork-tender.
At this point, you can remove the cabbage to cool and store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it (up to 4 days).
If you’re eating it right away or whenever you’re ready to serve it, crank the oven up to 425°F / 218 °C and bake until browned (about 15 minutes).
Drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar and serve!
[Originally posted on October 20, 2010. Updated with new information and photos on March 18, 2021.]
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013) and Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017)!
PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD
World's Best Braised Cabbage
For greasing the baking dish
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil melted lard, duck fat, ghee, or coconut oil
For the cabbage dish
- 1 medium green cabbage about 2 pounds
- 1 large red onion or yellow onion, peeled and thickly sliced
- 2 large carrots peeled and cut in ¼-inch coins
- ¼ cup bone broth or vegetable broth
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil melted lard, duck fat, ghee, or coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
- 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
- Heat oven to 325°F / 163°C with the rack in the middle. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with the olive oil or melted fat.
- Lop off the tough stem end of the cabbage and divide it into 6-8 wedges. Keep the core attached so the wedges stay intact after the long cooking time. Don’t worry: The tough core will get super tender, too.
- Place the cabbage pieces in a single layer in the greased dish – a little overlap is okay. Toss on the onion and carrots and drizzle with broth and the olive oil. Season well with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper (if using).
- Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven.
- Cook the cabbage undisturbed for 1 hour. Crack open the foil cover and carefully flip the wedges over. Reseal the dish tightly and braise for another hour or until fork-tender.
- At this point, you can remove the cabbage to cool and store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it (up to 4 days). When you’re ready to serve, crank the oven up to 425°F / 218°C and bake until browned (about 15 minutes).
- Drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar and serve.