Home ยป Meatless Monday: Caramelized Cabbage and Onion Pasta with Bread Crumb

Meatless Monday: Caramelized Cabbage and Onion Pasta with Bread Crumb


One thing I love about my new job is the freedom to change the menu, provide people with wholesome food, and to keep things interesting and fresh. And lucky for me, my staff and hospital stand behind my vision 100%. Working in a kitchen with a rotating menu of a deep fryer that never sees a break would not be my calling. That’s more like my worst nightmare.

On a daily basis, the cook will come into my office (one of which is conveniently located IN the kitchen) with a taste of something. Sometimes salad dressing, sometimes the special of the day, sometimes dessert. I love it! Almost always, it’s something absolutely delicious.


The cook, like myself, loves garlic. The kitchen supervisor does not. We battle about the amount of garlic in dishes…a lot.

I don’t know that we’ll ever reach consensus as a hospital because everyone has different taste preferences, but we’ll keep on trying. Obviously from reading any recipe adaptations I make, we LOVE garlic in this house. That said, this is the one thing I would change about this recipe…just a bit less garlic.


I also added a bit more red pepper flakes. I figured I could swoon Mr. Prevention with spice in hopes of him over-looking the plethora of cabbage (which supposedly, he hates) and lack of meat. Score one for me because he actually enjoyed this dish…and was in agreement – a bit less garlic, and maybe even a heavier hand with the red pepper flakes — his #1 spice of choice.

I love appeasing the man and using our organic CSA veggies — a feat that is difficult to achieve simultaneously. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. 😉



Caramelized Cabbage and Onion Pasta with Bread Crumb adapted from The New York Times by A Little Bit Crunchy

5 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 slices wheat bread, torn into pieces
2 Tbsp fresh sage
1/4 tsp black pepper, plus more to taste
1 lb whole wheat pasta, cooked al dente
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 to 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium head cabbage, roughly chopped (about 5 cups)
2 large yellow onions, sliced thin
2 oz (1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


In a food processor, combine half the garlic, sage, and bread; pulse  until you have fine bread crumbs.

Melt butter in a skillet and add the bread crumbs. Stir and toast for about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.

In a large skillet, turn on the heat to medium-high and add the olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, and the remaining garlic. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onion and cabbage, along with a pinch of salt. Stir the cabbage and onions until they begin to reduce and caramelize, about 15 minutes.

Add a 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water to deglaze the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan with the water.

Toss your cabbage/onion mixture in with the pasta and bread crumbs. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Top with toasted walnuts.

Yield: 8 servings (1 1/2 cups each)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 438 calories; 20.1 g. fat; 6 mg. cholesterol; 166 mg. sodium; 55.6 g. carbohydrate; 9.6 g. fiber; 13 g. protein

Result: Loved this – Mr. Prevention, too. I added more red pepper flakes (close to 1 heaping teaspoon). I would cut back the garlic which is noted above (original recipe called for 6 cloves). The cabbage and onion add so much flavor for so few calories that a plentiful portion of pasta comes in under 450 calories and packed with fiber, heart-healthy fats and omega 3’s, and is very low in sodium. Great vegetarian meal. Enjoy!


I have a good feeling about this week – it’s going to be better than last. For sure. Powers of positive thinking, right? Plus, my week is starting off with a hockey game tonight…always a good thing to blow off Monday steam.

P.S. I’m in need of Q&A questions…send’em on over!

Be well,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. Melinda
    August 20, 2012 / 6:21 am

    Looks delicious as always. Sounds like you have a really great new job. I can imagine agreeing on garlic is a difficult thing. But I am with you, I love the garlic!

  2. Erica @ EricaDHouse.com
    August 20, 2012 / 7:30 am

    My bf also *loves* red pepper flakes and hates cabbage – but I think he’d definitely go foro thsi recipe!

  3. The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh
    August 20, 2012 / 7:33 am

    This looks awesome! If I wanted to reduce the recipe in half would I be able to use brussels sprouts?

  4. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    August 20, 2012 / 7:37 am

    garlic and onion are both things I developed a taste for much later in life. they can definitely be overdone, but I never mind it too much even if it is. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Kier
    August 20, 2012 / 8:12 am

    Yum. That looks really delicious.

  6. Kristen (swanky dietitian)
    August 20, 2012 / 12:24 pm

    I love garlic!! Both Tony and I do!
    But sometimes there is such a thing as too much. This dish looks fabulous! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. thehealthyapron
    August 20, 2012 / 12:34 pm

    Oh holy yum! I LOVE garlic so I’m not sure I would cut back…a lot of things people think are too garlicky I ALWAYS think needs MORE garlic lol Will have to try this! Glad you love your new job!!

  8. Biz
    August 20, 2012 / 2:13 pm

    You lost me on this one Nicole – not very often that it happens – you know I hate onions and cabbage? The only time I’ll eat it is if its sauerkraut. ๐Ÿ˜€ (sandwiched in a Reuben!)

  9. Leah @ Why Deprive?
    August 20, 2012 / 3:29 pm

    This sounds amazing. I’ve been on a huge cabbage kick lately (which is convenient considering I’m officially broke), and basically want to put it in everything. I’ll have to remember to make this.

  10. Renee @ Mykitchenadventures
    August 20, 2012 / 4:27 pm

    sounds like a very sophisticated version of some good ole cabbage and noodles! ๐Ÿ™‚ Having quite a bit of Polish heritage in me, I love me some cabbage and noodles.

  11. Heidi @ Food Doodles
    August 20, 2012 / 5:24 pm

    Ooooh, I love this idea. I love cabbage and breadcumbs mixed in with pasta was something my mom used to do when I was a kid. Definitely trying something like this when I get some cabbage ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Kate
    August 20, 2012 / 11:53 pm

    This job sounds so perfect for you!

  13. Joanne
    August 21, 2012 / 8:17 am

    I always add more garlic to recipes than they originally call for…the more the better, in my opinion!! And if this recipe can get to me to add a cabbage recipe to my repertoire than it’s a definite win!

  14. Louanne
    August 21, 2012 / 8:38 am

    What an amazing dish! I’m a type II diabetic and gf, so I’m going to make it with shirataki noodles. Just found your blog and loving the recipes.

    • Nicole, RD
      August 21, 2012 / 2:02 pm

      Louanne: That sounds like a great substitute – hope you enjoy and thanks for reading! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Jessica @ Sunny Side Up
    November 8, 2012 / 9:55 pm

    Made this tonight and we loved it! It makes a TON, but that’s good for me because that means leftovers!

  16. Pingback: Pasta Dishes
  17. Pingback: Braised Summer Cabbage with Fried Potatoes, Feta, and Dill - Joanne Eats Well With Others

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get my newest recipes
Follow Me