Cabbage Noodles

Cabbage lovers, oh my, you're going to love these soft ribbons of healthy fresh cabbage sautéed in a skillet with onion, tomato and caraway. Thanks to the tomato, the cabbage turns a pretty pink color but what really makes this dish special is the texture. Really and truly, the cabbage turns soft and silky, almost like real noodles. Really.Truly. Move over, zucchini noodles! Make room for Cabbage Noodles!

Real Food, Fresh & Flexible. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Cal. Low Carb. Naturally Gluten Free. Vegetarian, Easily Made Vegan. Great for Meal Prep.
Cabbage Noodles ♥, ribbons of fresh healthy cabbage cooked in a skillet until soft and silky, almost like noodles. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Vegetarian, Easily Vegan.

Cabbage Noodles vs Zucchini Noodles

So we've all heard of spiralized "noodles" made from zucchini, right? "Zoodles" they're called some times. Zucchini noodles cook in just a few minutes and are a lovely low-carb addition to a meal, something on the side or something to build around.

But zucchini noodles are a little bit tricky. The zucchini need to be the right size, not too big and not too small. And if a zucchini turns out to be a bit spongy, forget it, no noodles. Most of all, zucchini noodles require some sort of special equipment: some spiral devices are small and tuck into a drawer but others are downright bulky.

Cabbage Noodles need none of that!

Just use a sharp knife to cut a whole cabbage into ribbons, it takes just a minute or two, no special equipment. In a pinch, you can even use a bag of cut-up cabbage slaw, so convenient!


Whole Cabbage or Bag of Coleslaw

This week’s recipe comes from the far-north country of Finland where once upon a time, before the marvel of the modern food distribution system, the selection of fresh vegetables became sparse during long winters.

Cabbage was a winter-vegetable standby – but here it's cooked in a skillet on the stove with tomato, onion and caraway. Sautéed in butter, the cabbage softens until almost noodle-like in texture, though more flavorful.

If you’re in a rush, use a bag of pre-cut coleslaw cabbage. That said, chopping up a cabbage yourself just before cooking seems to better release the cabbage’s own natural sweetness. You can, however, successfully substitute fennel seed for caraway and canned tomatoes for fresh.

This is one of my oldest recipes, brought home from Finland where I lived for a year as an exchange student. Terve – enjoy!


(formerly called Caraway Cabbage)
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 50 minutes
Makes 6 cups
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or up to 4 tablespoons butter, or olive oil for vegan)
  • 1 head green cabbage, chopped (about 10 cups, 750g)
  • 1 onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups) or a 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons (yes, tablespoons ...) caraway seed (or fennel)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

On medium heat, melt the butter in a large, heavy pot like a Dutch oven. Add the cabbage and onion as they're prepped. Cook, turning occasionally, until the cabbage is limp but not brown.

Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until the cabbage reaches the desired softness; I like it somewhere between still-crisp and noodle-soft.

Serve hot. Easily made ahead of time, just gently rewarm, hydrating with a splash of water if needed.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half Cup: 54 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 5mg Cholesterol; 33mg Sodium; 9g Carb; 2g Fiber; 6g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 1 & SmartPoints 3 & Freestyle 1 & myWW green 1 & blue 1 & purple 1
Adapted from The Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas. That's the original edition, the cookbook my Finnish mother gifted to my own mother the year I was an exchange student in Finland. It is a faithful representation of authentic Finnish cuisine, adapted for American ingredients and measurements. There's also a newer edition of The Finnish Cookbook. My Disclosure Promise

More Cabbage Recipes

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Baked Cabbage Wedges Holy Slaw! Mexican Pizza (Oaxaca Tlayuda)
~ more cabbage recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ Swedish Red Cabbage ~
~ Mighty Perfect Cabbage & Broccoli Coleslaw ~
~ Peasant Cabbage Tomato Soup ~
~ more cabbage recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

More Finnish Recipes

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Homemade Finnish Mustard Finnish Meatballs Zucchini Spiral 'Noodle' Salad
~ more Finnish recipes ~

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ cabbage ~
~ tomatoes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2004, 2006 (online), 2010, 2015, 2018, 2019 & 2020 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/21/2007

    Alanna - I love anything combining cabbage and caraway, so I've added this recipe to the list of things to cook during this holiday season (we don't celebrate Thanksgiving here, but Christmas is soon approaching and your caraway cabbage would make a nice alternative to the more usual caraway sauerkraut!)


  2. It may be a Finnish recipe, but it's also a North German one. :-)

  3. I have a cabbage and I have been craving something like stuffed cabbage but my family is not a fan. I am so excited to try this. It looks delish.

  4. Anonymous12/01/2011

    Alanna, I partook in a fall vegetable CSA and was e-veggie-inundated! Used the celeriac, 4 butternut squash, 2 stalks of brussel sprouts, several bags of cipollini onions and fingerling potatoes, a red cabbage, a napa cabbage, and lots of beets - BUT two cabbages are still residing in my fridge, and I am SO relieved to find this recipe! Thanks! I plan on using your site for more "use 'em!" inspirations.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna