This cabbage stir fry is like a tasty symphony of flavors in your mouth. You get that crispy cabbage, a little kick from sriracha, a touch of sweetness from maple syrup, and the savory umaminess from soy sauce. Plus, it’s super quick to make!
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If you’d like to explore quick and easy stir fry entrees, check out my recipe for broccoli lentil stir fry. My Thai oyster mushroom noodle stir fry and Thai glass noodles stir fry recipes also make delicious homemade meals.
❤️ Why you’ll love it
I genuinely love this cabbage stir fry recipe. It’s my top choice when I’m craving a delicious and wholesome meal. The kitchen fills with the mouthwatering aroma of ginger and garlic as I cook, and the fried cabbage and mushrooms are simply divine. The rich and creamy sauce perfectly complements the crispy vegetables, creating a delightful balance of flavors and textures.
It’s quite remarkable how such an unassuming vegetable like cabbage can be transformed into a scrumptious dish with just a handful of ingredients and a dash of spices! My family and friends are always pleasantly surprised.
🧾 Key ingredients
Cabbage is the star ingredient here, lending a mildly sweet flavor to the dish. Using both the cabbage leaves and stem is easy due to how easily available they are. Plus, it adds crunchiness to the dish while also soaking up the spices beautifully.
Canned brown lentils are a quick and easy source of protein, perfect for holding all those flavors in the stir-fry.
Vegetable broth adds thickness and flavor to the cabbage stir fry, keeping it moist and tender. You can use homemade or store-bought broth cubes.
Low sodium soy sauce adds depth and complexity while reducing the need for extra salt. It balances out the sweetness from the maple syrup.
🛒 You can find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Preparing the ingredients
Kick things off by getting the stir-fry sauce going. Take a small bowl and mix together the vegetable broth, a tbsp of rice vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup, a tsp sriracha, ginger, garlic, and cornstarch. Keep stirring until it thickens up nicely.
Now, time to prep the veggies. Shred the cabbage, finely slice the green onions and mushrooms, julienne the carrots, and finish by giving the spring onions a fine chop.
Making cabbage stir fry
Get your large skillet, wok, or frying pan heating up over medium heat on the stovetop. Add a good splash of coconut oil, throw in the sliced onions, and stir them around for 2 to 3 minutes until they turn a beautiful golden-brown.
Toss in the rest of the vegetables and keep stirring the mix over medium-high heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle a bit of salt and add some crushed black pepper.
Give the ingredients a few minutes to mingle. Add cooked and canned lentils and keep stirring your cabbage stir fry.
Before adding the stir fry sauce, whisk it and pour it on top. Stir and fry the vegetables until the sauce reaches the preferred consistency.
Finish it off with a garnish of chopped spring onions, and serve your cabbage stir fry with cooked rice.
💡 Expert tip
The key to a fantastic stir-fry is quick, high-heat cooking. This preserves the vibrant colors and textures of the veggies, locks in their flavors and juices, and requires less oil compared to slow cooking. So, before you begin, ensure all your ingredients are prepped and ready to go.
Gluten-free tamari sauce can be used instead of soy sauce for those whose tastes run towards deeper umaminess.
For those that like it hot, try increasing the spice levels using red bell peppers or sichuan peppercorns. Or simply toss in a few tablespoons of red pepper flakes.
Looking for a more nutty toasty flavor in the stir-fry? Use toasted sesame oil instead of coconut oil to fry the onions, but keep an eye on the heat (sesame oil has a lower smoke point compared to other cooking oils). Another option is to toast some sesame seeds in a dry pan and sprinkle them over the stir-fry.
🥣 Serving ideas
While cabbage takes the spotlight in this recipe, feel free to get creative by adding other pantry veggies like cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli, beans, or eggplants.
For a hearty meal, pair your cabbage stir-fry with udon, rice, or soba noodles. Adjust the sauce consistency and toss in your favorite noodles to turn it into a delightful ramen dish.
If you’re looking to boost the protein, top your stir-fry with crispy tofu for a well-rounded meal.
❄️ Storing tips
Cabbage has a good shelf life, making it suitable for extended storage. Remember to cool it to room temperature before refrigerating to avoid bacterial growth from hot food.
For leftovers, use an airtight container and store in the refrigerator at or below 4°C for 3-4 days. Note that watery sauce may affect reheating.
To store larger batches long-term, freeze in airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags for about 2-3 months.
Thaw in the fridge before reheating on the stovetop, in the oven, or microwave. Smaller portions are easier to reheat without compromising quality.
In stir-fries, Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a popular choice due to its tender, crispy texture. If you prefer, you can also explore other options like the peppery Savoy cabbage, sturdy bok choy, or the easily accessible and slightly stronger-tasting green cabbage.
The first step is to remove the outer leaves that are wilted or damaged, and then thoroughly wash the cabbage under cold running water. Then, place it on a cutting board with the stem facing upward and cut into two halves from top to bottom using a sharp knife. Traditionally, you should thinly slice or shred the cabbage into thin ribbons by making vertical cuts perpendicular to the boards.
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Cabbage Stir Fry
14 oz Cabbage
9 oz Button mushrooms
4 oz Brown lentils (canned)
1 Carrots (medium)
1 Onion (medium)
2 Tbsp Coconut oil
⅓ cup Vegetable broth
⅓ cup Soy sauce
1 Tbsp Rice vinegar
1+½ Tbsp Maple syrup
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
¼ tsp Sriracha (or any other chili paste)
1 Tbsp Ginger powder
3 cloves Garlic
4.5 oz Rice (cooked)
To make the stir-fry sauce, mix vegetable broth, soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari), rice vinegar, maple syrup, cornstarch, sriracha, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl.
Preheat a wok or frying pan to medium heat. Add coconut oil and sliced onions and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add mushroom slices, shredded cabbage, and julienned carrots and cook on medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes. Stir constantly. Season with salt and black pepper.
Add cooked and canned lentils and stir-fry sauce (remember to whisk it before adding).
Simmer for a couple of minutes while stirring. The sauce should thicken.
Serve it with rice and top it with chopped spring onion.