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4 Dishes that prove cabbage can be a showstopping ingredient

Cabbage is generally available all year long, and it’s healthy, relatively inexpensive and lasts nicely in the refrigerator. Here are some more delicious reasons cabbage is a good thing.

Whether it’s chopped, shredded, rolled or even hollowed out and used as a bowl, cabbage is so versatile and can be used in all kinds of recipes. It’s a staple in my fridge so that it’s available whenever I need it to whip up something on the fly. I like to steam the leaves to use for roll-ups and then serve them cut in half like a summer roll.

Reuben cabbage roll-ups

Take these Reuben cabbage roll-ups, for example. They’re filled with all the ingredients of a Reuben sandwich, except for the bread, of course.

Reuben cabbage roll-ups on plate

The hardest part about these roll-ups is finding the sliced corned beef in the deli section at the grocery store. If corned beef isn’t available, sliced pastrami would work well too. Either Russian or Thousand Island dressing tastes wonderful with these Reuben cabbage roll-ups.

Corned beef cabbage roll-ups

Reuben cabbage roll-ups recipe

A super-easy snack, appetizer or light meal made with steamed cabbage leaves and filled with all the ingredients of a Reuben sandwich except for the bread. These roll-ups, filled with sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut, are served chilled or at room temperature and can be made ahead of time.

Serves 4

Prep time: 25 minutes | Cook time: 5 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes


  • 4 large, whole, green cabbage leaves
  • Water, for steaming the cabbage
  • 12 large, thin slices deli corned beef (or pastrami)
  • 3 slices Swiss cheese, rolled and thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons sauerkraut
  • 4 tablespoons Russian dressing (or Thousand Island dressing)


  1. Fill a large pot about 1/3 full with water, and add a steamer to the pot, if available.
  2. Bring the pot of water to a boil, and put the cabbage leaves in it to steam them.
  3. Let the cabbage steam until the leaves start to turn translucent (about 5 minutes or less).
  4. Remove the cabbage leaves from the pot, and lay them on a plate.
  5. On each leaf, lay out 3 large slices of corned beef from the left to the right end of the leaf.
  6. In the middle of the corned beef, add the cheese.
  7. Add the sauerkraut on top of the cheese.
  8. Drizzle Russian or Thousand Island dressing on top of the sauerkraut.
  9. Fold the left and the right sides of the cabbage toward the inside about 1-1/2 inches.
  10. Starting from the side of the cabbage closest to you, roll it into a cabbage roll.
  11. Cut in half, and put a long toothpick through the fold of the cabbage roll widthwise, through to the other side.
  12. Serve each half-roll sitting on a plate with the fold side down and the cut side up.
  13. Drizzle additional dressing on top, if desired.
  14. Serve right away.

Adobo jalapeno slaw

Another great way to use cabbage is raw in a slaw (that has a ring to it). I can remember times in years past when, due to the weather, the price of lettuce soared. So I would use green cabbage instead for my salads, which actually worked out great. Here’s a delicious slaw recipe that is made with adobo sauce, which gives it a wonderful smoky flavor.

Adobo jalapeno slaw in bowl

But the adobo sauce is really hot (to my taste buds, at least), so the amount used is just enough to give this a nice, smoky flavor. Feel free to add more if you like it spicy hot. For good measure, this yummy slaw also has jalapeño in it.

Adobo slaw and jalapeno

Adobo and jalapeño coleslaw recipe

A quick and easy side dish with a wonderful hot and spicy smoky flavor from adobo sauce and jalapeños.

Serves 3

Total time: 10 minutes


  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from an 11-ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 dashes salt
  • 3 dashes ground black pepper
  • 2 green onions, chopped (including the green tops)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for the slaw
  • 1/2 teaspoon diced jalapeño, seeds removed
  • 1 sprig cilantro, for garnish


  1. To a large bowl, add the adobo sauce, sugar, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Whisk together.
  2. Add the cabbage, green onion, chopped cilantro and jalapeño.
  3. Stir together so that the cabbage is coated with the adobo mixture.
  4. Serve right away, and top with a sprig of cilantro for garnish.

Shrimp and cabbage fried rice

Yum, fried rice. Double-yum, cabbage fried rice. Triple-yum, shrimp and cabbage fried rice.

Shrimp and cabbage fried rice on plate

The cabbage adds a nice texture and taste to fried rice and makes for a super-quick and easy meal. Leftovers warm up great too.

Shrimp and cabbage veggie fried rice

Chopped cabbage and barbecue shrimp fried rice recipe

A simple and wonderful one-skillet fried rice meal made with cabbage and topped with shrimp cooked in a light barbecue sauce.

Serves 2

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes


  • 3 cups white rice, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
  • 2 cups chopped green cabbage
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails on
  • 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce


  1. Heat a large skillet or wok on medium heat. Add the canola oil.
  2. Add the rice and onion. Continuously stir.
  3. Add the soy sauce, and continue to stir for about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the cabbage, garlic and the peas and carrots. Stir.
  5. Continue to cook and stir.
  6. Move the ingredients to the outside edges of the pan to make an empty space in the middle of the pan.
  7. Add the egg to the middle of the pan, and stir just the egg as it cooks.
  8. Once the egg is cooked, stir together all the ingredients in the pan.
  9. Remove the fried rice from the pan, and place it on a large plate or in a bowl.
  10. Put the pan back on the heat, and add the shrimp and the barbecue sauce.
  11. Stir together so that the shrimp are coated with the barbecue sauce.
  12. Continue to stir until the shrimp are fully cooked (about 4 minutes).
  13. Serve the shrimp on top of the rice.

Cabbage and wheat pasta veggie stir-fry

I have to admit that this is one of my all-time favorite go-to meals that’s made with cabbage. I just use regular old green cabbage, a few veggies and whole-wheat spaghetti, which works well with this dish.

Wheat pasta and cabbage veggie stir fry on plate

Teriyaki sauce is used for a touch of Asian flavor that tastes so good.

Cabbage stir fry with wheat pasta

Whole-wheat pasta, cabbage and veggie teriyaki stir-fry recipe

An easy one-skillet meal made with whole-wheat spaghetti, shredded cabbage, onion, mushrooms, Chinese pea pods and teriyaki sauce.

Serves 2

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes


  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion, sliced
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 dashes ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Chinese pea pods
  • 2 servings whole-wheat spaghetti, cooked al dente
  • 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds, for garnish


  1. Heat a large skillet on medium heat, and add the olive oil.
  2. Add the chicken, and stir.
  3. Let the chicken cook until it starts to brown (about 4 minutes).
  4. Add the onion, and stir. Let cook for about 2 minutes.
  5. Once the chicken is fully cooked, transfer it to a plate, and set it aside for a moment.
  6. Add the cabbage, mushrooms, garlic and pepper. Stir, and let cook for about 3 minutes.
  7. Add the pea pods, spaghetti and teriyaki sauce. Stir together, and let cook for about 4 minutes.
  8. Add the chicken, and stir together all the ingredients.
  9. Serve while hot. Top with black sesame seeds.

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More cabbage recipes

Crisp and crunchy tuna and cabbage salad
Sweet and spicy shrimp and slaw sliders
Apple raisin slaw

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