This whole roasted cabbage has a crispy, caramelized exterior and soft, silky interior, and comes with a super-savory tomato-mushroom gravy. Made with easy-to-find ingredients, it’s an impressive vegetable main course for festive gatherings.
Cabbage is the poster child of sad winter vegetables, isn’t it? It’s sort of a forgotten-about, bottom-of-the-barrel veg many of us rarely see outside of coleslaw. A cheap peasant food staple loved in places like Russia, Ireland, and various parts of Europe and Asia.
With this recipe, I wanted to unearth this vegetable from the depths of the underworld and give it the spotlight it deserves. After a month of recipe tests, I can honestly say I accomplished that goal, and I’m so excited to share this dish with you.
I first discovered the whole roasted cabbage concept during a mindless Instagram scrolling marathon (you know the type…). As a Ukrainian, I adore cabbage, but have never thought to do this and was very intrigued.
My first course of action was looking at the whole roasted cabbage recipes that were already online. They all used the same technique: season a head of cabbage, roast it for a couple of hours, serve with a sauce.
On my first attempt, the cabbage turned beautiful and the flavor profile was perfect. But while the outside was charred, savory, and addictively delicious, the inside was bland and still had a decent amount of crunch. Then I thought, why don’t I cut into it before roasting?
Scoring the cabbage would allow for more surface area to brown and result in more crisp, caramelized edges (the most delicious part). Secondly, it would allow the mustard glaze to seep into the cuts, seasoning the cabbage from the inside. Lastly, I decided to stuff garlic slices into the cuts to infuse the cabbage with garlicky flavor (just like one would with porchetta or pernil).
Cutting into the cabbage before roasting turned out to be the key to the most flavorful, perfectly-textured whole roasted cabbage. This has a deeply savory, caramelized outer layer with crispy edges and a sweet, silky interior, with a rich tomato-mushroom gravy served alongside.
Between the smoked paprika-mustard glaze, the tomato sauce, and the charred edges, this cabbage has the vibe of stuffed cabbage rolls, but with considerably less fuss. It’s the perfect vegan main course, especially for when you wanna impress your guests (like on Thanksgiving).
Cooking a whole cabbage in the oven is not unlike roasting a turkey. First, you cook it covered with foil for 1 hour – to steam the inside and prevent the outside from browning. Then you remove the foil and continue roasting to get that deep caramelization, which takes another hour.
Prep the Cabbage: Trim a bit off the bottom of the cabbage so it can stand flat. Then make 4 cuts into the cabbage (like cutting a pie into 8 slices). Be sure not to score more than halfway through the cabbage; if you cut too deeply, the cabbage layers will start to unravel in the oven, making it difficult to carve into wedges later. Then tuck some thin garlic slices into the slits.
Make the Glaze: In a small bowl, stir together olive oil, mustard, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Roast the Cabbage (part 1): Stand the cabbage in a baking dish. Pour the glaze over the cabbage and massage to coat it evenly, making sure to tuck most of it into the crevices. Scatter the mushrooms around it and pour some vegetable broth, tomato sauce, and soy sauce into the dish. Cover with foil and roast for 1 hour. (Covering it will trap the steam inside and speed up the cabbage-softening process while preventing the outside from browning too quickly).
Roast the Cabbage (part 2): Remove the cabbage from the oven. Uncover and baste with the mushroom-tomato sauce. Return to the oven and roast uncovered for another hour, basting it once more after 30 minutes.
Make the Gravy: Using 2 forks (or a fork and a spatula), carefully lift the cabbage out of the dish and onto a cutting board. Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet and stir in some flour. Pour the mushroom-tomato sauce into the skillet and whisk to dissolve the flour. Simmer until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes.
“Carve” the Cabbage: Again, much like a Thanksgiving turkey, you should not carve this thing at the table. It will be messy and is better suited to the kitchen counter than the dining table. To serve, cut through the slits, creating 8 wedges. Arrange on a serving platter and drizzle with some of the gravy. Serve alongside extra gravy.
What to Serve With Whole Roasted Cabbage
Whole roasted cabbage functions similarly to a meatloaf or beef roast, and has a gravy similar to one made from turkey drippings. With that said, this works perfectly with mashed potatoes, celeriac puree, or white bean puree.
More winter vegetables this way…
- Roasted Cauliflower with Curried Tahini and Dates
- Russian Fried Potatoes with Mushrooms
- Roasted Carrots with Parsley Pesto
- Carrot Fritters with Lemon Tahini
This deliciously charred whole roasted cabbage has a smoked paprika-mustard glaze and is served with a tomato-mushroom pan gravy.
- 1 head green cabbage
- 2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 2 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
- One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons brown or Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Using a sharp knife, trim the root of the cabbage so it can stand flat. Peel off any withered outer leaves and discard.
- Make 4 cuts through the top of the cabbage (like cutting a pie into 8 slices), slicing no more than halfway down through the cabbage. Tuck the garlic into the cuts.
- Place the cabbage in a 8×8” roasting pan or a deep-dish pie pan. Scatter the mushrooms around and pour in the broth, tomato sauce, and soy sauce.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of the oil, mustard, paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the cabbage, making sure to tuck most of it into the crevices and massaging the rest on the cabbage exterior.
- Cover the pan with foil and roast for 1 hour.
- Uncover and baste the cabbage with the mushroom-tomato sauce. Continue roasting the cabbage, uncovered, until it is dark brown (almost burnt-looking), about 1 more hour, basting one more time after 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Using 2 forks (or a fork and a spatula), carefully transfer the cabbage to a cutting board. Reserve the sauce.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Carefully pour in the mushroom-tomato sauce from the roasting pan and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.
- To serve, slice the cabbage into wedges and drizzle with the sauce.
- Serving Size: 1/8 of the recipe
- Calories: 100
- Fat: 5.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 12.3 g
- Fiber: 4.6 g
- Protein: 3.4 g
Keywords: cabbage, gravy, vegan, roasted, mustard