Caramelized Cabbage with bacon is a flavorful, addicting healthy side dish perfect for serving with just about anything. Caramelizing Cabbage will turn even the biggest Cabbage naysayer into a believer!
This easy cabbage recipe is paleo, keto, whole30, easy to prepare, and a crowd pleaser!
We’ve all had caramelized onions, but have you ever tried caramelized cabbage?
Truth be told, I couldn’t tell you whether or not caramelized cabbage is a thing. I dreamt it up one day while I was thinking about making a cabbage stir fry and caramelized onions were simultaneously on my mind.
I thought it brilliant to slowly cook sliced cabbage until it was softened yet slightly crispy and deeply golden-brown for a crazy flavorful approach to the otherwise bland vegetable.
And it’s so easy to prepare! If you can caramelize an onion (which we will be doing in this recipe, too), then you can caramelize a cabbage!
The way I see it, caramelized cabbage can be used in all sorts of ways – as a straight up vegetable side dish, a condiment, topping for sandwiches, burgers, steak, or chicken. I would even use it in burritos, grilled cheese sandwiches of breakfast sandwiches. Go wild!
Cabbage is neutral in flavor, making it ideal for dishes using big bold flavors like onion, garlic, and bacon. It doesn’t take much to spruce it up and make it extra palatable.
Let’s dig deeper!
Ingredients for Caramelized Cabbage with Bacon:
Bacon: Used as the fat source for caramelizing the cabbage, we cook thick cut bacon to render fat. These drippings are used for cooking and the bacon itself gets chopped up and added to the cabbage at the end. The bacon provides a great deal of flavor and spunk to the recipe, but if you’re vegetarian or vegan, replace it with 3 tablespoons of avocado oil.
Avocado oil: Only necessary if your bacon doesn’t yield enough fat to cook your cabbage. Because bacon varies in its fat content and cabbages vary in size, there is no way to know exactly how much fat you’ll end up with and how much you’ll need. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of avocado oil to the cabbage if it’s clear the cabbage isn’t well-coated in bacon fat, and/or if it begins to burn or stick to the skillet.
Onion: In addition to caramelizing cabbage, we caramelize an onion simultaneously. This adds rich flavor to the cabbage!
Garlic: Providing even more delicious flavor, we toss in some minced garlic. Because cabbage has a subtle flavor, the onion and garlic flavors shine through very nicely.
Cabbage: The star of the show! Pick up a medium-sized cabbage from your grocery store. Any type works, but for this recipe, I went with a regular green cabbage. If you use a red cabbage, it won’t get quite as soft as green cabbage, but will still be lovely.
Sea salt and pepper: Enhancing the flavors all the way around, we add sea salt and pepper to make the whole thing come together in deliciousness.
You can customize this dish in countless ways! Add mushrooms, fresh or dried herbs, coconut milk to make it creamy, or wine to make it sultry.
So let’s make it already!
This is a great prep-as-you-go recipe. Here’s my order of operations:
- Cook the bacon, chop the onion while cooking bacon
- Sauté onion, chop cabbage while sautéing onion.
- Mill around while the cabbage cooks and caramelizes – you’ll have plenty of time to multi-task!
How to Make Caramelized Cabbage with Bacon:
Begin by slicing the cabbage into strips. Remove the tough white inner core. Chop it such that the shreds are all very close to the same size.
Cook the bacon over medium-high heat in a large skillet until crispy. Set bacon on a plate and leave the drippings in the skillet.
Add the cabbage and onion to the skillet, stir well, and cover.
Cook with cover on. After about 5 minutes, the cabbage will begin to wilt. Keep cooking, covered, stirring occasionally for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the cover, sprinkle with sea salt and finish cooking the rest of the way, uncovered.
Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until cabbage has wilted completely and has lost much of its water, about 40 minutes
Add the garlic, black pepper, nutmeg and cooked bacon and continue cooking another 10 to 20 minutes, until cabbage turns slightly brown and has a similar consistency to caramelized onions.
More Healthy Side Dishes:
- Warm Brussel Sprout Salad with Kale Quinoa and Bacon Vinaigrette
- Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
- Healthy Green Bean Casserole
- Apple Cider Glazed Roasted Carrots with Rosemary
- Dairy-Free Creamed Spinach
- Creamy Mashed Rutabaga with Caramelized Onions
- Maple Bourbon mashed Sweet Potatoes
May all your cabbage be caramelized 😉
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Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 86Unsaturated Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 9gNet Carbohydrates: 5gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 5g