3-Ingredient Cabbage Pasta

3-Ingredient cabbage pasta

Cabbage pasta is a dish that I’ve grown up eating. My dad is the one that mainly makes it.

He’s always been a bit heavy-handed on the oil and salt, but the flavour from his food is great, of course. It’s fun watching him cook as he does it with such passion and enthusiasm.

Doesn’t happen too often these days, but I always look forward to when he cooks. 

When I first decided to share this recipe, I was thinking about all the potential benefits of this cabbage pasta recipe.

The one that kept coming up time and time again is how cheap this meal is. If you don’t have much money and need to feed lots of mouths, this is the perfect dish.

This 3-ingredient cabbage pasta can also be a quick recipe if you don’t cook the cabbage down as much as I do.

If you’re short on time, It can be done in around 20 minutes. I like to cook it longer to extract more flavour and get some caramelisation happening. 

cooking cabbage down

I wanted to show you what the cabbage looks like as it’s slowly cooking down in its own water, the salt helps with this process. The photo above was done partway through the second phase of cooking. It still needed around 20 minutes to cook down. 

I cut the cabbage roughly so that it still has some substance as it cooks down. If you cut it into thinner strips, it will be more stringy and get lost. It will still taste great; it just depends on the texture you’d like to achieve. 

3-ingredient cabbage pasta

What’s the difference between braised and sauteed cabbage? 

When you braise the cabbage, you cook it for a longer period over a lower heat. This can be done in the oven or a crockpot for many hours. I’d do this with larger slices/pieces of cabbage. 

When you saute something, it’s for a shorter period and done on a higher heat. You’d normally do this with smaller, chopped up pieces. This is what I’m doing with the cabbage. It was done on a higher heat for around 30 minutes with the lid on and off. 

Vegan Cabbage Pasta

Can you use different types of cabbage in this pasta dish?

Yes, you sure can! It won’t taste the same, but if you only have a red cabbage in your fridge, use that instead. It will be sweeter than the green cabbage. 

Besides the green and red cabbage varieties, the dish will be very different. I would stick to these two to get similar or the same results as this recipe. 

Close Up of Cabbage Pasta

Cabbage pasta is quite a well-known dish in the Eastern part of Europe. There are a few different varieties, but this is how it’s done where I’m from. 

I sometimes make it starting with some oil and then saute a diced onion before adding the cabbage and salt.

I used the more traditional method for this recipe as it’s easier to make. And as you know, only requires the 3-ingredients. 

Why I love cabbage pasta so much.

If these photos don’t do it justice and aren’t convincing, I want to assure you that the flavour is amazing and that it will quickly become a staple in your home as it has mine.

I always buy a large cabbage when I go to the weekly farmer’s market and have it as a backup meal when I’m feeling lazy and tired. 

Even though I’ve chosen the farfalle (aka bow tie) pasta, you can use anything you like. I’ve made it many times before with penne, spaghetti or fettuccine.

You can also make it with gluten-free pasta if you are gluten sensitive. 

3-Ingredient cabbage pasta

3-Ingredient Cabbage Pasta

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 500 gr farfalle pasta (bow tie)
  • 1 head of green cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/3 cup oil*
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the farfalle pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the meantime, in a large pot on high heat, add in the cabbage and salt and place the lid on.
  3. Stir from time to time for it to cook down evenly. Cook with lid on for 10 minutes or until the cabbage is soft and has released water. At this stage, if the cabbage becomes too dry, add a splash of water to prevent burning.
  4. Remove the lid and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add in the oil and stir well, this will help you achieve the slight browning of the cabbage. Just make sure to continue stirring and that it doesn't stick to the bottom — cook for a further 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add the cabbage to the pasta and stir well, adjust seasoning (if more salt is needed to taste).
  7. Serve with freshly cracked pepper on top.

Notes

*You can use olive oil, sunflower oil, rice bran oil, vegetable oil, canola oil or grapeseed oil. I use the latter. 

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Cabbage farfalle

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  3. Creamy Pumpkin and Capsicum Penne
  4. Vegan Cabbage Rolls in Tomato Sauce
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10 thoughts on “3-Ingredient Cabbage Pasta”

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this recipe on the internet before! This is one of my favourite childhood dishes and I still make this cabbage pasta fairly often.
    I always first saute 1 yellow onion in oil and caramelize it with a bit of sugar, add the cabbage, salt, vegetable stock and a splash of vinegar and let it cook down until the cabbage gets this beautiful golden color and no liquid is left in my pan. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Add the pasta of Our choice and Bon Appétit!

  2. Pat Chadwick

    Just made this with cauliflower leaves and caramelised onion. Absolutely delicious!

    Thank you!

  3. Angelique Anderson

    I was skeptical at first I must admit but tried it anyway and THANK U THIS IS SO GOOD , With many other veggie opportunities.
    I’ve added chopped olives, 1 chopped tomato , subbed the oil for Aquafaba , 1 whole can chickpeas added, 1 clove garlic sautéed, Red onions sautéed in little pure maple syrup , Little bit of nutritional yeast sprinkled to my liking , black pepper as suggested and it’s so addicting, who would have thought!

    1. Hi Angelique, I can understand your scepticism, but trust me, you don’t need to add anything to the original recipe. It just works! Having said that, your tweaks sound fantastic. If you do try it again, go with the three ingredients, and let me know what you think 🙂

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