This easy steamed cabbage recipe is a surprising delicacy. The gentle cooking method and the butter greatly enhance this simple vegetable!
Ready in just 20 minutes, this is one of my favorite vegetable side dishes to cook during the week, when I'm often pressed for time.
I really like cabbage. I'm not a big fan of eating it raw unless it comes in the form of tasty coleslaw or this delicious Asian cabbage salad. But when cooked, I find it so very tasty. And this particular recipe is especially good.
I also like how easy this recipe is. I am lazy about side dishes (well, about recipes in general actually), so I like them to be as easy as possible. This recipe fits the bill. It's a delicious and easy side dish that comes together quickly and effortlessly.
It may not look like much. But this simple steamed cabbage, seasoned with butter and garlic, is a delicacy.
And you'll only need a few simple ingredients to make it! The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Fresh cabbage: I use green cabbage in this recipe. You can try using red cabbage if you'd like - it should work just as well as green.
Unsalted butter: If all you have is salted, that's fine, but then you might want to use a little less salt.
Minced garlic: You can mince a fresh garlic clove, or use jarred minced garlic. Naturally, if you mince it by yourself it will taste better.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt rather than kosher salt, I suggest you reduce the amount you use by half.
Red pepper flakes: These are not crucial, and I mostly add them for garnish. But they do add a nice layer of flavor without overwhelming the dish with their heat. I also like to garnish the dish with dried parsley, which is purely optional.
Steaming cabbage is so easy! And the best part: there's no need for a special steamer! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Shred the cabbage and rinse it. Then place it in a deep skillet. (Don't dry it off. The water adhering to it will help it steam.)
Cover the skillet and heat it over medium-high heat. When the dish starts to steam, lower the heat to medium.
Steam, covered, for about 5 minutes. Then remove the lid and cook for 2 more minutes, to allow the remaining water to evaporate.
Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cook for 2 more minutes, then serve.
The main issue that arises when making this recipe is that you really do need to gently cook the cabbage over medium heat.
If the heat is too high and the pan gets too hot, the cabbage might dry out, stick to the bottom of the pan, and even burn. So make sure you keep the heat to medium. And if needed, add a bit of water to the bottom of the pan.
Frequently asked questions
No! There's no need for a steamer, although if you happen to own one, you can certainly use it. You can simply cook the cabbage in a lidded skillet.
As with all vegetables, I much prefer steaming to boiling. It's a gentler cooking method that better preserves the vegetable's flavor and color.
Yes, and the recipe will remain the same, except that it might take a little longer to cook the wedges (perhaps a minute longer) so you might want to add a bit of water to the skillet.
The best way to vary this recipe is to use different toppings for the cooked cabbage. You could, for example, sprinkle it with grated parmesan or bacon bits.
For an Asian flavor profile, instead of butter, you could drizzle it with soy sauce (or a gluten-free alternative) and sesame oil and sprinkle some chopped scallions on top.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days. Reheat them gently, in the microwave, on 50% power.
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Buttery Steamed Cabbage
- 1 medium cabbage (2 lb. trimmed)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ⅛ teaspoon dried parsley
- Trim the cabbage, then shred it. To shred, cut the cabbage in half, then slice each half into thin slices and separate the slices with your hands into strips, as shown in the video below. Place the strips in a colander and rinse.
- Transfer the rinsed cabbage to a large, deep skillet, without drying it off - the water adhering to the cabbage will allow it to steam. You can a tablespoon of water to the bottom of the pan, but I usually don't find it necessary.
- Turn the heat to medium-high and cover the skillet. When the cabbage starts to steam, which should take about a minute, lower the heat to medium.
- Steam, covered, for about 5 minutes. Uncover, stir, and cook for 2 more minutes to allow any remaining water to evaporate. If you still have too much water in the pan, you can drain it into a colander.
- Add the butter, garlic, salt, and black pepper, stirring to combine. Cook for 2 more minutes, stirring, until the butter has melted. Garnish, if desired, with dried parsley and red pepper flakes. Serve warm.