Charred cabbage with chipotle lime crema

Cabbage contains many nutrients and can be very tasty with this simple recipe.

Contributed by Linda Shiue, MD

Charred cabbage with chipotle lime crema

Cabbage is a versatile, nutritious, inexpensive, and long-lasting vegetable that is absolutely delicious when you prepare it properly. While many of us continue to stay safer at home and practice social distancing, I am focusing on preparing recipes that use pantry ingredients and taste restaurant quality.

If you don’t like cabbage, my guess is that you’ve had it overcooked, probably boiled. That’s when it develops a sulfurous smell and a mushy, mealy texture. Not yummy! The best way to cook cabbage is quickly over high and direct heat. I usually shred and sauté it with garlic, salt, and a little olive oil.  

For this recipe, we’re doing something a little more special, but still very simple: cutting cabbage into wedges and charring it in a hot cast-iron or grill pan. You can also do this on an outdoor grill. To complement the sweet, charred taste of the cabbage, I’m pairing it with a smoky, spicy cream sauce. If you’re new to plant-based cooking, you might not yet be familiar with cashew cream — it can be used as a substitute for heavy, whipped, or sour cream, but it’s sublimely better than the originals. This version brings in additional flavors that go well with the grilled cabbage. Enjoy!

Note about the health benefits of cabbage: Cabbage belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables, like cauliflower and broccoli. It’s a great source of prebiotic fiber, which aids in digestion by increasing the good bacteria in your gut, helping to build a healthy gut microbiome. It also provides vitamin K for blood clotting and bone health, vitamin C for immune function and wound healing, and phytonutrients called glucosinolates, which may help prevent cancer. Cabbage also is thought to aid in the prevention of diabetes and heart disease.

Serving suggestions: Eat these with a knife and fork or slice the cabbage and use it as a taco or sandwich filling. Consider garnishing with cilantro and pepitas.

Servings: 8 as an entree, 16 or more as a taco or sandwich filling

Prep time: 4 hours, 10 minutes (4 hours inactive, 10 minutes active)

Cook time: 30 minutes


  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 medium green cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Pour the cashews into a small bowl, cover with cold water, and soak them for 4 hours or overnight on the counter. Drain.
  2. Place a cast-iron or grill pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Cut the cabbage in half and then cut each half into four wedges, making sure you keep the core in each wedge.
  4. Drizzle or brush a small amount of olive oil onto both cut surfaces of each wedge. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. When the pan is hot, place each wedge cut-side down, leaving some space around each wedge. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do this in two batches. Allow to cook, undisturbed, for 5 to 8 minutes, until the cabbage begins to soften and the side being cooked is blackened. Then, turn over to the other cut edge and repeat the process. When it is done, each wedge should be charred on the cut edges and tender but still slightly crunchy. You should be able to easily insert a paring knife into the center of each wedge. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  6. While the cabbage is cooking, make your crema. In a blender, add the softened, drained cashews and 1/2 cup cold water, which should be enough to cover about half of the cashews. Blend at high speed until fluffy and creamy. Transfer the cashew cream into a bowl and add the lime juice (start with 1/2), salt and pepper, and chipotle and garlic powders. Stir well and allow to sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld before adjusting to taste.
  7. Plate the cabbage wedges and drizzle with crema.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 8 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 100 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 11 g
  • Dietary fiber: 3 g
  • Dietary fiber: 3 g
  • Total sugars: 5 g
  • Protein: 4 g