In Season: Cabbage with Browned Butter and Hazelnuts

I can hear the collective groan. Cabbage, again? Isn’t it almost spring? And the answer to those questions is—yes. Spring is just about here. It is daylight savings time. You may have even put your sturdy winter coats away in favor of something a bit lighter. But as I have come to learn from living on the East Coast—sometimes Mother Nature seems to be the last to know. So until the first spring veggies appear, I give you the always-in-season cabbage.

It is the week of St. Patrick’s Day, so you might even have a head of cabbage rolling around the refrigerator, leftover from your corned beef feast. Although stewing or steaming is the traditional method when it comes to preparing holiday meals, pull it out of the fridge and lightly sauté it. Then top it with some delicious flavorings.

It is arguable that one could put roasted hazelnuts and browned butter on a piece of cardboard and it would be delicious. But in this instance, you actually put it on something edible (like cabbage) and it is superb. Roast and chop the hazelnuts, brown a bit of butter, and put it on a pile of gently sautéed cabbage. The nuts make the dish even nuttier, and the browned butter makes it sumptuous—yes, cabbage can be all of those things!

Cabbage with Browned Butter and Hazelnuts

¼ cup hazelnuts
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
½ head green cabbage (about 6 cups), cored and coarsely shredded
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste

In order to roast and peel the hazelnuts, preheat the oven to 400°F and place the nuts on a baking sheet. Roast until skins are dark brown, and cracked, and nuts are fragrant and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and place hazelnuts in a kitchen towel, cover, and rub the skins off the nuts. It is fine if the skins don’t come off completely. Roughly chop the nuts, and reserve.

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. When hot, toss in the cabbage, coating well in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until cabbage is beginning to wilt and color, about 5 minutes. Add water; turn heat to medium, and cover, steaming until pan is almost dry.

Meanwhile, brown the butter: add butter to a small stainless steel saucepan, over medium heat. Let cook, swirling occasionally, until butter begins to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. When butter begins to turn, immediately remove from heat.

Pour browned butter, and hazelnuts over the cabbage, tossing well to combine. Taste for seasoning, and serve.


Adrienne Kane is a writer and photographer. She is the author of a memoir, Cooking and Screaming, and the food blog,

In Season: Cabbage, Year Round

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