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Cabbage and walnut casserole

Sat, 20 May, 2023

Oven baked Savoy cabbage and walnut casserole, a riff on an Ottolenghi recipe, is a delicious, nutritious vegetarian dish which tastes much, much better than it looks.

cabbage and walnut casserole

This is an Ottolenghi recipe with the corners cut so severely it’s practically circular. Yotam’s version is for cabbage rolls filled with a mix of walnuts, onions and spices baked on a bed of more, shredded cabbage. What I’ve done is basically take all the ingredients, toss them together and bake. Result!

Cabbage ain’t pretty

Cabbage is gaining a little recognition these days, hopefully not just on the merits of the soup. It has graduated somewhat from the smelly soup kitchen realm, and from the infamy of the stinking but bland vegetable that you just need to boil for ever without any seasoning.

There’s cabbage in all kinds of hipster salads and there is of course kale, the wellness posse’s favourite variety of cabbage, readily admitted into salons.

But however you prepare it, perhaps with the exception of a fresh crunchy salad made from green spring cabbage, it’s not a great looker. So you have to trust me that this recipe is for an uncommonly delicious dish – because the visuals are anything but appetising.

cabbage and walnut bake

Cooked cabbage is grey

However you look at the pictures scattered on this page, the cabbage casserole looks unappealingly grey. That’s because cooked cabbage oxidises quickly, losing its vibrant green hue and turning grey or brown.

The delightful Swedish dish of kalpudding, cabbage meatloaf, is dirty brown because the cabbage cooks for such a long time. Likewise my caramelised cabbage: it’s burnt brown, not pretty.

But even long cooked, caramelised and almost burnt, the cabbage in this recipe is seasoned and spiced so gorgeously, it could be swapped with cardboard and the dish might still taste ok.

baked cabbage with walnuts and spices

Whence does the dish come?

As I have already admitted, I played a bit fast and loose with Ottolenghi recipe which, it has to be said, is one of the classically intricate and laborious.

It is even more involved than the original variety of stuffed leaves of the kind popular in Greece (dolmades), Sweden (Kåldomar) or Poland (golabki). The filling and seasoning though relate to Georgian phkali, chopped vegetables with walnuts.

That type of dish requires blanching the whole head of cabbage in order to extricate leaves, one by one, trimming the stems on each leaf, then filling and neatly wrapping into small parcel rolls. It takes all day.

But the flavours from the recipe can be achieved the easy way, by tossing everything together and baking it in a casserole. My way.

cabbage casserole ingredients

How to make cabbage walnut casserole?

The only difficulty here is to chop up, grind, dice and shred all the ingredients. If you own a food processor, you’re laughing.

But even without one it’s not a skilled job: the walnuts can be chopped by hand or smashed in a large pestle and mortar, the onion diced, the cabbage shredded and the herbs finely chopped.

cabbage nuts and spices

The beginning of the casserole happens on the hob: softening the onions, adding spices and nuts, then gradually wilting the cabbage into the pan.

cooking onions and nuts

Lots of butter and a drop of water if it all looks too dry, and that’s the work done – the rest of the process occurs in the oven.

cooking cabbage

Sour cream sauce

The sour cream sauce is optional but gorgeous, so – no, not really optional haha.

The cream should be warmed up a little in a small milk pan, before pouring it over the baked casserole. If you pour it in cold, it will curdle and look even muddier than when following the instructions.

As I said, it’s not a dish to win any beauty contests but it’s wonderfully tasty. And plenty healthy too, with the walnuts providing protein and cabbage being Fibre Central.

adding sour cream

More cabbage recipes

Cabbage lasagne, a vegetarian dish of pasta layered with a filling of lightly cooked cabbage with tomatoes. Surprisingly flavourful and delicious!

Another way to cook cabbage: crispy and caramelised. Brown cabbage Swedish style is simply fried down and baked. This method turns the vegetable into the perfect side dish.

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!

cabbage walnut casserole

More savoury recipes with walnuts

Feta with grapes and walnuts is a fantastic salad, perfect for lunch or as a starter. It resembles the Waldorf salad a little but is easier to make. Just roast the grapes with a little balsamic, crumble feta and walnuts; and it’s self-dressed with the grape juices.

Jumbo pasta shells, conchiglioni, stuffed with ricotta and walnuts, baked in tomato sauce. That’s conchiglioni ripieni al forno, or giant shells pasta bake with vegetarian filling of ricotta and walnuts.

Muhammara, roasted red pepper and walnut dip, flavoured with pomegranate molasses and Aleppo pepper flakes. This should be a firm fixture in your next meze!

deconstructed walnut cabbage rolls

Cabbage and walnut casserole

Servings: 2Time: 2 hours


  • 70g (¾ cup) walnut pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 large savoy cabbage
  • ½ bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • 40g (3 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • fine sea salt and black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 20g (1 tbsp) pine nuts
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • 120g ( ½ cup) sour cream


1. If you have a food processor, whiz the walnut pieces in it until coarsely smashed. Otherwise roughly chop them or crush in a pestle and mortar.

2. Peel the onion and either blitz it in the food processor (having transferred the walnuts to a bowl) or finely dice it. Trim and finely shred the savoy cabbage. Finely chop the parsley and dill.

3. Melt 2 tbsp of the butter in an oven and hob proof casserole dish, or else use a large frying pan and a ceramic gratin dish. Add the onion with 1 tsp salt and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat until softened and lightly coloured.

4. Preheat the oven to 170C fan/190C/375F/gas 5.

5. Add the spices, nuts and pine nuts and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring. Add the cabbage in 2 batches, each with ½ tsp salt, and stir to wilt it. If the nuts and spices are catching to the bottom of the dish, drizzle a little water.

6. Stir in the herbs reserving a little dill for garnish. Squeeze in the lemon juice, dot the remaining butter around over the cabbage, cover with a lid or foil and transfer to the oven.

7. Bake for 1 hour. Take off the lid or foil and bake for another 15 minutes to let the cabbage caramelise.

8. Remove from the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes.

9. Warm up the sour cream slightly in a small saucepan and stir into the cabbage. Garnish with reserved dill, add a grinding of black pepper and serve with plain rice.

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Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Kat - thank you so much! Dead right, you've got to cherish those tomatoes now, cabbage is for when they're over.
11 months ago
Oh so I 'm not the only genius who deconstructs stuffed vegetables into pilafs! This looks amazing, I 'm bookmarking it for fall because right now it's tomato season in Greece????????. Ps: I really enjoy your writing!
11 months ago

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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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