This whole roasted cabbage is the pièce de résistance of winter vegetable month here on TNB. Hadley (my superstar intern) and I have been developing this recipe for the past couple of weeks, and I’m so excited and proud to finally share it with you!
Allow me to start by saying this is one of the freakiest-looking things that’ll ever come out of your oven – but also one of the most delicious. This whole roasted cabbage has a deeply savory, caramelized outer layer and a sweet, chewy interior, with a rich gravy served alongside.
Between the smoked paprika-mustard glaze, the mushroom-tomato sauce, and the charred edges, this cabbage has the vibe of stuffed cabbage rolls, but with considerably less fuss. It’s the perfect “meaty” vegan main, especially for when you need to impress guests.
Cabbage is the poster child of sad winter vegetables, isn’t it? It’s a sort of forgotten-about, bottom-of-the-barrel veg many of us rarely see outside of coleslaw. It’s 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.
I found a couple of versions online and they all used the same technique: season a head of cabbage, roast it for a couple of hours, serve it with a sauce.
On our first attempt, the cabbage was 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 we thought, why don’t we 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 on the inside, too.
Lastly, we decided to stuff garlic slices into the cuts to infuse the cabbage with garlicky flavor (just like you would porchetta or pernil).
Cutting into the cabbage before roasting it is the key to making the most flavorful, perfectly-textured whole roasted cabbage.
Roasting a Whole Cabbage
Cooking a whole cabbage in the oven is not unlike roasting a Thanksgiving 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 360º caramelization, which takes one more hour.
Like I said, scoring it is key. 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; this will make it difficult to carve into wedges for serving.
Speaking of, do not carve this thing at the table. Again, like a turkey, this will be messy – more suitable to the kitchen counter than a dining table.
It’s also important to remember to baste. Basting helps the cabbage brown and seasons it throughout.
About the Sauce
This super simple mushroom-tomato sauce is incredibly savory and addictive, and will have you reaching for seconds and thirds, and wondering why you haven’t been eating more cabbage all along.
Much like making gravy from turkey drippings, you reserve the braising liquid from the roasting pan and reduce it with an oil-flour roux after the cabbage is cooked.Print
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