This Simple Buttered Savoy Cabbage recipe shows exactly how to prepare this delicious cabbage. It may be simple but savoy cabbage is naturally full of flavour and this traditional preparation showcases that to its fullest.
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I will not be entertaining any chat about boiled cabbage smelling, having no flavour or only being eaten by grannies. This is pure snobbery. Not everything needs to be doused is 3 different varieties of BBQ seasoning and onion powder or cooked to a crisp in the oven or air fried.
Good cooking is about great flavours and textures and that is exactly what properly cooked boiled savoy cabbage is going to give you. For starters savoy cabbage has amazing flavour just by itself.
Buttered cabbage is never going to be eaten in isolation, it is a side dish so consider what other vegetables, carbs and proteins you’re serving with it. Balance of textures and flavours is key.
How to Serve Buttered Cabbage
Cabbage is so versatile. I love to serve multiple vegetables with a meal and for the most part, at least one will be some kind of brassica like cabbage, broccoli or Brussels sprouts. Boiled cabbage is a really popular option in my house.
I also love to serve cabbage on the side of richer dishes like Corned Beef & Potato Bake to provide contrast of flavour and texture.
Simple Boiled Savoy Cabbage Ingredients
I love savoy cabbage, I really do think it is the king of cabbages. The texture is wonderful, the flavour is strong but not overly bitter and it is great value for money.
Key to a great savoy cabbage are these thick, dark green outer leaves. They are becoming harder and harder to find however, especially outside of the winter growing season. I have no idea what is happening to them but they are often removed before being sold.
So if you can find a nice big specimen with loads of dark leaves then grab it with both hands. If all you can find are cabbages with just the inner leaves, still grab it, it’s most certainly better than no cabbage at all.
Another cabbage option that is commonly available in the UK is sweetheart cabbage which is also called pointed cabbage or hispi cabbage.
As the name would suggest, it is slightly sweeter in flavour than a regular savoy cabbage. You can absolutely use this cabbage type to make this recipe.
The butter in the recipe is technically optional when making boiled cabbage. If you prefer you can simply drain, salt and serve the cabbage. Of course it then wouldn’t be buttered but more importantly you’ll be using that delicious extra layer of flavour. So unless you have a very specific reason to leave it out, I would beg you to butter up.
I only use salted butter, if you must use unsalted then please increase the amount of added salt.
You’ll notice that I specify two types of salt in this recipe.
Fine salt is cheaper free flowing table salt which I use for salting quantities of water for cooking vegetables or making brines.
Sea salt flakes are more expensive and generally used as a finishing salt and for adding to dishes where the salt is ultimately going to be eaten as part of the dish. I usually use Maldon Sea Salt after cooking to season the cabbage. The flavour is softer so this is my preference but if all you have is fine table salt, you can use that instead.
Because of the difference in texture and shape of the salt, their potency when being measured is different. So you should not ever substitute 1 tbsp sea salt flakes with 1 tbsp (15ml) of fine salt. You should at least halve the quantity to 1.5tsp (7.5ml) or even just 1 tsp (5ml).
You can always add more but you cannot take away so add a little at a time, taste and add more if needed.
Once the cabbage is just boiled, you can then drain it and use it in other ways. The most common thing I’m going to do it add it to a frying pan where I’ve cooked some pancetta cubes or streaky bacon. Toss the cabbage in the bacon fat and with the bacon for a couple of minutes and then serve.
Or for creamed cabbage, add some double cream, stir until its heated, season well with sea salt flakes and serve.
For an Asian twist, drain well, add to a steaming hot wok with a splash of vegetable oil and sauté for a minute or two before adding garlic salt, light soy sauce and a small drizzle of toasted sesame oil.
Vegetarian or Vegan Buttered Cabbage
This boiled savoy cabbage recipe is suitable for vegetarians as written.
To make it a vegan recipe, simply use a dairy-free butter substitute in place of the butter.
Make Allergy Friendly Boiled Cabbage
This recipe is free from egg, gluten and nuts.
Dairy Free: Just as if you were making a vegan version, replace the salted butter with a dairy-free alternative.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
You can prepare the cabbage and store it in a sealed bag or container in the fridge for a good 5 days if the cabbage is good and fresh when you initially prepare it. I love to prepare a whole cabbage this way so its easy to grab and use.
I wouldn’t recommend freezing cabbage before its cooked. You can do but it takes up and awful lot of room and is better frozen once cooked or at least part cooked.
You can boil cabbage until it is just tender and then store in the fridge or freezer before adding the butter and salt. Microwaving is a really good way to reheat the cabbage and it will finish the cooking process at the same time. Add the butter and sea salt before serving.
Leftover Savoy Cabbage
There are a million ways to use up leftover cabbage. Bubble and squeak is a classic way. Mix the cabbage with mashed potatoes and any other leftover vegetables like carrots. Season well then fry in vegetable oil until crispy. Serve with a fried egg.
You can add leftover cabbage to soups, stir fries or even frittatas. Or you can simply reheat it and serve with pretty much anything you fancy.
Buttered Savoy Cabbage Tips
You don’t really need to worry too much about the quantities given in the recipe. A 1 kg/2 lb cabbage will make roughly 6 portions of cabbage to be served as a side. The salt for the water and final seasoning can be eyeballed and added to taste as can the butter. But the quantities are there for anyone less confident and as a guide.
Use a large sharp knife when cutting the cabbage. This will make it much easier to cut. I have a real tendency to work with small knives but this is not the time.
Don’t be alarmed by the amount of raw cabbage when you first put it in the pan, it will look like a ridiculous amount but it will cook down massively.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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More Simple Side Recipes
Simple Buttered Savoy Cabbage Recipe
- 1.1 kg Savoy Cabbage
- 1 tbsp Fine Salt
- 40 g Salted Butter
- 1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- Put a full kettle of water on to boil.
- Prepare a 1.1kg Savoy Cabbage by slicing off the bottom of the stalk and removing any dark outer leaves. Cutting the stalk first will make this easier and some will fall right off. Please note that I used only half of the cabbage shown here because it was massive.
- Use a sharp knife and a V shaped cut to remove the stalk from each of the outer leaves. Discard the stalk as is too thick to cook properly along with the rest of the cabbage.
- Pile up the halved leaves and cut into thick slices. Put the slices into a large saucepan.
- Take the inner of the cabbage and cut it into quarters straight through the stalk. Cut a wedge out of each quarter to remove the bulk of the stalk.
- Cut each quarter in half lengthways and then cut into thick slices, a similar size to the outer leaves.
- Add to the large pan with the rest of the sliced leaves.
- Cover with the boiling water and add 1 tbsp Fine Salt to the pan. If you need to boil more water, you can do this after you get the cabbage onto the heat in order to save time.
- Put the pan on a high heat until the water is boiling. Using a lid will speed up the process. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes until the cabbage is cooked to your liking. I prefer it quite soft so I boil for around 15 minutes.
- Drain the water from the cabbage. Use the pan lid or a colander as preferred but do return the cabbage to the pan once drained.
- Add 40g Salted Butter and 1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes to the cabbage. Stir gently and the butter will melt and emulsify with any water droplets still on the cabbage.
- Serve with extra butter if desired.