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Creamy Savoy cabbage

Sat, 20 January, 2024

Savoy cabbage is delicious and versatile, so ditch the trendy hispis and cavolos, and grab that handsome, vibrant, crinkly head of Savoy.

creamy savoy cabbage

Cabbages and greens

Cabbage is a brassica whose family relations are brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and those no-name, generic ‘greens’ you see bundled up in supermarkets.

It is actually one of the oldest vegetables cultivated around the globe, however inclined you might be to think that its popularity is contained to Germany and Poland. But if you think about it, cabbage is prepared in various ways virtually everywhere on the globe.

It’s turned into kimchi in Korea, it’s added to stir fries in China, wrapped around rice filling (alternately with vine leaves) in Greece and Turkey, shredded into coleslaw in North America and mashed with potatoes in Ireland. Even the snobs of Italy enjoy their cavolo nero sauteed with garlic.

creamed green savoy cabbage

What cabbage varieties are there?

The common green or white winter cabbage has leaves tightly packed into a round head. Its red cousin is a little sweeter but can be prepared in the same ways. Savoy, our hero here, is packed a bit looser, cooks quicker and tastes nuttier.

Spring cabbage is the cabbage aristocrat, also known as sweetheart or hispi, the chefs’ ingredient du jour. It’s perfect for salads as it’s more delicate and milder than the round heads and it needs a very light touch when cooking it.

There are Asian varieties too, with Chinese leaf aka Napa, and bok, pak choi or tat soi. All fabulous in stir fries, though I must confess I often add cheaper cabbage leaves to my wok instead of the boks and the tats.

Let’s not forget Brussels sprouts, much maligned around Christmas time though it puzzles me why it is so – sprouts are very tasty whether cooked in one of two ways or even shaved into a salad.

And last and (in my view) least: kale, not my favourite. But hey, if it suits your palate better than other cabbage varieties, go for it.

savoy cabbage cooked with creme fraiche

Cabbage is a nutritious vegetable

Like all cruciferous vegetables, cabbage is full of antioxidants such as vitamin C, polyphenols, and sulphur compounds that can scavenge free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Vitamin C is especially worth pointing out as in times of global exploration fermented cabbage, sauerkraut, was proven to prevent scurvy amongst sailors thanks to its vitamin C content.

Fibre – tick. Anti-inflammatory properties – tick. Vitamin K for bone health – tick. It really ticks all the healthful boxes.

Poor cabbage is not a very sexy beast though! The French will call you ‘little cabbage’ as an endearment but in English it isn’t a flattering epithet. Hence in my opinion the culinary trends tend to pick the cabbage varieties that are not called by their names, like hispi or kale. Or, perhaps, Savoy?

savoy cabbage

Savoy cabbage and how to prepare it

Savoy cabbage can be used just like other varieties, but my favourite methods of cooking it are roasting, baking in a casserole or stuffing with a rice and meat filling for the Polish golabki.

This time it’s cooked with cream, creating a delicate tasting, luxurious side dish perfectly seasoned with dill, caraway and garlic.

This type of creamy vegetable recipe is very flexible: you can swap the cabbage for chard, spinach, kale or even leeks.

shredded cabbage

How to make creamy Savoy cabbage

Shredding the leaves finely is quite important so the dish achieves a tender texture in relatively short cooking time.

cooking onions and garlic

Start with sweating shallots and garlic in a mix of olive oil and butter, then add the finely shredded cabbage. It takes just a few minutes for it to wilt and soften, which is when you sprinkle it with flour and stir and toss it around to toast with the fats.

Then it’s time for crème fraiche to be added, which I prefer to double cream as it’s lighter and tangier. Keep the cabbage over low heat to tenderise, and before it turns mushy, add the lemon juice and maple syrup.

The final seasoning involves ground caraway and chopped fresh dill added to the dish, a good stir and tasting for salt-and-pepperiness, and your cabbage is good to be served.

cooking savoy cabbage

It’s lovely with chicken, better with fish and equally delicious on it’s own, with plain noodles, pasta or mashed potatoes if you choose to make it part of a vegetarian dinner.

creamy side dish savoy cabbage

More cabbage recipes

Vietnamese cabbage and prawn salad with nuoc mam dressing, layered on baked brown rice. The best salad bowls are a/ Asian and b/ contain cabbage.

Vibrant winter rainbow salad with red and green cabbage, red and white onions, herbs and vegan dressing. Healthy side salad with crunchy vegetables in vibrant colours.

Potato and cabbage gratin, herby with sage and dill, cheesy with Gruyere or Cheddar. Rich, warming and absolutely comforting – it’s an oven-baked antidepressant!

More creamy vegetable recipes

Creamy mushrooms, lovely on toast, on pasta or as a side dish paired with steak. An easy recipe for velvety creamy and garlicky shiitake mushrooms.

Swiss or rainbow chard cooked over low heat develops gorgeously deep flavour. Add cream and blast it under a grill with a coating of Parmesan for an unusual and delicious side dish.

Green bean casserole is so good when homemade and cooked from scratch! Creamy mushroom sauce is easy to make, while blanching then drying fresh green beans stops them from getting soggy.

creamy savoy cabbage

Creamy Savoy cabbage

Servings: 4Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 head of Savoy cabbage
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp plain flour
  • 150ml (23 cup) crème fraiche
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • juice from 12 lemon


1. Discard the very dark outer leaves from the cabbage. Cut the head into quarters, core them and shred finely.

2. Peel and slice the shallots, peel, smash and finely chop the garlic, chop the dill and grind the caraway seeds in a pestle and mortar.

3. Heat the olive oil and half the butter in a large sauté pan or a saucepan over moderately high heat. Add the shallots and cook for a minute to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

4. Add the shredded cabbage with the remaining butter, season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until it starts to wilt.

5. Sprinkle the cabbage with flour and stir well to toast it. Stir in the crème fraiche, turn the heat down and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes until it’s tender but not mushy.

6. Add the maple syrup and lemon juice and check for seasoning. Stir in the fresh dill and ground caraway, take the pan off the heat and serve immediately.

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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