Friday, March 9, 2012

Ethiopian-Style Cabbage & Root Vegetables

Ethiopian cabbage & root vegetables
I was inspired to make this flavorful, mildly spicy and nutritious vegetarian stew by this authentic Ethiopian recipe for Cabbage and Carrots. Because we enjoy a variety of different root vegetables, I decided to substitute rutabaga for half of the potatoes, and I chose not to peel the potato because I find them more flavorful unpeeled. I also used a head of red cabbage instead of white, and yellow onions instead of red, because that was what I had on hand. To cut back on fat, I used half as much oil as called for in the original recipe, figuring I could add more if necessary (and it wasn't). On the other hand, if you're not concerned about fat or whether the recipe is vegetarian, you can substitute 3 to 4 tablespoons of bacon fat for the oil, which will add richness and that unmistakable smoky bacon flavor (yes, I've tried this and it was tasty).

A few other departures from the original recipe have to do with size vs. quantity of a particular ingredient, e.g., 1 big carrot vs. 3 small carrots. Again, these changes had to do with what I had on hand. I included the weight of the ingredients to help you get an idea of how much to use--and as with most stews, you have some leeway as to how much to use and the end product will still be delicious. For the sake of appearance, however, I do recommend using green cabbage instead of red, because the yellow turmeric turns the purple color of the red cabbage into a less-appealing drab brown as it cooks.

Serve this Ethiopian style cabbage & vegetable stew over rice or with injera, a traditional Ethiopian bread. You can also enjoy it over quinoa or couscous instead of rice. My recipe will easily feed 4 to 6, and leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for a few days.

Ethiopian cabbage recipe1/4 cup olive oil
1 small cabbage (approx. 1 lb)
3 small carrots (approx. 3/4 lb total)
2 onions (approx. 3/4 lb total)
1 large potato (approx. 3/4 lb)
1 small rutabaga (approx. 3/4 lb)
2 tsp finely minced garlic
1 tsp ginger puree or paste
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 cup hot water

Prep the vegetables: Trim and shred the cabbage (I use a very sharp chef's knife to quarter then thinly slice); peel & slice the carrots and onions; peel the potato & rutabaga (or leave the potato unpeeled if you prefer) and cut into small cubes.

In a large, deep saucepan heat the oil over medium heat, add onions and saute until translucent.  Stir in the ginger & garlic, followed by the carrots, cabbage, turmeric, salt & pepper. Add potato, rutabaga and hot water, stirring well to thoroughly combine.  Bring to a simmer, stir and then reduce heat to keep at a gentle simmer until everything is tender (about 20 to 30 minutes), leaving uncovered and stirring regularly.

Zestfully yours,


  1. Going to give this recipe a try, sub prickly pear for the rutabaga. Enjoying reading your blog this evening. Have four of your recipes now bookmarked to make. Best Regards!

    1. Hi Lisa, the prickly pear substitution sounds intriguing! Let me know how it turns out. Wish i could get prickly pear around here - I've only had the pickled version in tacos, burritos & quesadillas. I'm so glad you're enjoying my blog, & thanks for commenting! Feel free to share any feedback, recipes, etc. Happy Thanksgiving!
      Zestfully yours,