Here’s a quick and healthy Italian recipe for Sauteed cabbage that I learned from my Aunt Sunny over 20 years ago. She was visiting and pulled out some cabbage we had and quickly sauteed a batch and it was delicious!
Full of Italian flavors, this easy recipe is perfect for a side dish or a light lunch. Ready to start cooking?
What is Italian Sauteed Cabbage
Cabbage is actually not all that uncommon in Italian cooking, such as cabbage soups, vegetable soups, and cabbage salads. But sauteed cabbage is the best of both worlds as it can be served warm right off the stove, or even served cold as leftovers without losing any of the Italian flavor.
The herb of choice in our Italian sauteed cabbage is oregano along with some garlic. Add in the olive oil that we use to saute the cabbage and it becomes a really amazingly delicious dish.
Benefits of Sauteed Cabbage
If you need an extra incentive to start incorporating more cabbage in your diet, then you might want to look at its many health benefits.
Here are some benefits:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
- Folate, a B-vitamin
- High in Fiber
- Aids in digestion
Ingredients for Italian-Style Sauteed Cabbage
This simple Italian recipe uses minimal ingredients, all of which can be found at a local grocery store.
Cabbage – I only use green cabbage.
Extra virgin olive oil – It’s important to use a high quality organic olive oil. I prefer extra virgin, although some argue that regular olive oil would be fine. I find that the extra virgin still provides more flavor.
Garlic cloves – We’re using fresh garlic cloves, not garlic powder.
Dried or fresh oregano – My recipe uses dried oregano, but if you want to try using fresh oregano, go for it!
Salt and pepper (optional)
Red pepper flakes (optional) – This can add a nice kick if you like your foods a little spicy.
Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions
I’ll now provide you with instructions for how to cook your Italian sauteed cabbage just like we do. Exact measurements will vary depending on tastes and quantity of cabbage, but you can grab the measurements I use in the recipe below.
Also you can watch the video I created for you as well.
Prepare the Cabbage
The first step is to clean the cabbage. Always remove the top layer or two of leaves so there are no marks or dirt. This will also help expose any little critters that might be hiding out.
Then cut off the amount you want to use. I usually cut about a 1/3rd of the cabbage.
Place the cabbage under running water to remove any debris. Then pat it dry with a paper towel.
PRO TIP: To keep the unused cabbage fresh for longer, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap. Then store it in a zip lock bag. The plastic wrap will help in keeping the air out which can cause it to age more quickly.
Slice the Cabbage
The next step is to place the cabbage face down on a cutting board so it doesn’t roll.
Then slice the cabbage into ¼ inch wide strips. Then cut those strips crosswise so they are only about 2 inches long.
Prepare the olive oil
In a medium or large skillet heat the olive over medium heat.
Once hot, add the garlic and saute for 2 or 3 minutes making sure the garlic is coated in the olive oil.
PRO TIP: You can use crushed garlic or chop the garlic depending on how much garlic flavor you want throughout the dish. For more intense garlic flavor in each bite, use finely chopped garlic.
Saute the Cabbage
Add the cabbage to the pan and coat it with the olive oil and garlic. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and sauté for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add a tablespoon of water if needed for initial steam. Adjust cooking time based on desired tenderness, from soft to slightly crunchy.
Add the Oregano
About 5 minutes before you remove the cabbage, add in the oregano. Give it a stir so it is incorporated into the entire dish. By cooking it a few minutes, the oregano will have a chance to soften and the flavors will mingle just enough.
Serve warm and top with some red pepper flakes for some extra heat. You can also add a dash of salt and pepper to enhance the flavors.
Serving and Pairing Suggestions
Italian sauteed cabbage can be a light lunch or a side dish. So here are some recommendations for other Italian recipes that it would go with.
Oregano compliments lemon very well, so my easy chicken piccata recipe would be a nice pairing.
For more vegetable side dishes, try my recipe for how to cook Italian green beans.
Try serving with some all beef meatballs. My recipe uses lean beef for a healthier alternative that still produces a delicious and moist meatball.
Variations for this Italian Recipe
Although this particular cabbage recipe uses minimal ingredients, you can modify it by adding in other flavors or ingredients. Here are some possibilities.
- Add some roasted red peppers.
- Add some vinegar when served.
- Add red pepper.
- Add other Italian herbs such as fennel, thyme, or mint.
- If you don’t mind eating meat, add some cooked sausage.
Yes, it is very easy to reheat sauteed cabbage. You can reheat the cabbage on the stove in a skillet over medium heat until heated through. You can also microwave the cabbage until heated.
If you are shredding a lot of cabbage, you can use a food processor’s shredding or slicing blade. The shredding blade will create shorter slices similar to coleslaw. A slicing blade will create longer slices that will still need to be cut into 2” slices.
If you are using a small amount of cabbage, properly clean the cabbage and cut out the wedge or section you want to use. Place it flat side down on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut your cabbage into thin slices.
To prevent your sauteed cabbage from turning into a mushy mess, there are a few options.
Cooking time. First, watch the cooking time and check the status of your cabbage frequently. Once it starts to cook down it can quickly go from just right to overcooked. Over medium-low heat it should not take more than 15 minutes to cook the sauteed cabbage.
Cook at higher temp. Cook the cabbage at a higher heat so that the cabbage doesn’t cook too long in its own steam. Doing so cooks it quicker without becoming soft.
Small batches. If you’re cooking a large amount of cabbage, do not overcrowd the pan. Instead do multiple smaller batches so all the included cabbage can cook evenly together.
Italian sauteed cabbage makes excellent leftovers. I recommend storing in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you add other ingredients such as sausage and a lot of other vegetables, then use the dish within 3 days.
If you enjoy recipes like this one for sauteed cabbage, I recommend that you also join our email list to get more easy Italian recipes delivered to your inbox!
Italian Sauteed Cabbage
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 cloves of garlic crushed and chopped
- 3 cups sliced green cabbage slice 1/4" thick and 2" long
- 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
- dash salt and pepper optional
- dash red pepper flakes optional
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add the crushed garlic and saute for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add in the sliced cabbage and mix so the olive oil coats all the pieces.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Add a Tablespoon of water if it doesn't start to steam.
- Check frequently and saute for 15 minutes. Make sure to check that it doesn't cook too fast and become too soft for your liking.
- 5 minutes before the cabbage is ready, add in the oregano and stir to incorporate evenly throughout the dish.
- When ready, serve warm and enjoy!
- Use my measurements as a guideline. If you prefer less oregano use less.
- If you like your cabbage crunchy, reduce cooking time to 10 minutes and check. Depending on your temperature it may take longer or shorter to cook than mine does.
- This recipe tastes great as leftovers, whether warm or cold – I’ve done it both ways.
- For a stronger garlic flavor finely chop the garlic cloves. Otherwise, crush the garlic for a more subtle flavor throughout.
- Try adding red pepper flakes for an extra kick, but serve on the side in case anyone prefers the recipe without them.