Easy & Healthy European Cabbage Stew Recipe: Perfect Family Comfort Food


If you are looking for a new, easy, and nutritious meal to add to your family’s dinner rotation, my cabbage stew recipe is just what you need. It’s packed with flavor, easy to make, and perfect for those busy evenings. I remember my making this stew weekly for us back home in Albania and she still makes it often to this day. In fact, she just made this stew yesterday, which is what inspired me to write up the recipe today! So let’s dive into this delicious and healthy family meal that’s a favorite in households across Europe, ours being one of them.

Ingredients and Their Benefits

For the Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil: A great source of antioxidants and healthy fats.
  • 1 medium onion and 3 minced garlic cloves: Boost flavor and immune health.
  • 2 medium tomatoes: Packed with vitamins C and K, potassium, and folate.
  • 1 tsp tomato paste: gives an extra rich flavor for the sauce base
  • Spices: 1-1/2 tsp salt (per your salt preference), 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp smoked paprika add a depth of flavor and have various health benefits.

Main Ingredient:

  • 1 whole cabbage: A nutritional powerhouse, great for digestion and rich in vitamins K and C.

Step-by-Step Cooking Guide

  1. Start with the Sauce: In your pot, heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 minced onion, cooking until translucent. Then add 3 minced garlic cloves and cook for less than a minute (any longer and it’ll burn).
  2. Add the Tomatoes and Spices: Next, stir in 2 chopped medium tomatoes, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp smoked paprika. Let it simmer with a bit of water to create a rich, flavorful base. I then add in 1 tsp tomato paste.
  3. Incorporate the Cabbage: Shred your cabbage and mix it into the sauce, allowing it to cook down and absorb all the flavors.
  4. Let the Flavors Meld: Once you’ve added the shredded cabbage, let it cook down with the sauce. This is when all the wonderful flavors start to come together.
  5. Simmer to Perfection: Add 4 cups water and bring your stew to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and let it simmer. Remember, the key to a great stew is patience – let those flavors develop over a slow cook. Let it simmer for about 1-1.5 hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so.
  6. Adjust the Consistency: If your stew is looking a bit thin, don’t hesitate to let it simmer a bit longer. This will help thicken it up and concentrate those delicious flavors.

Customization Tips

This recipe is wonderfully versatile. Here are a few ideas to make it your own:

  1. Protein-Packed: Add in some beef or lamb pieces per your preference. It’s best to add the meat before the onions to let it brown prior to adding.
  2. Spice It Up: If your family enjoys a bit of heat, throw in some chili flakes or a dash of cayenne pepper.
  3. Veggie Variations: Feel free to add other vegetables like potatoes or carrots for an extra nutritional boost.

Serving and Storing

  • Serving Suggestions: Serve this hearty stew with a side of crusty bread for a complete meal.
  • Storing Leftovers: Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. It tastes even better the next day as the flavors continue to meld!

This smoky cabbage stew isn’t just a meal; it’s a celebration of wholesome, comforting flavors that’s sure to become a family favorite. Whether you stick to the recipe or add your own twist, it’s a perfect dish for those busy weeknights or lazy weekends. I’m excited to hear how this recipe turns out for you and your family. Please share your experiences and any personal touches you added to the stew in the comments below!

Products I Used for This Meal:

  1. All-Clad Stainless Steel Pot: Ideal for even cooking and long-lasting use. [link]
  2. Organic Olive Oil: Adds a rich flavor to any dish. [link]
  3. Spices (Smoked Paprika): Make sure it says “smoked” – this definitely intensifies the flavor . [link]
  4. Efficient Garlic Press: Save time and effort in the kitchen. [link]

*Hey there! Just a heads-up: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. It’s just one of the ways I keep my kitchen running and bring more delicious recipes your way!*