The Larder TM_TL_CABGE_FI_001

No More Boiled Cabbage

How to do justice to your St. Paddy's greens


With March 17th just around the corner, it’s time to start planning the St. Patrick’s Day menu. Tradition states that one eats corned beef, boiled potatoes and steamed cabbage on this greenest of holidays and most years, my household has followed suit. It’s a meal towards which I look forward each year, as I’ve found that there’s really no way to go wrong with tender beef and soft, floury potatoes (particularly when they’re served with a dab of grainy mustard).

It’s not until you get to the cabbage that I find myself balking in the face of tradition. I don’t think it does it justice to the cabbage to boil or steam it into submission. The end result develops a palid, near-grey complexion and ends up tasting horribly bland and watery. There are better, more delicious ways to tackle cabbage and make it fit into the framework of your St. Paddy’s celebration.

If you’re one who prefers your cabbage to have a little crunch and crispness, oven roasting in the name of the game. My favorite way to do it is to slice a sturdy, dense cabbage into rounds, lightly coat the slices in a little oil and then roast them until the outer edges wrinkle and brown from the high heat. This method leaves you with cabbage that is tender and creamy towards the middle of each round, and pleasingly textural around the edges. Stack a couple slices on a dinner plate and then heap your corned beef and potatoes in the middle.

For something a little more melting, try braising cabbage in a bit of butter. I like to melt some finely minced onion into the pan before adding the cabbage, for an extra hit of savory flavor. The cabbage squares cook slowly in the nutty butter and a splash of white wine (chicken stock or butter can be used if wine isn’t your thing), until they are translucent. Though it seems most fitting in mid-March, I happily serve this dish all year round, sometimes tossed with cooked egg noodles like my Polish neighbors used to do.

Once St. Patrick’s Day is past and all the corned beef leftovers have been eaten up, opt for some crunchy, raw cabbage to clear the head (and arteries). This Southwestern-style slaw is good with tacos or tossed with some shredded chicken as a one-bowl meal. I make it with red cabbage because I like the punch of color, but a sturdy green cabbage offers equal amounts of edible satisfaction.

What’s your favorite cabbage preparation?

Roasted Cabbage Rounds


  • 1 medium cabbage (about two pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 450°F.

Rinse outside of cabbage and trim the end of the core (but do not remove). Slice cabbage into round approximately 1 inch thick.

Pour olive oil on to a rimmed baking sheet and spread to coat. Place cabbage rounds on baking sheet and scoot them around, in order to lightly coat them with oil. Flip each cabbage round, and repeat the scooting, so that each slice is lightly coated with oil on both sides.

Sprinkle salt and pepper across the cabbage rounds. Place the baking sheet in the over on the top rack. Roast slices for 10-15 minutes, until the edges being to darken and curl and the cores are tender when poked with a fork.

Serves 4-6.

Butter Braised Cabbage


  • 1 small cabbage
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • ¼ cup white wine or chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Remove any limp outer leaves from cabbage. Cut cabbage in half, remove core, and cut cabbage into squares of 1½ to 2 inches in size. Set aside.

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet that has a fitted lid, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When it begins to smell nutty and foam, add minced onions. Reduce heat to medium and simmer the onions until they begin to dissolve into the butter.

Add cabbage squares and stir so that cabbage is coated in the butter and onion mixture. Add liquid, place lid on the pan and reduce the heat to low.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes, until the cabbage loses its vibrant color and begins to look translucent. When eaten, the cabbage should be silky and without any crunch.

Once the cabbage has achieved the correct state of doneness, season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust spice levels as necessary.

Serves 4-6.

Red Cabbage Carrot Slaw


  • 1 small red cabbage, finely shredded (about 8 cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, grated (about 1½ cups)
  • ½ bunch of cilantro, minced
  • 4-5 green onions, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1½ teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, cilantro and green onions.

Combine olive oil, lime juice, cumin, salt, and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well to combine and then pour over the vegetables.

Using tongs, stir the vegetables to disperse the dressing and to integrate the different components. Let slaw sit for at least half an hour before serving, so that the flavors marry and the cabbage softens a big.

Serves 4-6.

Marisa McClellan is a food blogger, freelance writer and canning teacher based in Center City Philadelphia. She runs a website called Food in Jars, where she writes about canning, preserving and delicious things made from scratch. She regularly writes for the Food Network, USA Today, Grid Philly and Mrs. Wages. Her first cookbook, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, is now available.


  1. Sweet! I grew up in a household where everything was boiled in a pot large enough to bathe in, and we were forced to eat the dreaded mush that reeked of sulfur and collected in a heap on the bottom. Now that I’m a college kid (still to young to drink!) I can celebrate with actually good cabbage… Thank you!

  2. I like my cabbage stir fried, so you could almost take your slaw recipe and stir fry that. It would make an nice alternative.

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