Ethiopian Cabbage Dish

Dear Kaki,

I got your granola in the mail last week!  Oh my, it was such a great break in the breakfast routine.  Also, I may have kept the bag in my purse so I could have some as a little snack whenever I wanted.  Thank you so much for sharing with me!

I have also been planning my homemade gifts this year.  Several of them are still in the, uh, final stages.  Yeah, we’ll call it final stages, sure.  🙂  However, at least one of them is done and I’m just waiting for it to come in the mail and I could not be more excited, Kaki.  I’m going to try to keep it a secret, but as a teaser to anyone reading this that isn’t Kaki: it will be available to download for free on Christmas Day!  Whatever could it be?!

In the meantime, I’ve been doing a whole lot of not cooking this past week.  I’ve been dining out or eating whatever was in my freezer or eating that last kolache from the office breakfast for lunch.  There are dishes in my sink that need not be dated.  I just haven’t been home much lately, and when I have it’s been to holy crap do as much laundry as possible and then work on Christmas gifts and then work on Cooper’s baby shower (which is this Saturday!) and in all of that I have no idea how I managed to make this dish.  Actually, I do remember, it was that night we got off of choir “early” at 9:30 and I got home and messed around on the internet until 11 and then thought, huh, I don’t have anything to eat for lunch tomorrow unless I make something and instead of making the super freakin’ simple dish I had planned, I decided to tackle the much more complicated one.  And be up until 2 for it.  Some nights I may need to text you and have you talk me out of starting a cooking project that late.

I was upset with myself about it, but only until lunch the next day, when I remembered why I love this dish so much.  Kaki, it’s like a meat-and-potatoes dish without the meat.  It is, somehow, once again a vegan dish.  And yet it it hearty and salty and satisfying.  I just adore it.

It does, however, take quite a while to make.  I spent the first hour*chopping onions and garlic and carrots and cabbage and potatoes.  And the potatoes took forever to cook through because even though I used my largest skillet they were still heaped up on top of each other and didn’t all get the same heat by a long shot.  But it makes 6 deliciously satisfying portions**, and the flavors just get better the couple of days the leftovers sit in the fridge, so overall, a winner.

Make this on a weekend, is what I’m saying.

Ethiopian Cabbage Dish

(revised a bit from


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins about 1/4-inch thick.
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 head*** of cabbage, diced into about 1-inch pieces
  • 5 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (I used regular ol’ russets)
  • Salt, to taste


After prepping all of the veggies, heat the olive oil in your largest skillet over medium heat.  Once hot, add the carrots and onions and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, stir it into the onion and carrot mixture, and saute another minute or two.

Add the salt, pepper, cumin, tumeric, and cayenne to the skillet, and stir to incorporate.  Continue to saute for another two minutes to let the flavors of the spices bloom in the hot oil.  Then add the cabbage and stir to incorporate.  Cook the cabbage, stirring only occasionally, for 20 minutes.  (Leave it uncovered, because you want the cabbage to let out its moisture, and once that moisture evaporates it will start to really fry up in the oil.  The last five minutes or so you’ll really start to see some nice brown marks on the bottom layers of cabbage and carrots.)

Look at how dry that skillet is!  And those lovely brown marks on the carrots.  Yum yum.

Look at how dry that skillet is! And those lovely brown marks on the carrots. Yum yum.

Add the potatoes and stir to incorporate them into the cabbage mixture.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Cover and cook for between 40-60 minutes (yes, mine took that long), stirring every ten minutes or so so that new potatoes are worked to the bottom of the dish.

Season with more salt at the table.  I probably added another 1/4 teaspoon of salt to each serving, but you may prefer more or less, so I left the original salt level alone.

Hearty.  Healthy(ish).  Cheap.  Success.

Hearty. Healthy(ish). Cheap. Success.

Merry Early Christmas, Kaki!  Hopefully I’ll get to see you when you’re in town this weekend.  You know what, no, scrap “hopefully”: we’ll make it happen. 🙂


*Things I mused over during this time:  Why does it take so long to peel potatoes?  And why do they suction themselves to my knife and make it impossible to just easily dice them up?  And would this take me less time if I weren’t just this side of diagnosibly OCD?

**The last portion was quite large, so I pan-fried half of what was left to warm it up, then turned the heat down and scrambled in two eggs.  GIRL.  It was incredible.  I use this pan-fry-and-then-add-eggs method for all kinds of leftovers, it’s one of my favorite methods, but it always works best with something with potatoes in it.

***Sprouts sells cabbages already cut in half!  How genius is that?!  I can’t tell you the last time I saw a recipe call for more than half of a head of cabbage, and then you just have the other half staring back at you from the crisper drawer with that sad, “You’re not going to do anything with me before I spoil, are you?” guild trip in its eyes.  Or, is that only me?


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