Nacho Cabbage

Nachos get a major makeover... again. If you've followed this blog for a while, then I'm sure you're familiar with my all-time favorite Brussel Sprout Nachos and hopefully also my fresh, summery Watermelon Nachos. Clearly I have a thing for reinventing this classic comfort food dish. This time, I'm back at it with a nourishing, magically scoop-shaped veggie: the humble cabbage!

Yes indeed, cabbage nachos... or nacho cabbage, whichever you prefer. This dish has all your favorite nacho toppings, but heaped into delightfully crisp, colorful, nourishing cabbage scoops instead of on chips. It's the fresh spin on nachos I've always dreamed of!

This dish comes together quite quickly because you'll cook the toppings all in one skillet. It's a huge time saver, and makes this a great last-minute meal or robust appetizer. The only tricky part is getting the cabbage cut and marinated correctly, so I've illustrated it as a step-by-step process below. It doesn't take long, just requires a bit of thought.

Let's start with that cabbage! I like to use purple because of its wonderful, happy color. Assuming your cabbage head isn't absurdly large, cut it into quarters. If it's huge, sixths or eighths might be better. Your biggest wedges should be about palm-sized.

Take one or two of the quarters and cut off the stem so that you're left with a bunch of loose, triangular, scoop-shaped leaves. Separate the leaves from one another and place them in a large mixing bowl. Toss them (gently!) in lime juice and salt while you make the filling; this lightly pickles them and make a world of difference in the final flavor, so don't skip it.

Now you're ready for assembly! Lay your cabbage scoops out on a serving platter so that the toppings can be heaped inside, like this:

It will work best if there aren't any big gaps between the cabbage scoops. Try to keep the leaves, or at least the biggest ones, oriented so that they curve upward at the tips and will hold your filling. Next, fill them up! Don't worry about heaping hot filling onto the cabbage, it will actually help tenderize the cabbage and give it more flavor.

If you want to add cheese, do it now. It will melt as it sits on the hot filling. Or, if you do this in an oven-safe dish, you could pop it under the broiler for a minute to melt the cheese (just be careful not to wilt the cabbage too much, otherwise it will lose its crispness).

Save your fresh or delicate toppings for last. I like fresh cilantro and a ton of avocado! Maybe some crunchy pepitas too? Or a drizzle of crema? Just make sure to add these right before serving so they stay vibrant.

And that's it! Nacho cabbage in no time! This would be a great gameday or happy hour snack, or even a fun, nourishing meal.

One of the things I love about this dish is how easily you can customize it. Feel free to alter the filling as you like, perhaps adding more heat (jalapenos! hot sauce!), more veggies (roasted sweet potatoes would be a great addition), or more heartiness (some cooked quinoa would be awesome). And of course you can switch up the toppings too.

Cabbage is such a wonderful, versatile veggie. And the fact that it's reasonably-priced and keeps forever really makes it a winner! I pretty much always have a head of it in the fridge and love using it for everything from salads to slaw... and yes, even nachos.

I hope you guys will love this dish as much as I do! It has all the appeal of nachos, but is so much better for the body. It's also a great way to convert any cabbage skeptics you may have in your life.

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram.

Looking for another cozy, flavorful, and veggie-forward Mexican-inspired dish? These Orange Jalapeno Brussel Sprouts are one of my greatest loves.

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are all just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)
  • Quarter or half head of purple cabbage
  • Juice of a lime
  • Generous sea salt
  • Oil of choice for cooking
  • Red onion
  • Poblano pepper. Add a couple jalapenos for more heat, or substitute a green bell pepper for no heat.
  • Red bell pepper
  • 15 oz can of black beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1 c corn. If you're making these nachos during the winter, frozen corn is probably your best bet. Thaw it first. I like to buy the grilled, frozen corn at Trader Joe's during the winter for maximum flavor and ease.
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 0.5 tsp coriander
  • Dash of cayenne or hot sauce if desired
  • Cheese as desired
  • Garnishes of choice. Some great options include fresh cilantro, avocado, pepitas, and/or crema.
Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. Cut the cabbage into quarters, then cut the stem off so that you end up with separate scoop-shaped leaves.
  2. Separate the leaves, then toss them in a large mixing bowl with lime juice and salt. Let them sit while you make the filling.
  3. Dice up the red onion. In a large skillet with your cooking oil of choice, sautee the onion with a sprinkle of salt until tender.
  4. Dice up your peppers (poblano, red bell, and jalapenos if you want) and add them to the onion. Sautee for a few more minutes until the peppers are tender and the onion is slightly caramelized.
  5. Add the black beans, corn, and spices, and sautee everything for another few minutes until the spices are fragrant and everything is heated throughout. You can add a little dash of water if you feel like the filling needs more moisture.
  6. Lay the cabbage leaf scoops out as shown above, then load them up with the nacho toppings.
  7. Top with cheese if desired.
  8. Just before serving, add the fresh garnishes.


  1. While my finished product looked nothing likes yours (no surprise there), it was tasty, fun and perfect for a night when you just need something light and quick.

    1. The Rogue Brussel SproutMarch 20, 2021 at 1:54 PM

      I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It really is a fun dish. Haha and trust me, this wasn't my first attempt! It took me a few tries to figure out how to arrange the cabbage neatly.


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