This healthier version of fried cabbage is lightly sautéed with leeks and finished off with oven-roasted bacon. Sautéed Cabbage with Leeks and Bacon is a great choice to serve along with corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day but makes for a delicious side dish anytime of year!
It seems so oddly simple but when you slice and sauté a head of green cabbage it becomes surprisingly delicious. The rubbery leaves soften and become naturally sweet. And, when it’s cooked along with a touch of butter and leeks, it turns into a super tasty side dish.
So tasty, in fact, that I will add this Sautéed Cabbage with Leeks and Bacon to my menu all year long. It’s a great way to add a fiber boost to your diet and my kiddos have loved the stuff since they were wee little ones. It’s also packed with nutrition. Check out this article on Healthline for the complete nutritional breakdown and other benefits of adding cabbage to your diet.
All About Leeks
You may feel a bit intimidated by leeks if you’ve never cooked with them before so let’s talk about it!
Leeks are a classic spring vegetable but can be found year round at most grocery stores. They look like GIGANTIC green onions but are much milder in flavor. In fact, they are one of the mildest members of the onion family which makes them a great choice for potato dishes, soups and sautés like this one. Leeks are a great way to add a mild onion flavor to a dish without overwhelming it.
How to Slice and Clean Leeks
Leeks have a tendency to trap dirt in their tightly compressed layers and should be thoroughly cleaned before cooking.
The usable parts of the leek are the white base and lighter green section of the leaves. The darker green leaves have a tougher texture and are typically discarded or saved to make soup stock. For this reason, look for leeks with as much white and light green as possible when shopping.
- Trim and discard the root end and the darker green leaves.
- Use a sharp knife to slice the leek cylinders in half, lengthwise, to expose the center.
- Flip each half over to be cut-side down and slice them crosswise in about 1/2-inch slices.
- Transfer the sliced leek to a salad spinner, rinse them very well with cool water and spin them until mostly dry. You can repeat this process a 2nd time to ensure they are very clean.
- If you don’t have a salad spinner, transfer the sliced leeks to a bowl of water and use your hands to move them around to dislodge any dirt. Then transfer them to a colander to drain.
How to Make Sautéed Cabbage with Leeks and Bacon
Unlike traditional fried cabbage dishes which are typically fried in bacon grease, this healthier version is lightly sauteed in a little butter and vegetable oil. Oven-roasted bacon is added at the end of the cooking process to add great flavor.
You want to roast your bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees F just until nicely crisped. Avoid over-crisping the bacon because the chewy/meaty bite is really nice in this dish.
- Melt the butter with the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Add the chopped cabbage, leeks, and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste and sauté for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender and begins to brown.
- Tear the cooked bacon into pieces and add it to the pot.
It’s that easy and it’s SO good!
I hope you’ll give this dish a try on St. Patrick’s Day or ANY day!
Looking for corned beef recipes? Whatever method you’re looking for, I’ve got you covered.
- Guinness Corned Beef (stovetop)
- Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage
- Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
Sautéed Cabbage with Leeks and Bacon
- 1 small head green cabbage
- 1 large leek
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 slices cooked thick-sliced bacon (not too crispy)
- Cut the cabbage in half and place cut-side down. Slice into 1/2-inch thick slices, discard hard core pieces.
- Slice off the stem end and the dark green end of the leek and discard (or save for another use). Slice down the entire length of the leek cylinder to cut it in half and expose the center. Cut each half crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Place the sliced leek in a salad spinner, rinse well with cold water, and spin. Repeat this process, if needed. Alternately, transfer the sliced leek to a bowl of cold water and use your hands to move it around and dislodge and dirt. Drain well in a colander.
- Melt the butter with the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or large braiser over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Add the cabbage, leeks, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender and begins to brown. Tear the bacon into pieces and add it to the pot.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.