This is the best vegetarian Cabbage Stew and it's over-flowing with deep delicious flavors and hearty nutrients, including fresh turmeric. It's easy to make and perfect over rice for a comforting fall and winter dinner.
Filled with warming spices and subtle heat, this hearty vegetarian cabbage stew is every bit as comforting and satisfying as those with meat, fish and poultry.
Fresh turmeric has become incredibly popular and it's available in most grocery stores. And cooking with fresh turmeric and vegetables together is a winning idea.
- green cabbage - Choose heads of cabbage that are heavy with firm outer leaves.
- fresh turmeric root (also called turmeric rhizome) - Turmeric root looks much like ginger root, only it's orange (see below images). It's typically located in the produce department in the same section as the ginger. Choose roots that are firm.
- onion - Select onions that are firm, heavy for their size and without bruises.
- fresh garlic - Look for firm heads of garlic without any soft spots or green shoots, which are an indication it's old and likely bitter. Raw garlic cloves should be firm without any dark spots. (Pro tip: if there are green shoots in your garlic cloves, slice them in half, lengthwise, and remove the root with the tip of a knife. The rest of the clove should still be good.)
- chili paste - I like Sambal Oelek. The touch of heat is excellent with the spices and vegetables in cabbage stew.
- carrots - I like using large, thick carrots for stews. Look for those that are without little roots on the bottom.
- cauliflower - Choose heads of cauliflower with florets that are packed together tightly.
- ground cumin
- ground cinnamon
- ground cardamom
- tomatoes - This recipe calls for canned, diced tomatoes in juice. I use these.
- vegetable stock - Preferably low sodium.
- peas - Frozen and thawed.
- brown sugar - Just the smallest bit.
- black pepper - Preferably freshly ground.
(See recipe card below for quantities.)
Fresh Turmeric Root
Substitutions and Variations
- Green cabbage. You can choose other varieties of cabbage -- Savoy, Napa or Red cabbage will all work also.
- Fresh turmeric root. If you're able to use fresh turmeric that's fantastic, however you can substitute dry, ground turmeric and it will still be delicious. Use just shy of 2 teaspoons of the dry to substitute the 1½ tablespoons of the fresh.
- Chili paste - If you don't want any heat, omit this all together. It can be substituted with 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes if you don't have the paste.
- Carrots. Butternut squash is a great substitute for carrots in this stew recipe.
- Cauliflower. The cauliflower can be substituted with potatoes (any variety) or broccoli.
- Canned diced tomatoes. If you'd prefer to use fresh tomatoes, be sure they're on the sweet side (in season), and use an extra cup. You can also use canned, crushed or whole tomatoes. For the whole tomatoes, use a wooden spatula to break them into smaller pieces once they're in the pot.
- Vegetable stock. To keep this recipe vegetarian/vegan, use coconut water if you don't have the stock. It's only very subtly sweet, but omit the brown sugar if you use it. If you don't have a choice, water also okay, just not as flavorful.
- Peas. You can swap the peas for spinach or edamame beans (unsalted).
- Sometimes I like adding cooked rice or orzo, making it even heartier. (Add about 1 cup when you add the peas.
The cardamom, cinnamon and cumin, along with the chili paste, are what make this cabbage stew recipe unique, warming and so deeply flavored.
- One of the reasons this is the best vegetarian cabbage stew, is that it lends itself to all sorts of changes, if you want to make it "your own." You can change up the vegetables and/or use more of less of each one.
- Cooking with fresh turmeric is easier to use than you may suspect. Here's an excellent guide for using it. And if you don't see it in stores, you can order it here.
How to Make it
- Coat the bottom of a large deep pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until they're soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the turmeric, chili paste, cumin, cinnamon and cardamom. Mix and let it cook until it's very aromatic, about 30 seconds.
- Add the carrots and cauliflower to the pot, stir, and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the cabbage, stir, turn the heat to low and cover the pot to let the cabbage wilt, about 4 minutes.
- Once the cabbage has wilted, add the tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then turn he heat to the lowest setting, cover and cook until the carrots and and cauliflower are tender, about 45 minutes.
- Remove the lid, add the peas, brown sugar, season generously to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Like most stews, the best dishes to serve with this vegetarian cabbage stew are those that will soak up any extra sauce in the plate or bowl. And of course, a light salad is always a great idea. Below are a handful of delicious suggestions.
- Saffron Dill Rice
- Roasted Garlic Basil Rice
- Overnight Asiago Bread
- Confit Mashed Potatoes (If you haven't added potatoes to the stew.)
- Spinach Potato Gratin (Again, if you haven't added potatoes.)
More Recipes with Turmeric
Can you make it ahead?
You can absolutely make this recipe ahead. It only gets better. It will keep in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
I hope you enjoy every last, delectable bite of the this Vegetarian Cabbage Stew.
Vegetarian Cabbage Stew Recipe
- 1¼ cup roughly chopped yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1½ tablespoons freshly grated turmeric (click here for How to Use Fresh Turmeric)
- 1 tablespoon chili paste
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 cup peeled, roughly chopped carrots
- 1½ cup roughly chopped cauliflower
- 4 cups roughly chopped green cabbage
- 2 cups canned diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- ¾ cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cook the onions with the spices. Coat the bottom of a large deep pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat (a Dutch Oven is ideal). Add the onions and garlic and sauté until they're soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the turmeric, chili paste, cumin, cinnamon and cardamom. Mix and let it cook until it's very aromatic, about 30 seconds.
- Add the vegetables. Add the carrots and cauliflower to the pot, stir, and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the cabbage, stir, turn the heat to low and cover the pot to let the cabbage wilt, about 4 minutes.
- Mix in the tomatoes and stock. Once the cabbage has wilted, add the tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook until the carrots and and cauliflower are tender, about 45 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and serve. Remove the lid, add the peas, brown sugar, and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Here's How to Season to Taste.) Serve!