Italian Sautéed Cabbage and Onions Recipe

When you think Italian, you don’t often think of a sauteed cabbage recipe. However, Sautéed Cabbage and Onions is a surprisingly popular dish in Italy. The star of the show? A whole head of savoy cabbage—an extremely flavorful cabbage abundant in Italy. 

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About Italian Sautéed Cabbage and Onions

Some types of cabbage turn mushy when cooked long enough to become tender. Not this cabbage! In addition to be a favorite ingredient in Italian recipes, savoy cabbage is often used to make cabbage condiments like kimchi and sauerkraut.

Highly nutritious, savoy cabbage has vitamins A, C, K and B6. It also has potassium, manganese, thiamin, calcium, iron, folate and magnesium. And of course, we can’t forget fiber!

Use cabbage water to make broth!

Boiling the cabbage before sautéing ensures it will be tender. However, you will lose some of the nutrients of the cabbage into the water. We like to save the water the cabbage has boiled in as a base for homemade vegetable broth. That way, no nutrients go to waste!

This savoy cabbage recipe is more nutritious and flavorful than heavily fried cabbage. You’ll never look at cabbage the same way again.

How to Make Sautéed Cabbage and Onions

This savoy cabbage recipe starts with boiling the cabbage. Make a classic Italian ‘soffritto’ —in this case, olive oil infused with garlic and onions. Then, add bite-size pieces of boiled cabbage to the sautéed onions. Flavor with a good quality dry white wine, coarse salt and red pepper flakes. It’s that easy! 

Use the right type of cabbage.

Always use cabbage that is labeled savoy cabbage (not ‘green cabbage’). Savoy cabbage has a very different texture and much more flavor than the green cabbage typically used in slaws.

How to eat it.

Eat it alone, or enjoy the finished Sautéed Cabbage and Onions inside a homemade focaccia

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Italian Sautéed Cabbage and Onions

This savoy cabbage recipe starts with boiling the cabbage. Make a classic Italian 'soffritto' (olive oil infused with garlic and onions). Then, add bite-size pieces of boiled cabbage to the sauteed onions. Flavor with a good quality dry white wine, coarse salt and red pepper flakes. It's that easy! 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 347 kcal


  • 1 head savoy cabbage medium or large
  • 2 spring onions minced; or 2 leeks or 3 shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes or to taste
  • ½ cup olive oil enough to cover your pan bottom
  • ¾ cup white wine


Boil the Cabbage

  • Remove the inedible parts of the cabbage: the large stem at the bottom and the outer few leaves. The outer leaves tend to be bitter.
    1 head savoy cabbage
  • Boil the cabbage in a pot of water until tender. When tender, drain the cabbage.
  • Run cold water over the cabbage until it is cool enough to handle. Drain any excess water. Cut cabbage into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

Make the Soffritto

  • Sauté 3 whole cloves of garlic and the minced onions in a large pan coated with a generous amount of olive oil. Sauté over medium heat till onions turn translucent.
    2 spring onions, 3 cloves garlic, ½ cup olive oil

Sauté the Cabbage

  • When the onions are translucent, add the cooked cabbage to the skillet. Add coarse salt (1 Tbs), red pepper flakes (to taste) and the white wine. Stir to combine.
    1 tbsp coarse salt, 1 tbsp red pepper flakes, ¾ cup white wine
  • Cook the cabbage and onions uncovered for 15 minutes. This gives the wine a chance to reduce. 
  • Cover. Cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Uncover. Stir frequently until cabbage is tender and slightly browned.


Can’t find spring onions?
No problem! Substitute one of the following:
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 shallots
  • one medium white or yellow onion


Sodium: 1844mgCalcium: 99mgVitamin C: 72mgVitamin A: 2903IUSugar: 6gFiber: 8gPotassium: 615mgCalories: 347kcalSaturated Fat: 4gFat: 28gProtein: 5gCarbohydrates: 17gIron: 2mg
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