The first time I was invited to a vegetarian Thanksgiving, I remember feeling slighted. I was going to miss out on the very point of the day—the bird. Instead, I was impressed by the breadth of flavors that came to the table when we didn’t rely on turkey and gravy. For the last 10 years, when I’ve hosted dinners, vegetarians have made up a portion of my guest list, and I’ve gone from someone who resented having to “vegetarianize” meals to genuinely appreciating the dishes that center vegetables.
If this is your first time having to consider the veggies among us, this one hack will create a centerpiece dish that will satisfy absolutely everyone, wherever they fall on the scale, from vegan to the guest who eats the drumstick with their hands. Whole roasted cabbage may not sound exciting, but this dish is bonkers on the umami scale, with an appropriate amount of heft for a sit down meal, and looks amazing on the plate.
Inexpensive and easy to make
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I can give you four excellent reasons to consider this dish. First, it’s cheap. A giant head of cabbage is under $5. As a main dish, this serves four to five people, and as a side, as many as eight. It’s fast—the entire dish is prepped in under a minute, and cooks in just an hour. Also, it’s so easy it’s absurd; you absolutely cannot screw it up. Lastly, it’s unfussy. You can take it from oven to table, but you can also make it ahead and reheat it if necessary. In fact, if you make it and need some time before dinner, there’s no harm in it hanging out in the oven, you can’t really overcook it. It cooks at 400 degrees, so it’s likely to be able to cook alongside other dishes over the course of the day.
The perfection of this recipe is simplicity. You simply rub a whole cabbage head with miso, and then roast it for an hour at 400 degrees in a lidded pot. It doesn’t really matter what kind of pot, so long as it’s oven safe and the cabbage fits. For the first half, you leave the lid, on, so the cabbage can braise, and then finish it by taking the lid off so you get some nice browning as it roasts. It should be easy to slip a knife through the cabbage when it’s done, or you can return it to the oven until it is. You cut it into wedges and dress it, and then it goes right to the table.
Miso, raspberries and soy provide bright, umami rich flavors
This recipe relies on a few notes for success, namely that cabbage takes on flavor really well, but can still hold some bite texture wise. If you’re hosting a small group, one head of purple or green cabbage is plenty, but for a bigger crowd, getting two smaller heads, one of each color, means the plate is going to be a rainbow of color, with purple, bright green and then magenta pink from the raspberry soy. The miso provides this rich, deep flavor that caramelizes over the cabbage during the braise and roast, and then gets cut with a bright bit of acid from the raspberries.
I dare you not to love this dish.
Miso-roasted cabbage with raspberry soy sauce
- One head of cabbage, 4-6 pounds
- 2 tablespoons of white miso
- 1 cup of raspberries, fresh or frozen
- ¼ cup of soy sauce
- Preheat oven to 400 F degrees, with racks low enough to give clearance to pot with lid on.
- Slather the miso all over your cabbage using your hands.
- Place the cabbage in the pot, cover with the lid and place in oven. Cook for thirty minutes.
- Take the lid off and continue to cook for thirty minutes.
- Prepare the raspberry soy sauce by combining the soy and berries in a blender to desired consistency.
- Remove the pot, and slice the cabbage into eight wedges, and lay on a serving dish.
- Spoon the raspberry sauce over the cabbage and serve.