Melted Cabbage

published Sep 27, 2023
Melted Cabbage Recipe

Cabbage wedges are seared, then baked until the leaves become meltingly tender and caramelized just enough around the edges.

Serves4 to 6

Prep10 minutes

Cook1 hour 20 minutes

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Melted cabbage in skillet.
Credit: Kelli Foster

Whether you already adore cabbage or if you’re still on the fence about it, get ready to swoon because you’re going to absolutely love this recipe. Meet: melted cabbage, the ultra-cozy side dish you’ll be making on repeat throughout the fall and winter.

The leaves are silky, meltingly tender, and caramelized just enough around the edges for a crisp bite. The cabbage takes on a deep savory flavor with a little bit of sweetness that comes from the jammy red onions, a bright pop of acidity from the pan sauce the cabbage cooks in, and a hint of woodsy herbs. 

You’ll want to reserve this cabbage recipe for a weekend or a day when you have some extra time on your hands. It’s not a quick number you can rush to pull together on a hurried weeknight. There’s some upfront prep and hands-on stovetop cooking before the cabbage slides into the oven for a good hour.

Key Ingredients Needed for Melted Cabbage

  • Cabbage. Take your pick between a medium head (about 2 pounds) of green or red cabbage. This cabbage variety has hearty leaves that are perfect for this recipe. Skip Savoy or Napa cabbage, as both have more tender leaves that aren’t suited to this dish.
  • Red onion. This allium is a natural partner to cabbage. The strands of onion get jammy in the bottom of the pan and add sweetness to the dish.
  • Caraway seeds. These work so well with cabbage, and add an aromatic nutty, bittersweet flavor with a hint of licorice.
  • White wine or apple cider vinegar. You’ll use one of these liquids to deglaze the pan. Both work great and add a wonderful flavor. It’s worth noting you’ll get a slightly tangier cooking liquid using vinegar.
  • Chicken or vegetable broth. Both options work well, so use whichever one you prefer (or already have open).
  • Whole grain mustard. A spoonful gets stirred into the cooking liquid for a little bit of tang.
  • Fresh thyme. A few fresh sprigs are added to the cooking liquid before the skillet goes into the oven, and a hint of the flavor is infused into the cabbage.
  • Bay leaves. Similar to the thyme, a couple of bay leaves are added to the cooking liquid, and their subtle aroma is infused into the cabbage and cooking liquid. 
Credit: Kelli Foster

How to Serve Melted Cabbage

There are no wrong ways to serve melted cabbage — it goes with just about everything. I personally love serving this with roast chicken, juicy pork chops, and steak, or even as a side to round out soup or chili. And it’s a delicious way to dress up a rotisserie chicken. 

You can also take it beyond a side dish and serve it as the star of a grain bowl. Use quinoa or farro as the base, then top it with a couple of wedges of melted cabbage, chickpeas or lentils, roasted vegetables, and a drizzle of tahini sauce. And, if you happen to have any leftovers, they’re great added to a stir-fry or soup, or tossed with pasta.

Melted Cabbage Recipe

Cabbage wedges are seared, then baked until the leaves become meltingly tender and caramelized just enough around the edges.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    medium green or red cabbage (about 2 pounds)

  • 1/2

    medium red onion

  • 3 cloves

    garlic

  • 1/2 cup

    olive oil, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    caraway seeds, divided

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup

    dry white wine or apple cider vinegar

  • 1 cup

    low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1 tablespoon

    whole grain Dijon mustard

  • 4 sprigs

    fresh thyme

  • 2

    bay leaves

Instructions

  1. Arrange the rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350℉.

  2. Cut 1 (2-pound) green or purple cabbage in half through the core. Cut each half into 4 wedges, keeping the core intact. Thinly slice 1/2 medium red onion (about 1 1/4 cup). Mince 3 garlic cloves.

  3. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large cast iron or other oven-safe skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Tilt the skillet so the bottom is completely coated with oil. Add half of the cabbage in a single layer cut-side down. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the caraway seeds, 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper. Sear until deep golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the wedges with tongs and sear until the second side is browned, about 3 minutes more.

  4. Transfer the cabbage to a cutting board or large plate. Add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and repeat with the remaining cabbage, seasoning with the same amount of caraway, salt and pepper. Transfer to the same cutting board or plate.

  5. Reduce the heat to medium. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in the now-empty skillet (no need to wipe out). Add the onion and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  6. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine or apple cider vinegar and cook until reduced by about half, 1 to 2 minutes.

  7. Remove the pan from the heat. Add 1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard, 4 fresh thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir to combine. Return the cabbage to the skillet, overlapping them as needed to fit all the wedges in.

  8. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Flip the cabbage wedges. Continue roasting until the cabbage is very soft and caramelized around the edges, and the liquid is mostly absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes more.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.