Fried Cabbage and Noodles
It’s also a very popular Romanian dish called ” Taitei cu Varza“made all throughout the colder winter months when cabbage is abundant. Almost always made vegan with a light tomato base and smoky undertones from smoked paprika that perfectly balance the sweetness of the fresh cabbage.
- Onion – go for an extra large yellow onion and take your time until caramelized around the edges, this is your flavor base, the foundation of greatness!
- Cabbage – you’ll want a medium to large head as cabbage really melts and shrinks down as it cooks. The idea is to have more cabbage than pasta, so use as much as you can fit in your largest pan.
- The Noodles – traditionally a homemade wide or thick chewy noodle is used; think pappardelle, tagliatelle or fettuccine, something that can hold up to the weight of all that cabbage. I used Scialatielli which is not that wide but it’s thick and takes close to 20 minutes to reach an al dente texture.
- Olive oil vs butter – We’ve always used vegetable oil for this recipe from which olive oil is my favorite. It really helps with the caramelization process of both the onions and the cabbage yielding the most delicious flavors.
- Caraway seeds – deliver a nutty flavor with a subtle hint of anise that really compliments the cabbage. They can be swapped for fennel seeds if desired or omitted if you don’t fancy them.
- Tomato paste – Double concentrated is best, its sweetness perfectly balances the bitterness and earthyness of the cabbage. Traditionally “Passata or Bulion de Rosii” was used as most households had a pantry full of those tomato puree bottles.
- Smoked paprika – it’s optional but adds just enough smokiness to make this dish next level with a comforting slow cooked umami flavor.
- Fresh herbs – Parsley and dill are the classic pairing to brighten up the final dish, use your favorites.
- Smoky tempeh – or vegan bacon that is actually good for you. Adds extra meatiness and protein to the dish but you can entirely leave it out and still end up with an amazing meal.
- Variation – you can stick to the simple version of this recipe or add your favorite vegan sausage or seitan bacon into the mix. Instead of onion you can use leeks, make it even healthier by using a whole grain pasta you love.
- Storage & Reheating – Refrigerate any leftovers up to five days in lidded glass containers. Reheating can be done in the microwave or stove top, add a little splash of water to loosen everything up, create some steam and prevent burning. Freezing the final dish as a whole is not recommended, but you could freeze it without the noodles up to four months.
This is a really hearty and filling meal perfect to enjoy on its own. However it’s also nice served alongside other tasty things such as:
- vegan chicken cutlets
- roasted broccoli
- vegan ribs
- homemade bread, dinner rolls, or flatbread
- paprika potatoes
- green salad
- vegan turkey slices.
Fried Cabbage and Noodles
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 medium green cabbage shredded
- 2-3 tsp caraway seeds
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste double concentrated
- 1 Tbsp chili paste optional
- 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika optional
- 12 oz wide noodles
- 3 oz smoky tempeh + more to taste
- 1/3 cup Italian parsley or fresh dill roughly chopped
- olive oil as needed
- salt + black pepper to taste
- Preheat an extra large skillet over medium heat low heat. Add a lug of olive oil and the chopped onion with a pinch of salt. Give it a good stir and continue cooking until the onion starts to get some color.1 large onion, olive oil as needed, salt + black pepper to taste
- Stir in the caraway seeds and toast for a minute or so, just until fragrant.2-3 tsp caraway seeds
- Add the cabbage and a pinch of salt then give everything a good stir to mix. Work in batches if needed to fit all the cabbage in the pan as it wilts. Keep the heat at a nice sizzle and continue cooking stirring often until the cabbage is wilted and starts to get some color around the edges.1 medium green cabbage
- Push some of the cabbage to the side of the pan and add the tomato paste and a little chili paste for heat if desired. Toss to coat well. (Add the smoked paprika at this time if a little smokiness if desired, otherwise feel free to omit). Stir fry everything a few more minutes making sure not to let the sugars from the tomato paste burn at all.3 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 Tbsp chili paste, 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika
- Push the cabbage to the sides of the pan and make some space in the middle. Drizzle a little olive oil in the center and add the chopped tempeh. Fry a couple of minutes just enough to get a little color then mix well with the rest of the cabbage.olive oil as needed, 3 oz smoky tempeh
- Sprinkle in the fresh parsley or dill and adjust seasonings to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.1/3 cup Italian parsley or fresh dill, salt + black pepper to taste
Cook the Noodles
- Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil, generously salt it and cook your noodles according to package directions, just until al dente.12 oz wide noodles
- Use a pair of kitchen tongs and transfer the noodles directly to the pan with the fried cabbage. Toss to coat well and serve with fresh dill or parsley and freshly cracked black pepper.1 medium green cabbage, 12 oz wide noodles, salt + black pepper to taste
- Variation - you can stick to the simple version of this recipe or add your favorite vegan sausage or seitan bacon into the mix. Instead of onion you can use leeks, make it even healthier by swapping the noodles for a whole grain pasta you love.
- Storage & Reheating - Refrigerate any leftovers up to five days in lidded glass containers. Reheating can be done in the microwave or stove top, add a little splash of water to loosen everything up, create some steam and prevent burning. Freezing the final dish as a whole is not recommended, but you could freeze it without the noodles up to four months.