This mind-boggling simple cabbage and sausage casserole recipe is super tasty, easy to adjust to your liking, and very gentle on the budget.
Besides a head of fresh cabbage and some fresh sweet Italian sausage meat, all you need is butter, salt, and pepper. That's five ingredients. Most recipes don't even count salt and pepper as ingredients, so maybe instead we should call it Three Ingredient Cabbage and Sausage Recipe.
Cooking the cabbage in the oven mellows its "cabbagey" odors and mingles deliciously with the fresh sweet Italian sausage meat.
As a side, I highly recommend crusty bread and some grainy mustard. These two foods somehow go perfectly together. It's strange, but it's true. Try it!
Let's start with the cabbage:
🥬 Green vs. savoy vs. napa cabbage - Which one is best?
Your store will likely have more than one choice for "a head of green cabbage." So how do you know which one to use? It's pretty simple. The most common available cabbage is green cabbage.
An all-arounder that can be eaten raw or cooked in any style. It even holds up very well when grilled (in big wedges). The leaves are smooth and slightly peppery when eaten raw. Cooking will mellow the flavors.
It looks a bit similar than green cabbage but has crinkly leaves. It's not the best to eat raw, as the leaves don't provide the crispness of green cabbage. Cooked in any style, it is an excellent vegetable that adds slightly earthy flavors to a dish.
Napa cabbage is also sold as Chinese cabbage. It looks more like football with curly leaves. I call it the kimchi cabbage. Sweet and nice to raw. Best when fermented (as in kimchi). It's not my favorite for baking. The relatively thicker ribs won't soften the way they do with green or Napa cabbage. Of course, you could remove the ribs and use them for something else.
For completeness, a quick word about red cabbage. It's green's counterpart and can be substituted any time green cabbage is called for. I like it best raw, as in salads, to add color.
🔪 How to core and cut cabbage
Remove wilted and/or browned outer leaves and rinse the head of cabbage under cold water. Place the head on a cutting board and, using a chef's knife, cut the cabbage lengthwise through the middle. Now you'll have two halves, both with a triangular-looking stem to be removed. Remove that stem with a small knife. Flip the cabbage half over and slice to the thickness you'd like.
😃 Is cabbage good for you?
Yes, very good. Half a cup of cooked cabbage has about one-third of the vitamin C you need for the day. It also gives you doses of fiber, folate, potassium, magnesium, vitamins A and K, and more.
😅 And of course: Does cabbage give you gas?
🥩 Fresh sweet Italian sausage meat
Now here's a little pantry idea I think you'll like: Whenever fresh bulk Italian sausage meat is on sale at our local grocery store, I buy a family pack, go home, and divide it into dinner portions using a kitchen scale. One portion goes into the fridge and the rest goes in the freezer. Of course, you can also buy a pack of Italian sausages and then remove the casing before making this meal. But it's just much easier to use bulk sausage meat than to remove the casing from sausages.
🍲 Making the casserole
Start by preheating the oven to 300°F. Butter a baking dish and put the first layer of cabbage in (about ⅓ of the chopped cabbage), then cover with about ½ of the sausage meat. Add some salt, pepper, and dots of butter.
Repeat these layers, finishing with a layer of cabbage and another round of butter dots. Because we're using raw cabbage, the dish might be a little full. Just press down with a spatula to make the last layer of cabbage even with the rim of the baking dish.
⭐ Tip: If you’d like an extra layer of flavor, add some minced garlic or hot pepper flakes.
Cover with parchment paper, then aluminum foil on top of that (the parchment paper will prevent the foil from interacting with the cabbage while baking).
Bake for about 2 hours and check. The cabbage should be slightly brown and sweet (taste it). If you encounter some liquid on the bottom of the baking dish, bake for another 30 minutes uncovered. Otherwise, cover it up again and also bake for another 30 minutes.
Spoon into a shallow soup plate and serve with bread and mustard or maybe some egg noodles.
While you're savoring the complex flavors on your first bite, think back. We only used cabbage and sausage meat. Amazing. Who said delicious, flavorful meals have to be complicated?
Looking for more delicious dinner ideas? Check out a few more of our recipes now:
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Did you make this Cabbage and Sausage Casserole Recipe? Let us know in the comments below!
Cabbage and Sausage Casserole
- 2 pounds green or Savoy cabbage, cored and cut in ¾” thick slices
- 1 pound fresh sweet Italian sausage meat
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- ½ tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1-½ tablespoons minced garlic (optional)
- ½ tablespoon hot pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Butter a baking dish and put the first layer of cabbage in (about ⅓ of the chopped cabbage), then cover with about ½ of the sausage meat.
- Add some salt, pepper, and dots of butter.
- Repeat these layers, finishing with a layer of cabbage and another round of butter dots.
- Tip: If you’d like an extra layer of flavor, add some minced garlic or hot pepper flakes.
- Cover with parchment paper, then aluminum foil on top of that (the parchment paper will prevent the foil from interacting with the cabbage while baking).
- Bake for about 2 hours and check. The cabbage should be slightly brown and sweet (taste it). If you encounter some liquid on the bottom of the baking dish, bake for another 30 minutes uncovered. Otherwise, cover it up again and also bake for another 30 minutes.
- Spoon into a shallow soup plate and serve with bread and mustard or maybe some egg noodles.
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