Ethiopian Cabbage – Vegan (& delicious!)

Ethiopian Cabbage

This dish is a firm favourite in our household, it’s one of those magical dishes I heard someone speaking about, made a mental note of and recreated at home based on what we had available. Ethiopian food is simple but delicious and, yes, this dish is 100% vegan.

Cabbage is not everyone’s favourite food, I know. When I suggested to Paul that I was going to make cabbage for dinner the first time he screwed up his nose and said ‘….ok?’. Thankfully, it turned out to be a success and has become a bit of a staple in our kitchen around this time of year. All you need are carrots, cabbage and potato, a bit of oil and the all important spices. We simply serve this with a cup of white saffron rice but if you simply can’t bear to eat your meals without meat then some kind of spicy lamb would go well, I’m thinking Kofta or equivalent.

I guess you could describe this as a bit like curried cabbage but it’s so much more than that. The slow cooking method over medium heat causes everything to caramelise and it just tastes fabulous. One note to bear in mind, make the effort to track down some Asafoetida, you can usually get it in the spice aisle of your supermarket, failing that your friendly asian grocer will have it, no doubt. Asafoetida is important because it helps break down some of the unpleasant gases caused when your body starts digesting cabbage, thus reducing the likelihood of you having gas the next day. Asafoetida is also a fantastic substitute for onion in cooking, you might have noticed I don’t use much onion in my recipes, this is mainly for health reasons. You could easily use some onion in the dish as well, but make sure you include the Asafoetida! 😉


Ethiopian Cabbage - Vegan (& delicious!)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This gorgeous, simple dish is a favourite at our place and makes use of the humble cabbage. It is full of flavour and definitely worth a shot,
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Ethiopian
Serves: 4
  • ¼ - ½ head of cabbage, shredded
  • 4 decent sized carrots, grated
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 teaspoon Asafoetida
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons of Turmeric, ground
  • 3 teaspoons of Cumin, ground
  • cracked black pepper & salt to taste
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet or frypan, preferably one that doesn't stick.
  2. Lightly fry ginger, garlic and Asafoetida until fragrant (about 3 minutes). If you are using onions you can add them now, one medium-sized onion that has been finely chopped should do the job.
  3. Reduce to a medium heat and fry carrots in the hot oil for 5 minutes. Put the lid on while the carrots are cooking to trap the moisture.
  4. Add spices and cook through with the carrot for about 2 minutes. The carrot should be starting to caramelise a little, regularly scrape the bottom of the pan to ensure it doesn't burn.
  5. Add in the cabbage and stir everything through well. Put the lid on and steam for approx 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping up the caramalised bits on the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add in the potatoes and replace the lid, continue cooking and stirring the mixture every now and then until the potatoes are cooked - about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes.
  7. Boil up some rice and add in a couple of strands of saffron to add some colour and aroma.
  8. Season cabbage to taste. Give everything a last stir and, if necessary, pour the tiniest bit of water into the bottom of the skillet to help scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. If you add water, make sure you cook it a teeny bit longer to ensure the water has been evaporated - the last thing you want is runny cabbage! 🙂
  9. Serve a couple of large spoonfuls of the cabbage over rice.


  • Hobbs says:

    Hey Ez! This looks delicious – gonna give it a go on the weekend. Nice work!

    • Erin says:

      Hey Simon, thanks for stopping by! I hope it turns out well for you, it’s a firm favourite here.

      • Hobbs says:

        Gave it a go for lunch today – fantastic. Such a satisfying meal, which is unusual for me when eating essentially a few healthy vegetables!
        First time I ever cooked with Asafoetida – had to do a treasure hunt around Darwin’s suburbs to find some.
        Think this will become a staple in our house too. Jo loved it. Thanks for the recipe!

        • Erin says:

          Yay! So glad to hear you guys liked it. Good work tracking down the asfoetida, it will last you for ages. You can add it to lentil or bean dishes to help with digestion.

          I was inspired to cook it for dinner again tonight and added a little lemon right at the end to give it a real kick.

  • Sarah says:

    Not sure I can find Asafoetida but I’m already convinced I like this dish. A lot. Next time I step into a specialized store, I’d make sure to find Asafoetida and try this recipe! It looks great. 🙂

    • Erin B says:

      Hey Sarah, thanks for stopping by. Hopefully you can find it in your travels, it’s also known as hing powder if that helps narrow down your search. Best, Erin. 🙂

  • Barbara Matthews says:

    LOVE this cabbage. Only discovered your site last week and have made this twice already! Simple, quick and very flavorsome.

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