Polish Stewed Cabbage, also known as Kapusta, is classic, humble old-world comfort food that’s also good for you! Super-versatile as a side dish and also as a main dish when meat or sausage is added or served over egg noodles.
This Polish-inspired side dish is a delicious way to elevate humble, healthful budget-friendly cabbage!
What is kapusta?
Simply put, cabbage!
Kapusta is the Polish word for this healthful, budget-friendly cruciferous vegetable that many Polish and other “old-world” ancestors relied on to get them through long winters and lean times.
Now, before you say, “That’s not how MY Polish grandmother made it!” This recipe probably is not because there are as many variations to Polish-style braised cabbage as there are Polish grandmothers!
I have four Polish cookbooks including one I purchased in Poland, and none had the “definitive” recipe for braised or stewed cabbage.
Meat is sometimes added in the form of kielbasa, bacon or pork and it may have other vegetables like potatoes, carrots or mushrooms. Adding sauerkraut is another variation. Other forms it takes are as a soup or even a casserole. I grew up on a very simple preparation that was little more than cabbage and potatoes.
See? There are as many variations as there are Polish cooks! Since I’m also a Polish cook, here is my version and I hope you’ll love it as much as I do!
How to make Polish Stewed Cabbage (Kapusta):
- Gather and prep your ingredients (see recipe card below for all the details):
- Canola oil (or vegetable oil)
- Paprika (preferably Hungarian)
- Tomato paste
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- Red wine vinegar
- Salt and black pepper
- Parsley (optional so not shown)
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven, heavy large skillet or another deep pan.
- Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften.
- Add the carrot and cook several minutes more.
- Add the garlic and paprika and cook briefly.
- CHEF’S TIP! Paprika is considered a “fat-soluble” spice which means it requires fat for the flavor to “bloom.” Adding it directly to the hot fat early in the cooking process will help to disperse the flavor better throughout the entire dish.
- Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring that to a boil.
- Start adding the cabbage by the handful, letting each addition wilt until you’ve added all the cabbage.
- Cover and let simmer 20-30 minutes, depending upon how cooked you like your cabbage.
- Add a splash of red wine vinegar and season with salt and black pepper.
That’s it! A simple yet healthful side dish or main dish with meat or sausage added. Delicious over buttery egg noodles, too!
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- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 can (15-ounce) petite diced tomatoes (regular diced is fine, too)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 medium head of cabbage, cut into wedges then thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (to taste)
- Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large deep heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. (Do not brown.)
- Add the carrot and cook 2-3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and paprika and cook briefly, 15 seconds or so.
- Add the broth, tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a boil.
- Add the cabbage in handfuls, stirring to wilt the cabbage until you have room for all the cabbage.
- Cover with the lid slightly ajar. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20-30 minutes or to desired doneness, stirring several times.
- Add the red wine vinegar, starting with 1 tablespoon. Add more as desired.
- Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Top with chopped fresh parsley if desired.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 91Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 169mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g
The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.