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