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Kale and Cabbage Pasta

Kale and Cabbage Pasta Recipe

Place me in a room with a brassica of your choice and I would, until surprisingly recently, have crawled up the walls and screamed for mercy and probably my mother. However, one by one my aversion to greens has fallen – broccoli was the first to go, followed by kale and now even cabbage and the infamous Brussels sprouts have spent an evening in my digestive clink. Last week, while at my local food market in Bristol, a rather good looking cabbage caught my eye and I had not the will nor the inclination to resist its pull and I’m so glad I didn’t!

Cabbage and kale are both extraordinarily frugal ingredients – not only is the immediate financial outlay required to purchase them relatively inconsequential, they go surprisingly far. Indeed, when one acquires a vegetable that isn’t half gone after providing food for four, it is clear that one may be on to something of a winner.

Kale and Cabbage Pasta Recipe

Both kale and cabbage are generally best cooked for a very short amount of time. When overcooked, cabbage releases its rather offensive supply of sulphur which never proves to be particularly pleasant. Just try smelling the air after singeing a little of your arm hair. Interestingly, this is probably the reason you, I and so many of our peers, elders and youngers have been put off cabbage in our youth – it’s a well-known fact that school cooks very often, and somewhat ironically, have no idea how to cook. Still, if you follow my advice the only danger you’ll be in is of eating a truly delicious pasta dish.

For a similar using beautiful Tuscan cavolo nero, see my recipe for Cavolo Nero with Pasta and Almonds…

Kale and Cabbage Pasta {recipe}

Serves 3-4


• 300g pasta, fusilli or similar

• 2 large handfuls of very roughly chopped kale

• ¼ of a head of white cabbage, shredded

• 2 cloves of garlic, mashed

• 1-2 red chillies, finely sliced

• 3-4 tbsp olive oil

• Salt and pepper


1. Boil the pasta in some well salted water. Once cooked through set it to one side and begin to fry the garlic in around 1 tbsp of the olive oil. This is best done in a large, heavy-based frying pan.

Kale and Cabbage Pasta Recipe

2. Making sure not to let the garlic burn add the cabbage and kale, toss for a few seconds and then add the pasta and the remaining olive oil. Continue to toss until well coated. Serve with a scattering of chilli and a little parmesan (if desired).

Kale and Cabbage Pasta Recipe

Cost: As mentioned above, cabbage and kale are both inexpensive; particularly at this time of the year since they are very much in season. This means that, since they are the main ingredients, this meal is going to cost next to nothing. Indeed, the entire recipe can be made for as little as £1.50 – a very tempting price!

75 replies on “Kale and Cabbage Pasta”

As much as I love cabbage, I prefer it pan fried to steamed every time. Same goes with spinach and the addition of garlic and chilli make it heavenly. I use cabbage predominately for spring rolls. We eat them often because they are delicious. So many Asian recipes embrace cabbage as a kind of bulk filler background ingredient and most people wouldn’t even know it was there. I love cabbage for its versitility and can actually remember when broccoli was introduced as a “brand new vegetable” into my neck of the woods in Australia (my mum worked in a market garden and brought some home for us to try) it was like we were trying caviar for the very first time…she must have cooked it well because I loved it ;). The brassica’s are my staple food group and I must have Brussels sprouts on a regular basis, even if I have to resort to frozen. I also like broad beans so I guess that makes me one of “those” people, but hey, someone has to love them! 🙂

Most veggies are better pan fried – their flavour doesn’t seep into the water… I really need to do a spring roll recipe – sit tight. I should endeavour to eat more brassicas… and I shall. hmm, I’m not there with broad beans.

Try what I did some time ago . . . chop fine a small amount of kale and a large amount of cabbage. Steam or fry together, whatever you usually do. (steaming keeps more flavour and nutrition in than boiling, unless you are making soup). Once the others get used to that, slowly increase the amount of the kale. Mum did that for us with rutabaga, because it’s another strongly flavoured veg; she added mashed potato to smooth out the taste. Years later, we all love it! I still add a little mashed potato, just because I like the texture or silkiness it adds. I don’t peel my potatoes, though (ever!!). But use whatever you are most used to.
~ Linne

Love cabbage. But, kale and I do not get on. My last venture ended up with a 15 minute boiling leading to hard, metallic tasting kale. I may try again inf the kale looks as good as yours does.

Another about-to-become-a-favourite-recipe!! Yum!
In return, you may be interested in this recipe from another of my favourite bloggers:
I’m making the veggie mix from that tonight, but having it with pasta, not tortillas, as I don’t usually have them on hand. Soon will try yours. Have to use up some of the veggies in the frig first, though. Don’t know about you, but I often make stir-frys; I like to buy small brussels sprouts and quarter them, then add them at nearly the end of cooking, just when I add a bit of water or broth and cover for the final steam (I’m not big on too much actual frying, really), then I add chunks of zucchini at the very end. ~ Linne

Look at you, Nick! Seems like 2012 and 2013 are years of new omnivorous horizons! Brussels sprouts? Kale? Cabbage? Can’t forget parsnips 🙂

All great and wonderfully frugal vegetables to eat. This looks great! A good dish to eat after all the holiday overindulgences 🙂

Great recipe. I was just in one of our main supermarkets and they had buy one bag of kale get the 2nd one free. I had my hands on it, and then thought I don’t really have a recipe right now to use all this kale. Well, I must say I have buyers regret!!

You really are going greener 🙂 I have a confession to make. I never liked brussels sprouts either until 6 months ago when a neighbor showed me how to roast them properly. Now I can even eat them raw. Go figure.

I make this with added chickpeas to bulk it out and add protein. With some balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top yum! I love kale, had it most recently stir fried with mushrooms, chilli , garlic, soy sauce and Chinese 5 spice.

wow! I just found this recipe and really didn’t expect much but it was AMAZING. instead of chilis I added a sprinkling of hot sauce and I added parmesan. I almost ate the whole thing myself. Thank you so much.

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