Caramelized Cabbage with Bacon (Keto, Paleo, Whole30)

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!

Caramelized Cabbage and Bacon - an easy vegetable side dish with cabbage, onions, garlic, and bacon! Use it as a side, or even as a condiment, like caramelized onions

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.

Caramelized Cabbage Recipe with Bacon, onions, and garlic - a healthy, easy side dish

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:

  1. Cook the bacon, chop the onion while cooking bacon
  2. Sauté onion, chop cabbage while sautéing onion.
  3. 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.

Slice the cabbage and remove tough inner core

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.

Cooking bacon in a skillet for caramelized cabbage

Add the cabbage and onion to the skillet, stir well, and cover.

Cabbage cooking in a skillet with lid on

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

Caramelized cabbage in a skillet with bacon and onion

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.

Caramelized Cabbage and Onions with Bacon - an easy, healthy side dish that is paleo, keto, whole30 and delicious!

More Healthy Side Dishes:

 

May all your cabbage be caramelized 😉

My cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls, is now available! CLICK HERE to check it out. Thank you for your support!

If you make this recipe, please feel free to share a photo and tag @TheRoastedRoot on Instagram!

Caramelized Cabbage and Onions with Bacon - an easy, healthy side dish that is paleo, keto, whole30 and delicious!

Caramelized Cabbage and Onions with Bacon

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bacon, cabbage, garlic, gluten free, healthy side dish, keto, low-carb, paleo, pickled onions, whole30
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Julia

Caramelized Cabbage and Onions with Bacon and garlic - a simple, healthy side dish

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Ingredients

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1 large yellow onion sliced
  • 1 medium-sized head cabbage thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg optional
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt to taste

Instructions

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Add the cabbage and onion to the skillet, stir well, and cover.

  4. Cook with cover on. After about 5 minutes, 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.

  5. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until cabbage has wilted completely and has lost much of its water, about 40 minutes

  6. 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.

Caramelized Cabbage Recipe with Bacon, onions, and garlic - a healthy, easy side dish that is paleo, keto, low-carb, whole30 and amazing!

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Comments

  1. Lora Johns

    It. have been doin this for my family for the last 10 to 12 years. We love it. It was a happy accident the first time when a phone call came in while preparing dinner. By the time a returned to it, it was carmelizing. We have served it that way ever since. I frequently sprinkle a favorite curry blend over instead of the nutmeg. Yummy!

    Reply
  2. Rexine Pigg

    Perfect replacement for country fried potatoes since we are following the me to diet. I use margarine instead of oil or bacon drippings. We love it!

    Reply
  3. Sabrina

    This is a long time recipe my family has been doing since before I was born and I’m 40 years old lol. The only difference we do is… We put green and/or red bell peppers in with it. We make it with our New Years Eve dinners and our Easter dinners. I occasionally will get a craving for it and make it throughout the year. It’s one of my absolute favorite side dishes!

    Reply
    1. Julia Post author

      Hi Carol!

      I think turkey bacon would taste amazing! Since it won’t render much fat, you’ll need to add an additional 2 to 3 tablespoons of avocado oil to cook everything 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

      Reply

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