Caramelized Cabbage and Walnut Pasta

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The humble cabbage is a really versatile vegetable, stretching its flavor profile towards both sweet and savory in this recipe. Stretch your pasta dinner and add healthful fiber filled with flavor. Don’t skip the walnuts for a great contrasting crunch and healthy Omega-3s!


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced OR white onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds finely sliced green cabbage
  • 1 pound spaghetti or other long pasta
  • 4 ounces parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 – 4 Tablespoons lemon juice (from one large lemon)
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (worth the splurge!)


  1. Add butter and olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add leeks (or mild white onion), garlic and cabbage. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and stir to combine. Cook and stir until wilted, about 4 minutes. Lower heat to medium low, cover the pot, and cook for 10 minutes without stirring. Check every few minutes to make sure it’s not burning. Lower heat and stir if it looks too brown.
  2. At ten minutes, remove the lid and give a good stir. Cover again and cook for 5 more minutes until super sweet and tender. Taste and season with salt.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions but do not drain the pasta from the water. Instead, use tongs to move the cooked pasta, dripping with water, into the pot with the cabbage. Add about 1 cup of pasta cooking water to the cabbage and pasta pot now. Stir and add parmesan cheese and black pepper. Toss well to combine.
  4. Add lemon juice, adjust seasonings, if needed. Serve with more cheese and the toasted walnuts.