Nacho Cabbage


(Note: this post was originally published on February 4, 2021. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)

Cabbage Whaaaaaat???

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.

Here's How To Do It

Step 1: Cabbage Time!

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.

Step 2: Assembly

Now you're ready for assembly! Lay your cabbage scoops out on a serving platter so that the toppings can be heaped inside, as shown two photos above. 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, as shown directly above. 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.

Make It Work for YOU

This is definitely a dish that's easy to customize. You can make these nachos as decadent as you like! Feel free to add your grilled protein of choice on top and/or your favorite nacho cheese blend. You can smother them in whatever toppings you love most, either keeping things simple or going totally over the top.

You can also easily tweak the heat level. You'll see that the recipe below calls for bell peppers and poblanos. But if you really like heat, add a couple jalapenos! Or conversely, just use all bell peppers for a no-heat, kid-friendly version.

Make-Ahead Tips

Good news: this dish is super make-ahead friendly! You can prep the cabbage and let it sit in the fridge to marinate overnight- it will get even more flavorful and tender that way. You can also prep the filling ahead of time. When you're ready to eat, just assemble. Make sure to add your garnishes after you reheat and just before serving. Because you can make all of the components ahead of time, this is a great dish for entertaining... maybe for a game-day party??

Let's Talk Ingredients

Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Purple cabbage
  • Lime juice
  • Sea salt
  • Cooking oil
  • Red onion
  • Poblano pepper. Add a couple jalapenos for more heat, or substitute a green bell pepper for no heat.
  • Red bell pepper
  • Black beans
  • Corn. It's hard to argue with the ease of frozen corn. I like to buy the grilled, frozen corn at Trader Joe's during the winter for maximum flavor and ease. Thaw it before using.
  • Chili powder, cumin, coriander
  • Cayenne or hot sauce. Optional! This is another way to add (or omit) heat.
  • Cheese. Heap it on or leave it off; you do you.
  • Garnishes of choice. Some great options include fresh cilantro, avocado, pepitas, and/or crema, but you can use whatever you love for regular nachos.

Closing Thoughts

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.

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

Suggested Pairings

Blackberry Coconut Margarita

Tropical Guacamole

Mexican Street Corn Stuffed Peppers

Orange Jalapeno Brussel Sprouts

No-Cook Rainbow Black Bean Salad

Nacho Cabbage

A delightfully unexpected riff on nachos, this version uses colorful cabbage as the base! It has all your favorite nacho toppings in a much more nourishing package.



  • Quarter or half head of purple cabbage
  • Juice of a lime
  • Generous sea salt
  • Oil of choice for cooking
  • Red onion
  • Poblano pepper
  • Red bell pepper
  • 15 oz can of black beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1 c corn
  • 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 (fresh cilantro, avocado, pepitas, crema, etc)


  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.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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March 19, 2021
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.