Cabbage is the unsung hero of the produce drawer. Unlike most green vegetables, it’s sturdy and long-lasting—the whole head stays reliably fresh for at least a week or two in the fridge.
My favorite way to prepare cabbage is to roast thick slabs of it until golden brown and tender. Roasted cabbage has a lightly sweet, mellow flavor and a crisp-tender texture. No mush here.
For this recipe, the cabbage is cut into thick slabs to look like beef steaks, and while they aren’t exactly a replacement for meat, they do make a hearty vegetarian side dish or main fare.
They’re quick to prep. Cut a whole cabbage into five or so steaks, brush each with a simple sauce of olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, smoked paprika, and honey, and slide them into a hot oven (450°F to be exact).
This recipe starts with the oven extra hot. The temperature is lowered after placing the cabbage in the oven. This helps the cabbage get smoky, crispy edges all around without burning.
While the cabbage steaks roast, make quick stovetop garlic breadcrumbs for sprinkling on top. This dish is savory and slightly smoky, with a satisfying garlicky crunch on top. It comes together quickly, perfect for a last-minute weeknight dinner.
How to Choose Cabbage
The best cabbage to roast is green or white cabbage. They have a neutral flavor and tightly packed leaves that make them ideal for slicing into steaks, seasoning, and roasting.
Green cabbages are easy to find year-round. Look for a head of cabbage that is firm and heavy for its size. They will hold their shape better and cook more evenly.
While red cabbage could work, the leaves tend to be thicker, they take longer to cook, and the color isn’t as pleasing when roasted. Cabbage with loose leaves like savoy and napa are not recommended. They will fall apart into a pile of leaves.
How to Keep Cabbage Steaks from Falling Apart
Cabbage is made up of densely stacked leaves that will separate when you cut into it. To keep your cabbage steaks from falling apart, follow these steps:
Peel off the outermost leaves that are dry or damaged.
Slice the cabbage from the crown to the stem. Many sliced cabbage recipes call for slicing through the stem, but I’ve had better luck making consistent steaks that cook evenly slicing the opposite way.
The stem only runs through the center of the cabbage. Cutting along the stem instead of across it (as I do) leaves only the center pieces connected, with the outer layers falling off. Cutting into cross-sectional slices means every steak will be tightly packed.
The slices should be about 1 inch thick. Thick slices will hold together better than thinner ones, which tend to fall apart.
Handle the steaks carefully when brushing on the sauce and flip them over gently. The sides can be touching when placed on the baking sheet—this can help them keep from unfurling.
When transferring the roasted cabbage steaks for serving, use a large spatula. If any leaves separate, simply curl them back into place. No one will be the wiser.
Swaps and Substitutions
You can treat cabbage steaks as a blank slate. While the sauce I use to coat the cabbage adds good flavor, you can simply top them with oil, salt, and black pepper, or use your favorite spice blend. There are plenty of opportunities to customize the toppings too.
Gluten-free: Swap the soy sauce for tamari. Omit the panko breadcrumbs or swap them for gluten-free breadcrumbs. Instead of breadcrumbs, you could also use thinly sliced scallions and crushed roasted salted peanuts.
Vegan: Swap the honey for maple syrup or agave.
Swap the spices: Instead of smoked paprika, use five spice powder, chili powder, or your favorite barbecue spice blend.
Chili crisp: Swap the garlic breadcrumbs for chili crisp or top with both for lots of texture and flavor.
Gremolata: Swap the breadcrumbs for this herby, zingy condiment for a punch of freshness.
Bacon: Cabbage and bacon get along extremely well. Add two slices of crisp, crumbled bacon to the breadcrumbs for a meaty bite. If you have bacon grease handy, swap it for all or part of the oil.
What to Serve with Roasted Cabbage Steaks
Cabbage steaks can be served as a hearty side dish or as a vegetarian main. Cabbage pairs well with pork, like these classic pork chops or slow cooker pork loin, as well as beef, like a tender pot roast. Serve them with extra creamy mashed potatoes and glazed carrots for a vegetarian feast.
How to Store Leftovers
Roasted Cabbage Steaks are best served warm soon after cooking. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
To reheat, microwave them in 30-second intervals. Alternatively, heat them in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes, or until warmed through.
Store the breadcrumbs separately in an airtight container on the counter for up to a day or in the fridge for up to five days.
Roasted Cabbage Steaks with Garlic Breadcrumbs
1 (2- to 3- pound) green cabbage
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
Prepare the oven and baking sheet:
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Prepare the cabbage:
Peel off and discard any dried and browned outer leaves of the cabbage. Place it on a cutting board on its side, with the stem end facing your left or right.
Use a sharp chef’s knife to slice it into 1-inch cabbage steaks. Handle them gently so that they don’t fall apart. You should get 4 to 6 slices, depending on the size of your cabbage. Discard the end with the tough stem.
Place the cabbage steaks in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Their sides can be touching. If there isn’t enough space, you can use two baking sheets.
Make the sauce:
In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, paprika, and honey. Use a fork to whisk until the honey is fully dissolved.
Brush the sauce over the slices of cabbage, using half of the sauce. Gently flip the cabbage steaks and brush the other side, using the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the cabbage steaks with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper. It’s okay to season only one side.
Roast the cabbage steaks:
Place the cabbage steaks in the oven and turn the temperature down to 400°F. Bake until the edges are browned, the center is crisp-tender, and it can be easily pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the topping:
In a small skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once the oil shimmers when you tilt the pan, add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. It should sizzle and be fragrant but not brown.
Add the panko breadcrumbs, red pepper flakes (if using), and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat the panko well in the garlic oil. Toast the panko, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.
Plate and serve:
Use a large spatula to transfer the roasted cabbage steaks onto a serving platter or plates and top each with the garlic breadcrumbs just before serving.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 6g||8%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||5%|
|Total Carbohydrate 16g||6%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||13%|
|Total Sugars 5g|
|Vitamin C 59mg||295%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|