This simple Warm Cabbage Salad with Pan-Seared Sausage is full of comforting flavors reminiscent of European home cooking. The richness of the savory sausage is balanced by the acidic bite of red wine vinegar and whole-grain mustard, tossed with crunchy vegetables, and punctuated by a sprinkling of caraway seeds. It’s ready to serve in less than 30 minutes, so it’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner!
It’s been about a month since my last post, as I have been crawling my way back to health from a nasty flu virus that simply flattened me. Now that I’m actually cooking again, I’m keeping it simple with tasty, low carb comfort food. I suppose that you could call this recipe a one-skillet dinner, but it’s basically a hearty warm salad that serves as a main dish because of the inclusion of pan-seared Polish-style sausage.
The sausage is the star of the show, and I start with a high-quality, cooked, all-beef product. There are a number of varieties of sausage on the market without sugars or suspect additives and fillers, but you must check the labels to be sure. I happen to use an uncured grass-fed beef sausage that’s available at my local Costco. You could use whatever type of sausage you’d prefer. If you choose a leaner version, such as chicken or turkey, you’ll want to add a little extra avocado oil to compensate or you won’t have enough fat for the vinaigrette.
After the sliced sausage is seared and set aside, I saute a small amount of onion and red bell pepper for color, texture, and flavor, while still keeping the carbs low. Then I briefly heat half of cabbage to wilt it slightly, and add the remainder at the end to maintain a crunchy texture and volume.
For cabbage, I generally use the plain green variety, but whatever happens to be your favorite will work. You can shred it yourself, or make things even more simple as I did here and use a bag of already-shredded cabbage. Mine happened to be entirely green cabbage, but there’s no harm in using a coleslaw mix that has a bit of carrots and purple cabbage too.
The ‘dressing’ for the salad is effectively a vinaigrette that’s made in the skillet from the fat from the sausage drippings, along with a bit of avocado oil, plus a splash of red wine vinegar, whole-grain mustard, and a few spices. There’s also a little water added, which helps release the caramelized bits left the skillet (fond) to add even more flavor. It’s a super simple technique that leaves not a speck of goodness behind!
Just before serving, I like to sprinkle some caraway seeds and sliced green onions over the top for another layer of flavor. My Warm Cabbage Salad with Pan-Seared Sausage is not only tasty and satisfying, it’s so easy that I predict you’ll find yourself reaching for this recipe again and again.
What are some of your favorite warm or wilted salads? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section!
- 12 oz / 340 g beef Polish-style sausage, cooked, sliced ½" thick on the diagonal
- 1 tbsp / 15 g red wine vinegar, or more to taste
- 1 tbsp / 15 g whole-grain mustard, or more to taste
- ¼ c / 2 fl oz / 60 ml water
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp / 15 g avocado oil (add a teaspoon or 2 extra if sausage is lean)
- 1 oz / 28 g onion, raw, peeled and sliced thin
- 2 oz / 56 g red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
- 10 oz / 283 g cabbage, shredded
- ½ tsp / 1 clove minced garlic
- ½ tsp caraway seeds
- 1-2 stalks green onion, sliced, for garnish (optional)
- Heat a 12" skillet over medium high heat. Add sliced sausage in a single layer and let cook on one side for about 2 minutes. Turn and cook another two minutes. Remove sausage to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. While sausage is cooking, whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and water in a small bowl, and set aside.
- Return skillet to stove and reduce heat to medium. Add avocado oil. After a minute, add the onion and bell pepper and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until veggies are softened and beginning to brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add half of cabbage and garlic to mixture and toss with tongs. Cook until cabbage begins to wilt, about 1 minute. Push the cabbage mixture to the side of the skillet.
- Add vinegar mixture to the skillet and let reduce for about a minute, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the cooked bits on the bottom of the pan (fond). Add remaining cabbage and toss with mixture to incorporate and cook to heat through, about another minute. Adjust seasoning to taste with additional salt, pepper, and vinegar, if needed. Transfer to plates or serving dish and sprinkle with caraway seeds and green onions, if using.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated, well covered, for a day or two for best texture (up to 5 days is still safe to eat). Reheat gently in a skillet or microwave.
*I use Living Cookbook 2015, along with package information and data from www.nutritiondata.self.com, to calculate the nutritional information for my recipes. Thus, I can make no guarantees as to the accuracy.