Braised Cabbage & Onions Recipe

Cabbage & Onions. Photo © Molly Watson
    45 min
Ratings (4)

Thinly slicing and slowly cooking the cabbage and onions bring out their essential sweet nature, and makes a mellow, warming side dish for cold weather roasts (including, I must admit, a nice twist to take the place of plain cabbage alongside corned beef). It's a fun thing to serve with sausages, or offer at a cook-out, as a cooked, slightly sweet substitute for sauerkraut.

It's also a nice item to have with a vegetarian dinner of beans, rice or quinoa, and a crispy green salad.

What You'll Need

  • 1 head cabbage, green cabbage or Savoy cabbage are both excellent choices
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 tablespoons oil or butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste

How to Make It

  1. Remove and discard and wilting, browned, or damaged leaves from the outside of the cabbage. Quarter the cabbage, then cut out and discard the core.
  2. Slice the cabbage as thinly as possible and set it aside. (You can use a food processor or kitchen mandoline to do this, if you like, but a sharp knife does the job just fine.)
  3. Halve, peel, and slice the onions. They should also be sliced as thinly as possible.
  1. Heat a large pot or deep saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil or butter.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the onions, sprinkle them with the salt, and cook until the onions soften and wilt, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the cabbage and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are extremely tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Uncover and stir occasionally—every 5 minutes or so—and add a tablespoon or two of water to keep the vegetables from sticking, if necessary.
  5. The low and slow cooking will start to caramelize the onions, so the mixture will take on a slightly browned appearance, even if they don't brown against the pan. That's what's going to bring out the sweetness in these otherwise sharp vegetables, so don't try and rush it!
  6. Salt to taste before serving. Freshly ground black pepper is pretty tasty on this, too, although you may want to let diners add that themselves.

Variations:

  • Add a clove or two of peeled and thinly sliced garlic along with the onions for a hit of garlic pungency
  • Pump up the flavor with a teaspoon of caraway seeds, cumin seeds, or fenugreek seeks (or a combination thereof) to the oil, cover and let the seeds "pop" before adding the onions
  • Use leeks instead of onions for an even sweeter end result
  • Include another vegetable with the cabbage: thinly sliced fennel is a good choice, as are thinly sliced or grated carrots to parsnips