This caramelized cabbage & onion pasta is one of my favorite winter comfort food dishes! It’s deeply savory, a little sweet, easy to make, and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
This delicious, smoky, savory, and ever-so-slightly sweet caramelized cabbage onion pasta has become a fan favorite.
Each and every time I make it, I understand why! I love the recipe every bit as much as my readers do.
Originally, I prepared the pasta as a St. Patrick’s Day dish. I figured cabbage, onion, and bacon would at least echo my vegan colcannon.
As I made the pasta, I realized that my winter pasta repertoire is a bit limited.
Summer vegan pasta ideas are plentiful. There’s so much in-season produce to use. I whip up burst cherry tomato pasta, my beloved vegan pasta bake with ricotta, vegan feta pasta, butternut zucchini pesto pasta, zucchini corn pasta, pasta alla Norma, and many more.
In the winter, one of two things usually happen. The first is that tomatoes are involved. I go with my 20-minute marinara sauce and whatever pasta I have at home. Or, I make my vegan pasta alla vodka.
If that’s not the go-to, then I’ll probably make my creamy vegan mushroom pasta or beans & greens pasta.
This caramelized cabbage onion pasta gives me—and it will also give you—a reason to create pasta with two vegetables that you may not always associate with pasta!
Onion and cabbage find their way into many of my winter recipes. Yet until I cooked them down to soft and sweet, juicy perfection, I didn’t realize how wonderful they’d be as a pasta “sauce,” of sorts.
This pasta dish is wonderfully simple. You’ll achieve a lot of flavor without too many complicated steps.
Why the quotes? Welllll, technically speaking, the onion in this recipe isn’t quite caramelized.
Typically, it takes quite some time to caramelize onions—about 40-45 minutes.
You’ll only brown the onions in this recipe for 8-10 minutes. So, I’ve taken some technical liberty with my recipe title!
Even so, 10 minutes is enough to give the onions flavor, depth, and savory sweetness. And that is the point of caramelization.
Do you need to add a plant-based bacon to the cabbage onion pasta?
No. If vegan meat isn’t for you, then you don’t need to make this addition.
However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I think the vegan bacon makes the pasta more flavorful! It also adds protein to the dish, and you may find that it increases the pasta’s satiety.
You have options for this “bacon.” It could be my baked, crispy tempeh bacon, which is what I usually use. You can also use eggplant bacon or mushroom bacon.
Finally, you could use a store-bought vegan bacon of choice. These are usually seitan or tempeh-based, but mushroom and coconut bacon options are available in stores, too.
My personal favorite is the “Benevolent Bacon” from SweetEarth foods.
Next, you’ll add vegan broth, smoked paprika, and your cabbage, the star ingredient of the pasta, to the pan.
All of this will cook until the cabbage is tender, sweet, and smoky.
While you’re working some magic with the onion, cabbage, and vegan bacon, you’ll bring a salted pot of water to a boil and cook some pasta.
By the time the pasta is ready, the cabbage should be just about ready, too.
You’ll add your pasta to the large sauté pan in which you’ve cooked the vegetables and vegan bacon.
All that’s left now, really, is for you to taste the pasta and adjust it to your liking. I usually add a splash of white balsamic vinegar and adjust the salt and pepper a little.
You can serve the pasta with fresh chopped parsley, or you can simply plate it and serve it exactly as it is.
That depends on the type of pasta that you use! And yes, the caramelized cabbage onion pasta certainly can be gluten-free. Just make sure that you use a GF certified pasta in the recipe.
You can. The smoked paprika in the pasta recipe will help to create smoky flavor, which is part of what the vegan “bacon” will do.
However, I really love the added protein and texture that a plant-based bacon will contribute to this recipe.
If you have some at home, or you’re up for making some tempeh bacon or oven-baked eggplant bacon, it’s well worth a try.
The answer is no! Red/purple cabbage also works well. It will turn the whole dish dark purple, which certainly isn’t a bad thing.
Napa cabbage is also a nice variation, if that’s what you find or have.
The leftovers of the caramelized cabbage onion pasta will keep for up to four days in the fridge. And they can also be frozen for up to 8 weeks.
I love including this recipe in my vegan meal prep for the week.
Embrace the joy of eating homemade food every day with the hearty and wholesome recipes in The Vegan Week.
Whether you have three, two, or even just one hour of time to spare, The Vegan Week will show you how to batch cook varied, colorful, and comforting dishes over the weekend.
I’ve served this pasta many times with a big, simple green salad.
Wintery salads with radicchio, chicories, or curly endive are also a really nice accompaniment. Their bitter flavor compliments the sweet and savory pasta well.
The pasta is great with roasted broccolini or steamed or sautéed greens. Essentially, any vegetable you have could be a side dish.
And finally, I love serving this recipe with my perfect winter chop salad.
Finally, don’t forget toppings! Cashew parmesan, quick pickled onions, a drizzle of nice balsamic, and extra chopped tempeh bacon are all great ways to finish this tasty dish.
If you try the pasta, I’d love to hear how you like it! Enjoy.
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May I ask? Do I have to add the bacon raw or cooked?
Vegan bacon is already cooked, so when you add it, you’ll just be crisping it up and improving the texture 🙂
Made this last night. It was delicious and simple to make. Very comforting on a chilly evening. My husband and I ate it up so we only got 2 servings out of it. I will make this again and keep it in my go to rotation.
I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed it, Lisa!
So simple and so delicious. Have to be honest I was very dubious but it was great. I’m looking forward to the left overs for my lunch in work tomorrow. Thank you for the recipe.
Really glad that you liked it, Kathryn!
MMMM, very good recipe, made it last night for hubby and myself with angel hair pasta, next time maybe add some garlic! A good alternative to having pasta with gravy (red/pasta sauce for non Italians!)
So glad you enjoyed!
I really want to make this but I can’t find anywhere on the page where you tell me how many servings this is for?? With a larger family I need to know so I have enough food. 🙁
Hey Sarah! I’m so glad you caught this—I just fixed it. Sorry for the confusion. It makes 3-4 servings. I’d say if you have a bigger family or prefer larger portions of the dish, I’d double it for sure 🙂
Wow! Thanks a lot! This was an amazing recipe! I added a splash of white wine with the broth and I used chipotle seasoning instead of paprika. I will definitely cook this again soon!
So glad you enjoyed!
So delicious! I wasn’t sure when to add the smoked paprika so I sprinkled it on when it was mostly finished cooking. Made some bacon-y tofu crumbles and used bean pasta. This is going on my remake list.
This was delicious! I added chicken along with the bacon (which I fried up first with some paprika and oregano) but left everything else the same. We will definitely make this again, thankyou! 🙂
I’m so glad that you enjoyed it!!
I found this recipe and your website today after googling “cabbage and ravioli.” I have never written a comment about a recipe on anyone’s website before. But, oh my goodness! Best recipe for a quick meal ever! Other than swapping vegan hot dogs for vegan bacon, I followed your directions as written. I can’t praise the results enough!
Thank you and I’ll be reading through your website tonight.
We had most of the ingredients, so we went for it. We subbed field roast sausages for the bacon and added random fridge things – celery, mushrooms and chickpeas. I was out of stock so I used Imagine brand mushroom soup. Honestly, soooo good! I had never thought about using stock to make a sauce, so the core of this recipe will be useful for a lifetime! Adding a little bit of vinegar made everything really pop. Thanks for this recipe, it will be endlessly useful and malleable!
I am so very glad you enjoyed it!
Did you leave out the paprika?
I don’t think so! It’s listed in the recipe.
I made this. Didn’t have bacon so used vegetable sausage and seasoned it with mustard. It was great
So glad that you enjoyed it!
I just made this. So delicious! A great way to use cabbage- different from the usual- and the onions set off the sweetness perfectly. Yum!!!
So glad you enjoyed 🙂
I am making this for the second time because my husband asked for “that cabbage & onion” dish again. It is delish! Thank you Gena!
So glad to hear that!! 🙂
I like pasta. Its look delicious. Love this dish. I definitely try this. Thanks for sharing.
I never heard about caramelized pasta. Thanks for providing this knowledge.
This looks so good! I love caramelized onions on anything. I never thought of adding cabbage to pasta though! I can’t wait to make this.
Hope you enjoy it!
Looks delicious, as always! I’ve been on a cooked cabbage kick lately, but hadn’t thought to combine it with pasta! What a great idea. Will be trying your recipe soon! 🙂
Oh my. This pasta looks delish!!! I gotta try this soon. 🙂
I am so doing this pasta! Thank you. During the summer I hate turning on the stove so anything that can go on top with a minimal amount of fuss is welcomed.
I am so impressed that you are doing an oncology rotation. If there was ever a time when someone would need help eating, this would be it. Even if you just talked with the person about their struggle to eat, that would be helpful. I hope you get a lot out of this particular segment even if you never have to directly use the knowledge again.
Have a good rest of your week and thank you for the recipe!