cabbage and sausage casserole

Let me get the obvious out of the way: you are not going to win friends, neighbors with whom you share airspace or small children over with cabbage casserole. It’s beige and gray with traces of drab green. It’s cooked forever, or until whatever vim and vigor may have initially been in the leaves has departed. At best, it’s akin to unstuffed cabbage, which means that it will be comfort food to some but torture to others.

a very large amount of cabbage
chop, chop

However, if you are of the sort that has not yet been deterred (as you can see, I did my best), I have exactly the right thing for us to fill ourselves with on this face-freezing week of January* This preparation comes from the late, great English food writer Jane Grigson, whose writing and recipes I enjoyed long before I learned that she shares my disdain for beets —

par-cook cabbage

We do not seem to have had much success with the beetroot in this country. Perhaps this is partly the beetroot’s fault. It is not an inspiring vegetable, unless you have a medieval passion for highly coloured food. With all that purple juice bleeding out at the tiniest opportunity, a cook may reasonably feel that beetroot has taken over the kitchen and is far too bossy a vegetable.

— but, I won’t lie, even more so since. It’s in this same book, her Vegetable book, that she writes about Stuffed Cabbage in the Trôo Style, one of the — because I want you to be aptly warned of exactly what you are dealing with here — five stuffed cabbage recipes in the chapter. She speaks of visiting her neighbor who was making chou farci for her grandaughters that were coming to supper and being surprised when she peered under the lid not to find a big round stuffed cabbage but a flat layer of leaves. Madame Glon, the neighbor, insisted that this “quick” method was just as good as the classic one (a whole cabbage, stuffed) and made a convert out of Grigson.

parchment under foil

Grigson then, in the year 1978, answers several questions I anticipate internet commenters to ask in the year 2016, saying that she’s made it with various spicy and aromatic additions such as tomatoes, bits of bacon, herbs and so on, but has rejected them in favor of the “Trôo simplicity cabbage, good sausagemeat and butter,” which I — a dweller of the Lower East Side of Manhattan some 3600 miles away, where simplicity usually means limiting oneself to a single type of chile paste, imported sea salt and heirloom vegetable — hadn’t considered my dinner priorities until that exact second. As my year’s theme so far is seeing something good and making it as soon as humanly possible we had it for dinner that very night, heaped on thick slices of whole wheat sourdough slathered with coarse Dijon mustard and now you can count us among the converts not just to the dish, but the idea that there’s a time and place for unfancy, unpretty, unpopular food too.

before going back into the oven
cabbage and sausage casserole

* when the other three tabs open in my browser are, predictably: 1. out-of-my-budget arctic parkas, 2. clever new ways to add even more cheese, sour cream and butter to baked potatoes, and 3. a friend’s torturous beach vacation photos

Stuffed Cabbage, Previously: Russian-Style and Italian-Style

One year ago: Key Lime Pie and Fried Egg Salad
Two years ago: Chicken Pho and Pear and Hazelnut Muffins
Three years ago: Gnocchi in Tomato Broth and Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard and Garlic
Four years ago: Buckwheat Baby with Salted Caramel Syrup
Five years ago: Baked Potato Soup
Six years ago: Poppy Seed Lemon Cake and Black Bean Soup with Toasted Cumin Seed Crema
Seven years ago: Almond Vanilla Rice Pudding and Light Wheat Bread
Eight years ago: Pickled Carrot Sticks
Nine years ago: Artichoke Ravioli with Tomatoes and Cauliflower and Brussels Salad

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Look What Else We Baked! :)
1.5 Years Ago: Easiest Fridge Dill Pickles and Grilled Peach Splits
2.5 Years Ago: One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes
3.5 Years Ago: Peach Pie
4.5 Years Ago: Whole Wheat Raspberry and Ricotta Scones

Cabbage and Sausage Casserole
Adapted from Jane Grigson, by way of Tamasin Day-Lewis, by way of The New York Times

A few notes: I found the Day-Lewis yield take on recipe to be almost impossible to work with (you’ll need two giant pots to blanche 4 pounds cabbage, and at least 2 lasagna pans to bake it) so I halved it. A few NYT commenters said they found it easier to pour a kettle or two of boiling water over the cabbage in a colander rather than boiling it in a pot of water, but I did not, mostly because there was so much cabbage and my kettle is tiny. And while the ideas you can springboard off the recipe are almost countless — brats and red cabbage, a heap of spices, more vegetables — there’s a lot to be said about a 4-ingredient dish that will keep you warm for a long time. Just don’t skimp on the seasoning. Salt and pepper, confidently applied, will keep this dish from falling asleep.

Serves 6 to 8

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound fresh sweet Italian pork sausages or bulk sausage meat
1 large green or Savoy cabbage (2 pounds), cored and thickly shredded
Freshly ground black pepper
Crusty bread and coarse mustard, for serving

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish. If using sausages, remove casings and discard them.

Place cabbage in boiling water, cover, and let water come back to the boil. Uncover and boil for 3 minutes. Drain cabbage in a colander and run cold water over it to stop cooking. Drain well.

Put about 1/3 of the cabbage in buttered dish and cover with 1/2 the meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dot with butter. Repeat, ending with a final layer of cabbage, and dot top with butter.

Cover dish tightly with a layer of parchment paper (commenters who skipped the parchment said that their vegetables discolored against the foil), then top with a lid or a layer of aluminum foil. Cook for about 2 1/2 hours, until cabbage is soft and sweet, and top is lightly browned. After 2 hours, uncover the dish; if there is a lot of liquid in the bottom, leave uncovered for the rest of the cooking time. If not, re-cover and finish cooking. In our case, there was not a lot of liquid but I hoped to get a little color on the top so left it uncovered for the remaining time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

195 comments on cabbage and sausage casserole

  1. Janet

    My late mother was a great home cook and used to come up with all sorts of recipes on her own. One Sunday we sat down to Cabbage Lasagna and it was a revelation!. She used her regular Sunday Gravy that was started off with some kind of meat – ground beef or pieces of pork – then layered it with blanched cabbage leaves and cheese. (You could also add some rice if so inclined). It immediately became a family favorite. Everyone ate cabbage that way!

  2. Cara

    I have to chuckle. It must be winter. My husband made almost this exact dish yesterday. Only we cooked the sausage and cabbage down together in a big pot on the stove. I’m really sure the end flavor result was the same. (And the leaves are pale green to translucent, not gray. Perhaps the cabbage is cooked less.)

  3. alison

    this looks amazing, and it’s a good thing my husband likes cabbage as much as i do. do you think you could use something besides butter? would olive oil do the trick?

  4. Wendy

    If only the Steelers had won last weekend, then this dish (with kielbasa, of course) would have been perfect for the playoffs. Will keep it on file for next year!

    1. Susan Johnson

      I read your post and laughed! It’s Jan 2nd,2022 and absolutely freezing in Illinois. A high of 11. Brr. I’m making roasted cabbage with Parm and walnuts. Oven up to 475 degrees should warm the house up nicely! Thanks, Su

  5. Nicole R.

    This is brilliant. I have really come to love cabbage; it’s tasty, healthy, affordable, and lasts forever in the fridge.

    I will make this vegetarian with Field Roast sausage (the only meat substitute I’ll touch with a ten-foot pole) and eat it with no-knead bread and unfancy mustard, because I need to not go shopping.

  6. Tiffany

    I have a question. I can’t find it in the recipe, but when exactly do you cook the sausage? I might be completely missing it in the recipe, so I’m sorry if I did! :) Looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it.

  7. This sounds absolutely amazing! I KNOW the hubby will love this, too. I think I’ll plan to make it next weekend. Thanks for sharing. I always drool over your recipes.

  8. Renee

    I love simple cabbage dishes. This looks very similar to a dish my husband’s Spanish grandmother made — onions, potatoes, cabbage, chorizo and olive oil cooked in a big pot with lid on until tender, then add white beans from the garden. Perfect on a cold winter’s weekday.

  9. K

    I love this idea! Is the dunk in boiling water to wilt the cabbage? I wonder if you could simply wilt the cabbage by microwaving it?

  10. Intriguing. That’s all I can say. Going to use my roadkill cabbage for this one. Wish me luck. And yes, I’m with you on the out of my price range parkas as a fellow New Yorker. It’s frigid here in the Greater Niagara Falls Area. too cold to even take the kiddos sledding. But not too cold for cabbage. Or hot cocoa if it bombs with the kids.

  11. Darcie

    I love the simplicity of this, Deb! I bet I can even get my veg-hatin’ husband to eat it, thanks to Italian sausage.

    PS: I just posted a question on the blue sky bran muffins recipe.

    1. Christy Williams

      I’ve made this several times and never blanch the cabbage first. It cooks perfectly just by the slow cooking in the oven!

  12. Until this moment I never knew that stuffed cabbage could mean the whole vegetable being hollowed out and stuffed like a turkey. Cabbage is comforting in a way- its a mild green vegetable that lasts well through the frigidness of winter that softens and warms. This, as unpopular as it may be, sounds hearty and necessary.

  13. Carolyn

    Thank you for this recipe. In Canada these days, because of the low Canadian dollar (most produce is imported at this time of year), fresh produce is unbelievably expensive ($7 for a small, pathetic looking, non-organic cauliflower), even in big urban grocery stores. Having good recipes with affordable veggies like cabbage are fantastic.

  14. Kyle

    Stop. Everything. Must. Make. Today.

    Every year I seem to learn about why a vegetable was awesome, why we culturally dismissed it because we didn’t know what to do with it, and how to reclaim it for a modern palate. This year is the year of cabbage. What an amazing vegetable when treated with a bit of dignity!

  15. Courtney

    I have made the NYT version and it is addictively good, although there was so much of it. Halving the recipe is a good idea to feed a smaller group.

  16. Jen

    mmm this sounds so perfect for this dreary day. perhaps a silly question, but i’m still getting used to adjusting recipes for a slow cooker and having a good eye for ones that will work – do you think i could set this up to be a slow cooker recipe (blanch the cabbage then layer everything) – put it on low for 6-8 hours? let me know what you think :)


  17. Mimi (another one :)

    Good thing I have half a Savoy cabbage left in the fridge. Must try this tomorrow :)
    I love the cabbage just shredded, browned in a pan on the stove, then with salt/pepper, a little cream and a pinch of sugar. Oh, and a tiny bit of mustard.

    I guess this is the oven version of it, plus sausage.

    Aaand, I just love the picture of your little daughter with the wonderful head of hair. Precious!

  18. cR

    Pre-cooked Savoy Cabbage is to Brigitte Bardot c.1960 -as is- Post-cooked Savoy Cabbage to Brigitte Bardot c.2016. Beige, gray, drab green – it happens to the best of us. Who cares? Looks aren’t EVERYTHING. Close your eyes and YUM!

  19. jana

    My family recipe is red cabbage with regular breakfast sausage. It’s cooked stove-top, and includes apples, onions, and vinegar. Been eating it all my life!

  20. Kyle

    I ended up making this for a late lunch, early dinner with some andouille and a small head of cabbage I had in the fridge.

    Flavors: excellent

    Texture: Next time I will check it an an hour and a half. My cabbage was a bit too mushy. I like it to still have the slightest bit of tooth.

    Otherwise, an instant addition to my repertoire!

  21. So I spent a year in college in Mississippi, and I ended up in the foreign and older student dorm. It was fascinating.

    But one of the things that I had no frame of reference before was cabbage. Sure, I’d had cabbage at home before. But there were two women there who were cabbage artists. Once a week, they would cook a huge pot of cabbage and that would see them through most of the following week. But every single time they offered me some, there was a completely different set of seasonings. Through that whole year, I don’t think I tasted a single repeat in her cabbage variations.

  22. jan

    I’m surprised you don’t like beet root. A baked one zapped into any tomato based sauce will improve the flavour and colour and reduce the acid taste. A yellow one baked and then zapped into any green sauce or soup will also improve the flavour

  23. Colleen Mahaney

    Funny what you said about the teakettle. I distinctly remember my grandmother and great aunts “cooking” huge amounts of cabbage for holiday meals by pouring large pots of boiling water over 7-8 cabbages in a washtub- then covering with the biggest lid and foil then putting it on the radiator!

  24. Marlies

    I made this this evening, and it is delicious. However, I think when I make it again, I might not bother boiling the cabbage first — the cabbage is really mushy (although DELICIOUS).

  25. suzanprincess

    I make a quicker dish with similar ingredients as more of a stir fry, with the addition of thinly sliced celery, a sprinkle of lemon juice at the end, and a bit of sugar and or salt as needed. I coarsely chop the cabbage, no pre-cooking needed. Great as a main dish with the (pre-cooked) sausage or as a veggie without; cooked until just tender, 10-20 minutes or so, or faster if covered for a few minutes. And the house doesn’t smell of cooked cabbage for days afterward, a big plus in my book.

  26. Jetagain

    A great way to use our bulk, homemade wild turkey sausage–my husband’s a hunter. Also, despite being a trendy vegetable, I also HATE beets. They taste like sweet dirt.

  27. Jack Palmer

    I love cabbage and have been on a cabbage kick for the past month. I will definitely have to try this out! My wife is less of a fan of slow cooked cabbage,l but I think this may be good enough to convince her of its beauties. Thanks for sharing this comfort food recipe!

  28. Maro

    Looking forward to trying this — when you posted something about a cabbage casserole, I ran to the internets to find something that would fill the sudden hole in my belly and found a different (but delicious) version of an unstuffed cabbage with ground meat, onions, and rice. I am crazy about it, but now I want this one, too!

  29. Pat

    This is almost like halushki, a Russian chopped cabbage dish with butter served with noodles. It is cooked stove top or baked. Put in sausage, a few veges, and a few spices to make a delicious egg roll filling. Do not need to frantically search or spend a lot on the locally available ingredients. Just never microwave cabbage – phew!

  30. Amanda

    Am I missing the serving count? Looking at the photos I’m thinking perhaps 8? My calculations would then be 256 calories per serving. With some thin sliced German dark rye bread this would make an amazing meal that fits within my calorie goals. God bless the humble cabbage! Deb, you’re the best.

  31. JessB

    Yum, yum, yum. I have 2 cabbages in my fridge right now, just waiting for something like this. One of my gardening goals this year is to perfect the timing of growing cabbages. Such an amazing crop.

  32. Caroline Scott

    I saw a PBS TV Show a few weeks ago (A Cook’s Life), where they boiled beets, but did not cut off the tops nor the bottom, root end,nor did they peel them, just scrubbed the daylights out of them and they did not bleed or turn the water purple — you should try it, you might like them. I, too, used to hate beets (especially sweetened, spiced, etc.), but I do like them boiled or in Ukrainian Borscht (Mamuscha-style), so you might like them that way too. Give them a try!

  33. Colleen Flanigan

    Sounds wonderful but several people asked about cooking the sausage, specifically when–do you pre-cook then bake or just bake raw? I have the same question and would really appreciate an answer. Thanks so much!

  34. Brenda

    Re: Beets.
    I made the most delicious beet and carrot salad the other day (the recipe came from a recent Bon Appetit issue). I can’t help but think even beet haters would love it. My dinner guests were certainly wowed. The beets are raw, thinly sliced with a mandolin, carrots are ribboned and there is a curry oil dressing and pistachios. It’s really amazing.

      1. Christine Tetreault

        Thanks, I was wondering this myself. We are in self isolation in British Columbia, due to Covid 19, and this will be our St. Patrick’s dinner tonight…with green martini’s. When life gives you lemons.

  35. Cindy

    I’ve never slow cooked cabbage before but make a very similar version on the stove. I just saute the cabbage (butter or olive oil work equally well in my opinion) with some onion. If I want a one pan meal rather than a side, I add sliced kielbasa (turkey but only bc I am allergic to pork and beef) and keep cooking until it is done to my liking.

    I live in the American south…cooked cabbage is a mainstay along with pinto beans and everyone does it a bit different. I like to throw a little apple cider vinegar in along with the salt and pepper. Most folks use bacon grease or fatback to saute cabbage so I think I started with the vinegar to compensate.

  36. Peter

    The reason for parboiling the cabbage is to get it to wilt down some. Otherwise, you couldn’t get enough in the baking dish – it would collapse down during cooking and there would only be a thin layer of cabbage. I brown my sausage before adding it 9 and some of the grease) to the cabbage. Tastes and looks better. I generally add some caraway to it for an Eastern European flavor.

  37. Christine

    Check out “Canada Goose” (brand) jackets – and with our dollar being so low against yours they are much more affordable!!

  38. Rebecca

    There is a restaurant near me that used to have a beet salad with feta and a pistachio vinaigrette – bet it would enable you to enjoy beets!

  39. Deborah Nelson

    We used to make a similar but easier dish. Sautéed hamburger or sausage with onions, add parboiled cubed potatoes, stir in raw shredded cabbage. All in a big skillet. Ate with ketchup. We called it ” peasant food” and it was a great favorite.

  40. Kate

    I decided to make this with red cabbage since the green ones at my grocery were MONSTROUS. Silly quandry but do red cabbages have fewer leaves than green? I bought a 2 pound red cabbage but my layers were pretty thin in the baking dish. I even decided to use half the amount of sausage because there was so little cabbage!

  41. ila

    If you add semi-cooked rice to the picture (which will use up some of the juices),
    you have a mega cabbage roll. So much less work than rolling a zillion choux farcis!!
    The parchment between casserole and foil should become a rule: some vegetables (especially acid ones like tomatoes) bite into foil. And eating aluminum is not good for you!

  42. Lauren

    If you eat it with good bread and whole grain mustard, it basically becomes a deconstructed bierock! I love this idea–all of the taste and a lot less work!

  43. Lisa

    What’s with the ugly food dishes lately? I usually check in here to your blog for some delicious looking recipes that sound good. But these last few recipes you’ve posted here lately have been, to put it nicely, disgusting to look at and sound unpalatable.

  44. Nicole

    This will be this weekend’s blizzard food! And luckily, since the grocery lines are 10 deep and all the food is gone from the shelves, I have everything in the house to make it!

  45. Lynne

    I make a similar dish but it is cooked on the stovetop, covered, with some onion, carrots, celery sautéed with the cabbage and sausage. I also add a can of cannellini beans, garlic, spices (thyme and sage are good) and a splash of vinegar at he end. I like my veggies crisp tender so it takes only a half hour or so,

  46. Adrianne Collins

    Love this idea. I so far have not found a cooked cabbage recipe I like, but I have yet to try it cooked this long. And with as easy/inexpensive as this dish is, what’s to lose in trying it. Thanks for sharing!!

  47. SallyO

    I’m not really a fan of cabbage and sausage dishes, and I’m trying to cut down on the saturated fats, so when I saw this recipe, I kind of tucked it away in my mind for future reference. What it DID do, however, was get me seriously jonse-ing on some stuffed cabbage rolls. And lookee here, you CONVENIENTLY (a la Church Lady) linked the recipe for said cabbage rolls on this post. I couldn’t help myself, I had a pound of ground turkey and I made your mother in law’s rolls with it. Its on the stove now as we speak, smelling like heaven on this ridiculously cold day while we all ponder the coming snowpocalypse here in DC. Thanks again Deb for giving me what I need. Btw, your little gingersnap gets more insanely gorgeous with each pic and Jacob looks like such a proud brother, Mazel.

  48. Janice

    Marcella Hazan’s “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” has the most wonderful braised cabbage recipe (I use savoy), that is also used in her braised cabbage soup! It’s also delicious atop sourdough bread slathered with butter. If you’re into these typed of recipes for the snow that’s to come, I suggest you look into this. You won’t be disappointed!

  49. Julie

    This sounds wonderful–while you’re at it with the cabbage and sausage, can I offer the following twist? Same cabbage, Chinese sweet sausage (weichuan is my favorite brand), soy sauce, sesame & vegetable oil for the butter, and a splash of black vinegar after you take it out of the oven. If I could eat it forever, I would.

  50. Sarah

    Why would you use savoy cabbage? They’re nowhere near as sweet as the drumhead kind (coming from a strong cabbage enthusiast.)

  51. I made this when the NYT printed the recipe a few weeks ago. It was DISGUSTING. Totally inedible. The cabbage turns mealy and the sausages have the life cooked out of them. Sausages and cabbage are a great idea, don’t get me wrong, and your recipes usually rock. But this dish was so bad, and I followed the recipe to the letter, that I tossed it out and we ate sandwiches for dinner.

  52. Megan

    Regarding ugly food, I wouldn’t say any of the recent recipes were, and some, like the blood orange ricotta cake, were downright spectacular. Ugly is in the eye of the beholder, as is “unpalatable.” I cannot wait to make this.

  53. Nilu

    I made this with the addition of some boiled potatoes to the casserole it and it was so yummy and easy to make. I saw the pictures and I thought “wow, Yumm”–so definitely in the eye of the beholder. Thanks, Deb!

  54. Eliza

    Excellent! I never have the motivation to make cabbage rolls or other such labor-intensive items…but have been inundated with cabbage this winter in my CSA box. What’s a girl gotta do to get some kale around here?! That’s a winter green too, right?!

  55. deb

    Sausage — Goes in raw! I promise I would tell you if it needed to be cooked first. :)

    Servings — 6 to 8, now added.

    Parboiling the cabbage — Is because it’s such a massive volume, it would otherwise not fit in the pan. (I believe someone else responded as much, thank you.)

    Then rinsing it under cold water — Right, right, that doesn’t make much sense. We should have a talk with Grigson about this. ;)

    Sarah — I used the cabbage recommended, and also I rather like it. (Plus, I use it for stuffed cabbage, which this plays off of.) From Grigson: “One can use a Savoy or a Dutch cabbage; or a Chinese cabbage for greater delicacy. Adjust the blanching and cooking times accordingly.” I am going to presume that Chinese = napa and Dutch = white or green.

    Elnora — I’d think this would do well in a slow-cooker.

    Lisa — Not all delicious food is pretty. (Not all delightful people are pretty either, not all good books have great covers…) Both of the recent “ugly” dishes were an intentional celebration of foods that taste better than they look.

    alison — No reason not to use olive oil instead of butter.

    Marcella Hazan’s Smothered Cabbage — I agree, is wonderful.

    Beets — I like to mention that every year or so on this site to stir things up. I find them fruity and inky. I won’t spit them out (I promise, I’m a total grownup about foods I don’t like) but I will never cook or eat them by choice. And yes, I’m still married to a Russian. :)

  56. Tamar

    This dish reminds me of the poitevin cabbage parcels in the French Market Cookbook (same author as the chocolate&zucchini website). It is also a cabbage casserole of sorts, though with eggs and a variety of other greens; I love using up sundry greens in the fridge this way. She also recommends eating it with mustard! Maybe the two dishes are related?

  57. Karyn

    My Polish mom used Kielbasa, cut up a granny apple in slices (don’t know why but she said it was her secret ingredient), and threw in cooked bow tie noodles. yum!!

  58. Erin

    It’s not cold in my part of Canada, but unbelievably wet! This is a perfect remedy, especially as another commenter pointed out, vegetables are outrageously expensive in Canada these days. Turnips, cabbage, and potatoes for everyone!

  59. Cathy

    This is in my oven as I type this! Can’t wait to try it! Made your chicken chili yesterday for the second time in the past two weeks. You’ve never steered me wrong!

  60. Shelley

    Okay — in my oven , also! In an effort to stay organic with the choices at my local co-op I ended up using savoy cabbage and a Kentucky Proud ‘Zesty Italian Sausage’…
    Hoping for a delicious dinner as the Winter Storm Warning gets going here : )

  61. Sandy

    This comment is unrelated to this particular recipe, but I just had to vent! For the last time, I swear, I foolishly made a delicious-looking cupcake recipe from what I’d call a fun, yet frivolous “cooking” website. Sigh. The baking time was way off, and in the end, they just did not turn out. I feel like I wasted all my good ingredients and time. Not to mention the disappointment of looking forward to something delicious and ending up with nothing. I swear, in 2016, there shall be no more trusting other websites!! I’m sticking with you, Deb. :)

  62. Stefanie

    A great accompaniment to this is a sauce made from caramelized chestnuts. I can get the French skinned pre-cooked vacuum-packed kind here, which saves a lot of work. You make a fairly dark caramel and tip in the chestnuts and swirl them round until covered in caramel, then fill up with some broth and cook through until you have the consistency you like in a sauce. Chestnuts and cabbage are in love with each other! :-)

  63. Tim

    Deb, have you ever had beet and ricotta ravioli? I find they taste much more like corn when mixed with something creamy. In fact, I thought beets were vile until I had them this way. Now my favorite ice cream flavor to make is beet ice cream. (I just shred raw beets and steep them in the warm milk/cream for 5 minutes, then discard, no roasting required).

  64. Amy

    Oh wow! I just made this for dinner with fresh chicken sausage from Fairway (removed from casings), and it was great. Amazing that it’s so simple. Liberal salting is key, as you said, but I think so is getting the cabbage as dry as possible. I put it in my salad spinner once it was cool. Had it with crusty bread and a funky mustard, as you suggested, and we loved it.

  65. Abby-Wan Kenobi

    Love this idea. For the slow-cooker fanatics- I recently did a pork roast in my crock pot and used a quartered head of cabbage in place of a rack to keep the roast out of the drippings. I poured a half a beer in for flavor and the cabbage slow cooked in beer and pork fat. AMAZING flavor. The roast was good, the cabbage stole the show.

  66. deb

    I love stuffed or unstuffed cabbage, but that boiling step is pesky. Two alternatives: either microwaving or freezing and thawing will wilt without all that hot water.

  67. I woke up Tuesday thinking, ” I need to use up that oldish cabbage and past due date sausage in my fridge.” I looked on my email and there was your recipe using both! Serendipity and synchronicity! I used veggie sausage BTW. It was delish.

  68. trasheed

    There were so many comments i didn’t go through them all, but I assume you know the Marcella Hazan venetian smothered cabbage, with or without the rice….

  69. Jenn

    I’m going to make this one soon! One more cabbage must try: Arthur Schwartz’s “Jewish Home Cooking” Cabbage and Noodles recipe–cabbage is sauteed for a long time until it is a dark brown color. Heavenly!

  70. Celeste

    I made this this afternoon – though not a cooked cabbage eater – and I loved it. I cut the recipe in half again, and baked it in a mini foil pan , 5-23/32 in x 3-5/16 in. x 1-7/7 in. and put another pan, same size in the freezer. I had enough cabbage left that tomorrow, I will use some keilbasa on hand, to make a 2nd pan for the freezer. I baked it at 300 degrees, as written, but reduced the time to 1 hour and 30 min..I uncovered it for the last half hour. It seemed done to me. It tasted good, but I was afraid of not having it well seasoned, so I probably over did the salt and pepper.
    There was quite a bit of liquid in the pan, but I think it might be fat from the sausage.
    I put the pan in the refrigerator so I can tell in the morning.

  71. Bahb

    Well this was a super dinner tonight, served with some leftover mashed potatoes instead of crusty bread. The Dijon mustard on the side was a genius inspiration, thank you very much.

    I diced the cabbage, put it in a colander and dunked it in boiling water for about 5 minutes, then drained it good and added it to the frying pan in which the sausage was frying, all because I forgot to start cooking 3 hours earlier and had nothing else planned for dinner. I gave it a splash of wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and about a half teaspoon of sugar. Next time I’ll try the slow-cook, though this dinner didn’t take more than 20 minutes to cook and was really, really good.

    What I love so much about your blog is that I can depend on your recipes to be unique, mostly healthy and mostly easy on the budget. Thanks so much, Deb!

  72. Bahb

    Sorry, I forgot to mention that I took the casings off the Italian sausage and cut them into half inch slices before frying. There wasn’t enough fat to bother pouring it off before adding the cabbage. And by the way, I used red cabbage because it’s what I had on hand. I’m making myself hungry for more right now, it was so good.

  73. AnnieD

    I made this! It’s DELICIOUS. And I needed to buy only 2 ingredients, cabbage and sausage. Wow.

    The bulk Italian sausage had all the spice we needed. Just added salt, pepp and butter to the cabbage after boiling it, adding s/p until the cabbage tasted great.

    Yeah, this wasn’t pretty to look at (as you warned us!), but it is sooooo satisfying.

  74. Diana

    Just made this tonight. So simple! So easy. So incredibly delicious. Followed the recipe exactly as Deb laid out and really wouldn’t dare change a single thing.

  75. Kathryn

    Love slow cooked cabbage with olive oil, ginger and lots of black pepper. Would replace with veal sausages though. I’m always traumatised in January from the traditional Austrian Christmas meal of Bratwurst with Sauerkraut. My MIL insists on adding bacon bits into the sauerkraut so for a non-pork eating daughter in law it’s not a fun experience. This year, I ate exactly nothing…

  76. Given yesterday’s Snowzilla storm in the northeast, it seemed the perfect day to try this recipe. Worked great but I made a few tweaks to boost the flavors, make it vegetarian, and add some color. I added some thinly sliced fennel with the cabbage (next time I might try not boiling them together but leaving the cabbage raw), caramelized some onions for an additional layer, and used vegetarian sausage. Really, really tasty. I found mine cooked quicker, but that may have been because I made a smaller casserole. Check out the full recipe at the link!

  77. Ann

    Snowstorms call for comfort food! I had a head of cabbage from my farm share and was uninspired until I saw this recipe. Well, it was a hit with my husband and 17-year-old daughter. And I loved it too!

  78. Interesting…maybe I over-blanched my cabbage, but mine didn’t nearly fill the pan the way yours did. Still, smells delicious and I have some homemade mustard and a big loaf of black bread just begging to join the party :-) I added some sauteed onions and it smelled just like my Polish grandmother’s house during a family dinner–all this needed was some homemade egg dumplings and it’s liked baked haluski.

    And so glad someone mentioned the Hazan smothered cabbage! That’s the cookbook we picked for my next cookbook club dinner and I was just trying to decide what to make. That or the entire dessert chapter.

  79. Rachel

    Just for the record, I tried the red cabbage+bratwurst combo with added bratwurst seasoning, caraway seeds, mustard and a little apple cider vinegar and how wow was it good! Clearly the answer to a winter bratwurst craving!

  80. AnnieD

    I just made this a second time, to take to my sister and her husband along with some soup I made This time, I did not bake in the oven for 2+ hours. I used a large sauce pan on my stovetop. Again delicious, perhaps less complex as there was not a lot of time for the sausage flavors to saturate completely through the cabbage.
    I used less butter. Almost no salt because my sister is on a big campaign to eat less salt.
    You know, in winter, I crave “peasant food” like onion soup, cabbage with sausage, etc.–not haute cuisine!
    This cabbage casserole is SO easy and simple. Is it the best mind-blowing meal I ever had? Probably not. But it was satisfying and exactly what hit the spot on this cold winter day.

  81. Karen

    I made this last night and it did stink up the apartment! But it was delicious. I made a half recipe for my two-person household and ate it will whole-grain mustard like Deb says. So good.

  82. Michelle

    It pains me to write this, but this was not good at all. . . I found the grease from the sausage really off-putting. And this is from someone who ADORES Smitten Kitchen and has hosted many a brunch, lunch, and dinner party based solely on SK recipes. . . sadly, even my husband (who will eat anything) agreed that we had to toss it in the trash.

  83. Amy

    Sad to say, but I agree with Michelle. I made this over the weekend, and I LOVE cabbage in about any form – cooked (fast or slow), pickled, slaw-ed, the whole nine yars. But apparently I do NOT like it cooked with sausage. I ate one bite and guiltily disposed of the rest.
    This will not stop my love of Smitten Kitchen, though! Not your fault that it wasn’t my cup of tea!

  84. Haley

    My fiancé and I just finished eating this. It was so, SO nice (he’s British, and we’re living in England…so we adore sausage and cabbage). I made it in my 4.1L oval Le Creuset, and I halved-ish the recipe (200g Lincolnshire sausages, 300g savoy cabbage), steamed the cabbage for about four minutes (though I’d forgo this step in the future, as my pot was plenty big), and added some chilli flake for a bit of a kick. Cooked it covered for an hour and ten minutes, then uncovered for the last ten minutes while I finished mashing the potatoes. A few tips:

    1. I really recommend cooking it in a covered dutch oven…it won’t turn grey because you don’t have to worry about foil. Plus, the crispy brown bits that form in a Le Creuset are just *divine.*
    2. I think I’ve seen the original Grigson recipe, and I’m fairly sure it calls for Lincolnshire or Cumberland sausages, which are *very* different from Italian sausages. If you can get your hands on these (herby, sagey pork sausages), I really recommend you use them. They just go perfectly with cabbage.

    Definitely making this again :)

  85. Susan

    Luscious fabulous! The right sausage is key. I had about four choices at my local grocery. I chose the leanest pork based Italian with fennel seed. Had some wonderful multi-grain super seedy crusty rolls and grainy mustard with dill.
    I think I’ll try chicken or turkey sausages next time.
    Immediately a new favorite. THANK YOU!

  86. Andrea

    OK…I finally made this – I am very Eastern European (if your people wandered through Western Ukraine at some point in the last millennia – I’m one of you)…but I generally don’t like cabbage. This cabbage braise…just as the recipe is written, is very, very good. Thank-you Deb! I no longer feel I am an embarrassment to my people – whomever they might be! I like cabbage!

  87. Dee

    Made it – it was great! Yes, some changes. Chopped the cabbage and did not blanch as it did fit in my dutch oven (as suggested by someone). Sautéed the sausage slightly to get rid of some of the fat, due to health concerns.As I sautéed, I threw in some chopped sage from my garden and some fennel seeds as the sausage was plain. Worried about cooking unblanched cabbage, I added about a 1/2 cup of broth I had just made. Put the cover on and baked as suggested. Wow! Wish I had made double the amount. A winner.

  88. Carol

    I just had this for dinner, and I will definitely make this again! I followed the directions very closely, using spicy Italian sausage. The texture of the cabbage and sausage was incredible. The cabbage turns out silky soft, and the sausage was tender and moist. I love sauteed and roasted cabbage, too, but this is something special.

  89. Ann

    I made this last weekend and WOW, it was so good. My husband and daughter loved it. I will definitely make again. Thanks for another great recipe!

  90. Madeleine

    tried this recipe last week, it was a complete success ! Being French, I used smoked sausage I bought at the charcutier. I wanted to find maybe some Morteau sausage, but it was nowhere to be found.
    I doubled your quantities, and it fed 6 adults.

  91. Susan V.

    We basically make this recipe, but pour cream over the cabbage/Italian sausage, then sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses before baking. We eat it over pasta and all love it! It’s a winter staple in our house.

  92. Steph G. – SF

    This recipe struck a chord, and I made it immediately. In my haste, I set the oven too hot. (350 is the default temp.) I looked at 2 hours and thought it was burnt and ruined. Instead the cabbage had caramelized in the fat on the bottom of the pan and was alternately crispy or totally, meltingly tender. It was delicious – a very happy accident. Am not sure what to set the temp at this time! :) Thanks for another great recipe that fit the bill on a crazy life day.

  93. Margaret

    I made this tonight and it was Delicious. I ran out of time so I cooked it at 350 for about an hour and a half. The cabbage came out very soft and caramelized. Some of the best cabbage I’ve ever had. Hooray for winter vegetables!

  94. Elisabeth

    In our house there is a saying: “Deb never lets me down!” and it is true, even for cabbage casserole. I added apples and used deer sausage and it is wonderful comfort food as we settle in for another blizzard in western NC. Also- the chard pancakes and blood orange cake were perfect! I can’t wait to make both again. As a note about the chard pancakes – i used 1 cup bobs red mill gf flour, 1 cup almond flour & 1/2 cup arrowroot and it worked GREAT for a gluten free version (sorry, I am a mom of two littles and only have 5 minutes while the toast makes to comment and don’t want to skip back to the pancake page)

  95. Deanna

    Made this over the weekend and it was even more delicious than I expected! Couldn’t find Savoy cabbage, so I used, um, whatever you call the single kind of cabbage they sell at Publix. Also used bulk roll sausage instead of Italian sausage. I’ll be making this again!

  96. Elly

    The night I saw this recipe I had the ingredients, but not the time – so I made it stovetop. It’s easy enough to first brown the sausage, then add the cabbage and seasonings and cook over medium-ish heat until the cabbage texture is to your liking. The cabbage releases its juice and as long as you salt and pepper as you go, it’s quite good!

    The next time I made it, I had the hankering to add tomatoes, and ended up making something like a deconstructed Italian Stuffed Cabbage, including Italian herbs and a bit of bread soaked in milk and mashed up. Even better!

  97. Caroline

    Update: The Napa cabbage worked just fine. I used chicken sausage as well which was quite tasty and makes the dish quite healthy :)

  98. Aisha

    Although I don’t share your distaste for beets, your description was hilariously accurate and had me laughing out loud at my phone screen. My husband gave me his “this-crazy-woman’s-my-wife” look…
    And so I tried this recipe last night. We don’t have sweet italian sausage over here, and anyway, we didn’t have a shred of meat in the house. But a head of cabbage and crusty homemade sourdough and cold-ish weather, we did have. So this recipe had to happen. I cooked up a batch of lentils (mix of green and brown) that I seasoned with spices you’d find in Italian sausage (lots of fennel seeds and garlic, a bit of parsley, a bit of paprika and allspice). I didn’t bother blanching the cabbage because I was going to cook the dish in my Dutch oven, which was deep enough to hold it all (ok, I did kinda squish the layers down with my hands and the Dutch oven lid). I did add the tiniest bit of a fermented tomato sauce that I make at home just to increase the umami, meaty flavor.
    It turned out absolutely beautiful and delicious. A very hearty meal, delicate flavors but strong enough to be satisfying. The cabbage was soft and sweet with just enough bite in it. The lentils worked very well as a meat substitute (and were delicious on their own as well) and the Dutch oven was perfect to cook in (done in two hours, no fiddling with foil and parchment, bonus crispy bits on the top as another commenter mentioned).

    Thanks again for the endless inspiration :)

  99. msgirlchibi

    This sounds absolutely amazing
    I sure my family will love this, too. I think I’ll plan to make it next weekend. Thanks for sharing.

  100. S.M.

    I made this last night, and it was delicious. Hard to believe all the flavour that comes from just a few ingredients. I used a mix of sweet and hot Italian sausage, and might do all hot next time. Also added a thinly sliced onion to the cabbage. Deb is right — don’t skimp on the pepper. It’s absolutely crucial (I left the salt out as all I had was salted butter, and because my sausage was well-seasoned). Served with homemade sourdough rye bread and hot mustard, it was the perfect stormy night dinner.

    I made the full recipe (4lbs of savoy cabbage, 2lbs of sausage) and baked in two trays. After the initial 2hrs, I pulled one out to cool/freeze and continued baking the second without a cover.

  101. I made this back at the beginning of last year when you posted this and was charmed. It’s been almost a full year but here I am again – it’s in the oven and I’m impatient for it to come out. I’m pregnant again and I had A Taste for it.

    This always smells truly awful in the oven, to me, but I cannot wait to get it into my mouth.

  102. Anna

    I have a bunch of quartered, blanched, and frozen cabbage in my freezer. Would there be any change to the cooking time, seeing as it will be fairly limp once it’s thawed?
    I was thinking I’d thaw and drain it well, try and shred it a bit more, and proceed as usual. Thoughts?

    1. deb

      Yes, but it’s of course going to be different. I find it to have a more lettuce-y texture because of the wider center parts. Doesn’t mean it won’t taste good.

  103. This is stunningly delicious, unbelievably so. I used sweet Italian sausage, Savoy cabbage, and did not skimp on the butter, and would gladly make it again. The whole dish melts in your mouth in the most luscious way, and the complexity of the flavor is astounding. Perfect cold-weather dinner!

  104. First time commenter and long time reader- I couldn’t hold back commenting on this recipe! I’m kind of baffled by it, it’s like some kind of magic happens. I used a small head of savoy and a pack of 97% meat chipolatas, no butter, didn’t precook cabbage and layered it all with three sliced apples in my Le Creuset. Cooked for only 1.5 hours and it was amazing. Baked some potatoes at the same time to serve alongside. My boys gobbled it up and gave rave reviews. Definitely a keeper- give it a try! Thank you Deb for so many great recipes!

  105. carolyn foster

    Love this site so much and am a cabbage lover. If I were to make this recipe again, after boiling the cabbage I would squeeze out ALL excess water. (draining wasn’t enough) Otherwise, you’ll have a soupy mess which will affect flavor and texture of sausage. Looking forward to making this adjustment.

    1. Grace

      Ah, thanks for mentioning this! I made this recently and mine was very, very wet. I used green cabbage–all I could find–so I wondered if that had something to do with it, too. I’ll try squeezing next time! At least I didn’t find the flavor was put off – still nice and rich with cabbage fully sausage flavored. Perhaps a bit less bite to the sausage. But the leftover juices were divine soaked up with bread so no one minded too much around here!

  106. Wendy H.

    This dish was so good COLD, for lunch at my desk, in the middle of SUMMER. Do still toast the bread and you can enjoy this recipe all year round. Hooray for leftovers!

  107. Jason

    Made this two nights ago. Love how simple it is, really doesnt need anything at all. Personally, I would add a bunch more cabbage next time. Love it slathered on the bread too, I used toasted Rye with a whole grain mustard with horseradish, super delicious!

  108. Amelia

    I’ve made this many times, adding some shredded cheese and breadcrumbs to the top for some crunch and color. I also do not parcook the cabbage, I just layer it in the baking dish with the sausage raw. It’s SO GOOD and tastes so much better than it should.

  109. Sandra Goldsby

    My Croatian friends just freeze the cabbage. When you remove it, it is wilted and ready for both casseroles and for rolling cabbage rolls!

    1. Jack

      I tried this and it works really well when making stuffed cabbage leaves. I separated the leaves individually prior to freezing, then let them thaw before stuffing and baking. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out to freeze the whole head. Thanks for sharing

  110. val smallwood

    This was so easy and so delicious. The sausage and cabbage were so tender almost melted in my mouth. I will make this over & over again. Great for low carb diet as well. Thank you!

  111. Lauren

    I love this dish. I’ve made it two times now. It’s amazingly simple with so few ingredients, yet it comes out so creamy and flavorful. The grainy mustard is a must. Thanks Deb!

    My only critique is that I only think it serves 2 to 3 people at most, if this & a piece of crusty bread is all you are eating :)

  112. Melissa

    I brought this to a potluck and everyone raved about it. I added grated parsnip and carrots because I had extra from my farm share, and it was really great. Def don’t skip the mustard-y bread!

  113. Melissa K.

    This was divine. I halved the recipe and cooked it in a 7×11 pan for 1.5hrs covered, 15 mins uncovered. I used chicken sausage and green cabbage (all my farmers market had), plus some fresh sourdough and mustard. I could eat this every night, and it’s especially great for an easy winter meal. Make sure you squeeze out the cabbage, not just drain it – it really helped to have minimal liquid in the bottom.

  114. Erica

    Delicious! I was feeling lazy so didn’t blanch the cabbage first, and it turned out just fine. I threw some red potatoes in the oven alongside, and they were lovely–crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Definitely a dish to make again!

  115. EGT

    It looks like someone else asked this, but I don’t think you had a chance to answer…. What do you think about cooking this, freezing it, then thawing and reheating? I would really like to make it in advance!

  116. Julia

    HI Deb,

    I know we JUST entered September, but I couldn’t wait any longer and made this today. I’m amazed that a 4 ingredient dish can be SO good!

    There wasn’t any savoy cabbage at the grocery store, so I used the regular green round cabbage that they had. I got andouille to go with it as well. I am rather glad I cooked all of the cabbage instead of half, like I originally planned, since I am on my second serving of this!

    If you had a keto category, I think this could be added to it. I ate it without the bread: just filled a bowl of cabbage and then put an egg over the top.

    Thank you for this recipe!

  117. Katherine

    Hi Deb and all. I’m considering adding a bunch of collards that need to be used. Any thoughts on 1. If this would be tasty and 2. whether they should be included from the start, or added in at later time during the bake?


    1. Katherine

      I added them in at the start, chopped and mixed in with the cabbage. It was great. I used red cabbage bc I had one, and did not parboil it at all. No troubles, no extra liquid. Tasty and easy. Next time I might add some sliced onion.

  118. Amanda

    I made this last night, and it was fantastic! We are currently under a shelter-in-place order for Covid-19, so I’m trying to minimize my grocery store runs and use what I have in the house. I had half a head of Napa cabbage (not the recommended green or Savoy) that weighed 2 pounds. I didn’t have any Italian sausage, but I did have some chicken and apple sausage and some vegan Italian sausage (my teenager is vegetarian). So I sliced that up and put half on one side and half on the other. I added extra butter to make up for the lack of fat in the sausage. I was very surprised that the vegan sausage side tasted better than the chicken sausage, but maybe that was the sweet vs. savory flavors. In any case, this was a big hit with my family and it seems to be a very flexible recipe!

  119. Jens

    If anything screams quarantine comfort food, this is it! Like other reviewers I did not bother parboiling the cabbage; I’m not sure why that’s needed here (I used green cabbage). I also added a half of a yellow onion and a few small potatoes that I needed to use up. Grainy mustard and bread a must. YUM! Will make it again and again.

  120. leslie modena

    I have made this dish so many times. Agree not many are impressed with it but I am definitely a fan! Prefer hot Italian sausage!

  121. When I first saw this in the NYTimes, I thought it just wouldn’t work. Was I ever wrong! It’s the best, most soothing meal I can imagine. Mixed hot and sweet sausage, and make it regularly. It also freezes well.

  122. Corinne Iris Flax

    Made this exactly as directed and it turned out absolutely perfect. Amazing how salt, pepper and butter can coax the best out of humble ingredients. Only difference was that I used chicken sausage (raw Italian chicken sausage that I squeezed out of the casings).

  123. Hannah

    Do you by any chance have a photo of the “latest layer is meat; time to salt, pepper and dot with butter” phase? I wasn’t exactly startled, let alone deterred, but the state of affairs had a certain Look to it that made me wish a little for reassurance. It’s in the oven now and I’m fairly optimistic.

  124. Lynne Rossi

    This has been a great easy recipe during this past year when I’ve not wanted to go to the grocery store as often. I stow packages of ground sausage in the freezer, and cabbage keeps for weeks. I’ve altered the recipe over time. Now my favorite version is to layer in sliced yellow onions with the cabbage layers and alternate with two layers of thinly sliced yellow potatoes sprinkled with paprika. I skip the bread. I also don’t bother to boil the cabbage beforehand. I find it only takes two hours to bake. A one-pot dinner that is delicious and hearty.

  125. Rose

    Thanks for reminding me of this dish. I came across it a while back and I wanted to try it, but didn’t do it that day and forgot about it. This morning I picked up cabbage and sausages. It’s in the oven right now and i can’t wait for dinner. Anything with cabbage in it is my kind of dish.

  126. Vwa

    This is one of my favorite ways to cook cabbage. Very easy yet delicious. I usually use regular cabbage, do not bother with parboil and use a Dutch oven. Sometimes the bottom or sides get a bit brown but it makes it even more delicious.

  127. mjo

    Good comfort food! A few hours before, I blanched the cabbage leaves with boiling water from my kettle. Then after they cooled, I squeezed them out individually with paper towels which was a little tedious but didn’t take super long, and the end result was not watery at all. I used half a green cabbage (what I had on hand) and 13 oz sausage (needed to use that up) and felt like those proportions were perfect for me. I also threw in a green apple, but I sliced it very thinly and it just disappeared. Next time I think I’ll do a thickly sliced apple. Added plenty of black and red pepper, sprinkled a little gouda on top at the end and broiled for a few minutes because everything is better with cheese. Served with fresh WW bread with very strong mustard.

  128. Marianne Evans

    I just finished eating this wonderful casserole. But will it feed 6-8? NO! Unless you eat a lot of bread with it. Having a one pound cabbage, I halved the recipe and it was barely enough for 2 with a greek salad. No bread. I am NOT a big eater.

    My addition was a panko topping of panko, parm and chopped parsley. Quite a lot of it. Fabulous. I will make it again.

  129. Maro

    This was so simple and hearty without being heavy — absolutely delicious. The mustard really gives it a rounded flavor. We will be making this one again soon!