Smoky, tangy, slices of Slow Cooker Cabbage will have you wishing it was St. Patrick’s Day every day! Thick slices of green cabbage slowed cooked in balsamic vinegar and liquid smoke, with a little salt and garlic powder thrown in for good measure, make for a delicious and interesting side dish. Now all we are missing is the Corned Beef! Try my recipe for Sous Vide Corned Beef for a tender, juicy result.
Cooked green cabbage can be one of the most unappetizing vegetables on the planet. Sorry. Not sorry. Cooking Cabbage releases the sulfur containing compounds within. The longer the Cabbage is cooked the more the sulfur compounds are activated, the stinkier your kitchen becomes. But, do not fear, as this recipe for Slow Cooker Cabbage is here, to reduce the strong cooked cabbage odor and leave you with a delicious and unusual accompaniment to Corned Beef!
- Cabbage: fresh, green, preferably organic.
- Balsamic vinegar.
- Liquid smoke.
- Garlic powder.
Remove the outer layers of cabbage. Chop or slice the cabbage, then wash well using a colander or salad spinner.
Place all the ingredients, except the cabbage, into a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot. Mix together well with a whisk. Then place the cabbage in the Slow Cooker. Put the lid on and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low, in a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot.
The cooking time is really just an estimate. If you chopped the raw Cabbage into small pieces, then it will cook faster than the thick slices I made. If you prefer your Cabbage to have some bite, then check it after 3 hours of cooking time. You might want to cook your Cabbage longer than 4 hours, if you like it on the very soft side. The Slow Cooker can hold it warm until you are ready to serve it, so it is very forgiving it you want to add or subtract cooking time.
This recipe is open to changes and these are the ones I recommend.
Substitute green Cabbage with vegetables such as kale, bok choy, kohlrabi, choy sum, savoy cabbage, brussel sprouts, napa cabbage, and white cabbage. The end result would be quite different, but interesting.
Replace balsamic with apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar or rice vinegar.
Liquid smoke brings a lot to this recipe, I would advise against deleting or substituting it.
Replace garlic salt with fresh garlic, shallots, leeks, or onion (fresh or powdered).
If you wanted to use stock, chicken or beef instead of just water, feel free to do so. I don’t feel the stock adds anything, except that it becomes a cooking medium. After the cabbage has been cooked, the liquid is typically thrown away.
Uses for Slow Cooker Cabbage
Slow Cooker Cabbage can be used as a typical side dish for beef and chicken dishes, but especially pork dishes such as a ham steak!
Also little sausages (already cooked) or cubes of ham can be thrown into the Slow Cooker for the final hour of cooking, to heat them through. It makes a complete meal, quick and easy.
Leftover Slow Cooker Cabbage can, like any cruciferous vegetable, be a bit stinky when it cools and needs to be stored. Make sure it is stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days. After that, the naturally occurring sulphur aroma builds and the Cabbage is no longer appetizing.
I would not recommend freezing Slow Cooker Cabbage as the texture of the vegetable is compromised and it becomes mushy / watery.
A Slow Cooker or Instant Pot can be used in this recipe. Also liquid smoke is a key ingredient.
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A Tip From Me
Don’t throw away the cabbage water! I know it sounds gross, like something from Roald Dahl’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” where Charlie and his family survive on nothing but cabbage water, but I assure you, this cabbage water is different. It has a subtle smoky tang and would form a good base for a soup or stew. Of course save it to cook additional St. Patrick’s Day vegetables such as carrots and baby potatoes.
I threw my cabbage water away, you don’t really know what you had until you lost it…
I’ve got answers – hopefully!
- Do I have to add the balsamic and liquid smoke to the water? No, but you will live to regret it if you don’t.
- My cooked cabbage has a rotten smell to it. What happened? Cooked cabbage has a natural stinky aroma to it but this aroma is not off-putting otherwise people would not eat it. If your cabbage smells vile, the chances are it was not at its freshest when it was cooked.
- Is cooked Cabbage healthy? Apparently yes, according to the Scientific American, cooked Cabbage supplies more antioxidants, such as carotenoids and ferulic acid, to the body than when raw.
Slow Cooker Cabbage
- 1.5 lb green cabbage medium to large cabbage
- 3 pints water
- 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Remove the outer layers of cabbage. Chop or slice the cabbage, then wash well using a colander or salad spinner.
- Place all the ingredients, except the cabbage, into a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot. Mix together well with a whisk. Then place the cabbage in the slow cooker. Put the lid on and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low, in a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot.
- The cooking time is really just an estimate. Raw cabbage chopped into small pieces, will cook faster than thick slices. Cabbage with a little bite will need 3 hours of cooking time. Very soft cabbage will need longer than 4 hours. The Slow Cooker can hold it warm until you are ready to serve it.