Cabbage Stew

Cabbage Stew |

We have a small radio in the kitchen and it is a great assistant when cooking. Listening to music when preparing breakfast makes me ready for the day and listening to news when preparing dinner helps me catch up with the day. So I heard a survey when preparing dinner today. It is about eating habits of women from different countries. According to the result of this survey, French women don’t eat everything on their plate, they leave some of it. American women eat it all, they don’t leave anything and Turkish women not only finish what they have on their plate, but they also eat the food their children leave on their plate. Funny but true! I mean it’s true for Turkish women, but I don’t know about the other two.

So do you eat up everything on your plate or leave some of it?

I don’t remember how many times I have heard that cabbage has so many benefits for health this year. Our favorite cabbage dish is stuffed cabbage rolls, but I can’t make it as often as I want because of my limited time. And I have discovered a great alternative cabbage dish to stuffed rolls: Cabbage stew! It wasn’t a dish I had made before, it just came to my mind all of a sudden when I was trying to decide what vegetable to buy at bazaar one day. Cabbages on the stand looked so fresh and small enough for me to carry. I was tempted to buy a head, but I didn’t have time to make stuffed rolls. Then I thought a stew with cabbage, ground beef and bulgur could be as tasty. There would be no stuffing and rolling, but the same taste with almost the same ingredients with our regular cabbage rolls. You can guess the vendor was also trying to persuade me to buy while I was planning how to cook this stew in my mind. I’m glad I bought cabbage that day and made this stew because it has become one of our favorite dish now!

When planning the recipe, I wasn’t sure if we would love it because cabbage stew is not one of those much liked dishes in Turkey. But I was determined to cook and see myself if it could become a hit or not. How could a dish with ground beef and cabbage become tasteless? To our surprise, it was superb! As it is very easy and doesn’t require a lot of time to cook this cabbage stew, I’ve made it several times since then. Try it when cabbage is still in season!

Cabbage Stew |

5 from 1 reviews
Cabbage Stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A comforting dish with cabbage and ground beef.
Serves: 6
  • 200g ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • ½ head of cabbage
  • 2 tbsp bulgur
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pepper paste or tomato paste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • ¾ cup hot water
  • half lemon
  • ¾ cup vinegar, to wait chopped cabbage
  1. Chop cabbage roughly and put them in a large pot with water. Pour vinegar on them and wait until you make other preparations. Then drain.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pot. Saute onion and carrot a few minutes. Add pepper paste and mix.
  3. Put ground beef, stir and cook it until it absorbs the water it releases.
  4. Toss in chopped cabbage and bulgur. Add salt and spices.
  5. Cook it over high heat for about 5 minutes.
  6. Pour hot water, squeeze lemon on it, stir, cover the pot and bring to the lowest heat. It’s done in 30 minutes.
  7. Serve it hot with a bowl of yogurt. I love to squeeze extra lemon on it, so you might try it too!


  1. Gloria in Western Canada says

    Cabbage has never been a favourite of mine but the combination of spices along with it intrigues me and I will definitely give this a try.

  2. says

    I really like this one! I’m big on cabbage and I am loving the ingredients here. Will have to try it out! Thanks!

  3. megi says

    Zerrin, the cabbage stew looks delicious, I know people in Turkey have mixed feelings about this dish but I LOVE it. Like you, we prefer the stuffed cabbage but the prepartion takes a fair amount of time, so this makes an excellent alternative.

  4. says

    I love sour/picked cabbage soup and also stuffed ones(my favorite) and my husband love plain cabbage stew as you did just without vinegar and lemon.
    Do I eat everything..well no! But after the kids leave some on the plate I eat that later:)))
    Looks fantastic, and those are yummy photos!!!

  5. says

    Hi Zerrin, another interesting tradition and a great and recession-proof dish. I was brought up to finish everything on my plate. I guess it’s to do with the history of a country that has experienced two famines. It is a hard habit to break but I don’t eat anything once I am no longer hungry. Sometimes that means an empty plate. Sometimes not.

  6. says

    I would love this. As far as leaving food on the plate goes, I just can’t do it. When I was a child I wasn’t allowed a pudding if I didn’t finish my first course and I still feel guilty leaving food. Luckily I do all the cooking and only cook things I want to finish these days.

  7. Kate @ says

    mmmmmm! I love me some cabbage stew!
    I am with the Turkish women – I hate to waste food so I am the one to finish up the food on everyone’s plates. :)

  8. The Mom Chef says

    I love cabbage, especially cooked. This looks so wonderful. Many thanks for sharing the recipe.

  9. OysterCulture says

    Love this! I’ve been reluctant to make the rolls because of the time, but this yummy cabbage stew on the other hand, would be easy to make. thanks for the brilliant idea.

  10. says

    I discovered your blog a couple of nights ago, and have just made your recipe for Kiymali Kapuska after getting the required ingredients today. I’ve done a little test of the finished product, and it certainly has some heat, presumably mainly from the chilli powder, because I used tomato paste instead of pepper paste. I can see why you suggest eating this cabbage stew with some yoghurt!

    This is the first time I’ve cooked Turkish food, and I’m really pleased with the result. I’ve had a look at some of your other recipes and am looking forward to trying them too. Your blog is lovely, and it’s opened my eyes to a new cuisine.


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