Mama’s 30-Minute Sweet Cabbage Recipe (GF Side or Main Course)

My mama's sweet cabbage recipe is the perfect fall side dish, but tweaking the ingredients transforms it into a tasty 30-minute one-pot meal.

Easy Weeknight Recipe: Sweet Cabbage Skillet Dinner or Side Dish

Think your kids (or you) don’t like cabbage? This sweet sautéed cabbage skillet will change your minds. Full of fresh fall flavors, this sweet fried cabbage recipe is naturally gluten- and dairy-free. Make it as a vegan side dish, or add your favorite sausage (meat or vegetarian) for a quick and easy sausage and cabbage skillet meal that’s on the table in a half-hour.

Cooking with in-season ingredients is a great way to save money on grocery shopping while serving your family the freshest produce possible. This is one of the cooking-in-season hacks my mama passed down to me. My family loves it both as a side and as a main course, with or without meat products.

Because the ingredients and cooking directions are slightly different depending on whether you’re making this dish as a side or a main course, I’ll list two versions of this recipe:

  • First, how to make a vegan sweet fried cabbage side dish,
  • And second, how to make sweet cabbage and sausage as a quick and easy one-pot meal.

So gather up your fresh fall vegetables, and get ready for some quick and easy comfort food to warm your winter!

Mama’s 30-Minute Sweet Cabbage Recipes

Serves 4-6 / 30 minutes

Sautéed Sweet Cabbage Stir-Fry (Vegan/Gluten-Free Side Dish)

This quick and easy sautéed sweet cabbage and onion side dish is a healthy way to enjoy the fresh flavors of fall. Not only is this delicious side ready in under 30 minutes, it’s also a great vegan side dish that is also gluten-free.

My mama's sweet cabbage recipe is the perfect fall side dish, but tweaking the ingredients transforms it into a tasty 30-minute one-pot meal.

What you need:

My mama's sweet cabbage recipe is the perfect fall side dish, but tweaking the ingredients transforms it into a tasty 30-minute one-pot meal.

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 small cabbage
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 t. sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Several juniper berries (optional)

The basic idea:

  1. In a medium skillet or electric frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. While oil is heating, dice onion.
  2. Add onion to skillet; sauté several minutes, until softened, stirring frequently. While onion is cooking, shred cabbage.My mama's sweet cabbage recipe is the perfect fall side dish, but tweaking the ingredients transforms it into a tasty 30-minute one-pot meal.
  3. Once onion is soft, add cabbage to pan and cook until cabbage is wilted, stirring frequently. While cabbage is cooking, core and finely chop apple.
  4. When cabbage is wilted, add apple, sugar, salt/pepper to taste, and berries. Cook 2-3 minutes, or until apple has softened a bit. Serve hot.

Mix it up:

  • Yes, you CAN skip the juniper berries – but I recommend adding them if at all possible. They’re available online, if you can’t find any in your local store.
  • The right equipment will help make this recipe even quicker and easier to prep, even if you have little helpers. A right-angled apple corer means even young kids can help with coring the apple, and a mandoline and metal glove make fast work of shredding the cabbage.
  • Meat-lovers’ side dish: Sweet Cabbage with Bacon Instead of olive oil, chop two slices of bacon and fry them. Add the onion when the bacon is almost (but not fully) cooked. Or use bacon grease instead of the olive oil.

B. Sweet Cabbage and Sausage Skillet Meal

This quick and easy skillet meal adds sausage to the basic recipe for sweet cabbage above. We especially love making this as a kielbasa and cabbage skillet, but you can make this quick skillet cabbage and sausage recipe with whatever sausage you like. (In the version you see here, I used chicken grillers with spinach – hence the dark green you see.)

My mama's sweet cabbage recipe is the perfect fall side dish, but tweaking the ingredients transforms it into a tasty 30-minute one-pot meal.

What you need:

My mama's sweet cabbage recipe is the perfect fall side dish, but tweaking the ingredients transforms it into a tasty 30-minute one-pot meal.

  • 1 lb. kielbasa or any sweet sausage (in these photos, I used chicken grillers with spinach)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 small cabbage
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 t. sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Approx. 1 t. caraway seeds

The basic idea:

My mama's sweet cabbage recipe is the perfect fall side dish, but tweaking the ingredients transforms it into a tasty 30-minute one-pot meal.

  1. Cut sausage into 1-inch chunks; set aside. Peel and dice onion.
  2. Add sausage chunks and diced onion to skillet or electric frying pan. Cook several minutes over medium heat, until onion softens, stirring frequently. While meat-onion mixture is cooking, shred cabbage.My mama's sweet cabbage recipe is the perfect fall side dish, but tweaking the ingredients transforms it into a tasty 30-minute one-pot meal.
  3. Once onion is soft, add cabbage to pan. Cook until cabbage is wilted and meat is cooked through. While cabbage-meat mixture is cooking, core and finely chop apple.
  4. When sausage is cooked through and cabbage is wilted, add apple, sugar, salt/pepper to taste, and caraway seeds. Cook 2-3 minutes, or until apple has softened a bit. Serve hot.

My mama's sweet cabbage recipe is the perfect fall side dish, but tweaking the ingredients transforms it into a tasty 30-minute one-pot meal.

Mix it up:

  • If you’re using a leaner sausage, you may need to add a little olive oil, bacon fat, or water early in the cooking process, so the onions and meat don’t stick to the pan.
  • Make it vegan: Instead of using meat, heat 2T olive oil in skillet in step 1, then add your favorite TVP or plant-based sausage substitute along with the diced onion in step 2.

 

 

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My mama's sweet cabbage recipe is the perfect fall side dish, but tweaking the ingredients transforms it into a tasty 30-minute one-pot meal.

 

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