Savoy cabbage falls into a big cruciferous family of vegetables, together with arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radish, and turnips. Savoy cabbage has layers of leaves surrounded by a core, which is not edible. The flowers have four petals arranged in the shape of a cross, which is why this group became known as cruciferous vegetables. Cabbage is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables, with recorded usage by the Celtic civilizations and the Greeks and Romans. Cruciferous vegetables are among the most nutritious foods we can consume. Savoy cabbage contains iron, calcium, magnesium, choline, copper, folate, and fiber. Cabbage is the world’s most popular vegetable, but in the US, we eat only one-fifth as much as people in eastern Europe, where in the not-too-distant past, it was one of the few vegetables available in the winter time (together with onions, beets, and potatoes and root vegetables). Savoy cabbage is perhaps the least known cruciferous vegetable in the US. When selecting any type of crucifer, look for a compact head that is firm and heavy for its size. After being harvested, cabbage keeps nutrients longer than Brussels sprouts and broccoli, so it lasts longer in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. But with all vegetables, the sooner you eat them, the more flavorful they will be. 

Fresh vegetables sitting on a counter

Here is a beautiful, fresh savoy cabbage and other vegetables my husband picked up a couple of weeks ago at a Saturday farmers’ market. To learn why freshly bought and organic vegetables can be more nutritious, read more here

cooked cabbage and ham in a skillet

Cooked Savoy Cabbage

Magda Born
Savoy cabbage falls into the cruciferous family of vegetables and contains iron, calcium, magnesium, choline, copper, folate, and fiber.
Course Side Dish


  • 1 head Savoy cabbage
  • 1/4 tsp Caraway seeds
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 large Potatoes (peeled & cubed)
  • Ham hock (optional)

For roux

  • 4 Tbs Fat (in this recipe I use avocado oil or pork lard)
  • 4 Tbs All-purpose flour


  • During the Covid quarantine, since we could not meet in person our usual Friday evenings, as we have been doing for years, my French friend Maude and I had regular Friday zoom cooking lessons. I taught her how to make savoy cabbage on this day. Maud is a vegetarian, so she skipped using the ham hock in her recipe.  
    Cabbage ingredients and pan on a counter
  • With along knife, cut savoy cabbage in half and cut out the inner core with a “V” shape cut. 
    Head of cabbage cut in half, on a cutting block
  • Remove any outside leaves that are wilted or brown. Slice the cabbage evenly, place it in a pot, and add hot water, caraway seeds, and garlic.
    Head of cabbage on a cutting block, in the process of being chopped
  • The cabbage will reduce as it cooks down. Cook on a slow boil until tender, about 20 minutes.
    Chopped cabbage cooking in a pan

Makinga White Roux

  • While the cabbage is cooking, prepare the roux by melting 4 Tbs of fat in a heavy-bottomed pan, add in 4 Tbsof flour and stir while cooking over medium heat until the roux is bubbly and the raw flour taste is gone, but the roux is still pale, about 2-3 minutes. Learn more roux-making tips in this recipe.
    Melted fat in a skillet

Heritage Pork 

  • Ham hocks are available at local farmers’ markets without nitrites (if you are concerned about this) and at certain grocers. Heritage varieties of pigs are also available from local farmers who raise them to help prevent their extinction. Heritage breads have a unique taste and flavor profiles and different fatty acid content. The ham hocks should be cooked separately from the cabbage. To shorten the cooking time, I cook mine in a pressure cooker or one pot. It takes about 20 minutes. Remove the cooked hocks from the bone, cut the meat into cubes, and add to the cooked savoy cabbage. 
    Cooked ham hocks on a white dish
  • When the savoy cabbage is soft, add the roux and cut up the ham hock if using. Omit the ham hock to make this a vegetarian dish. The finished dish has a bright green color, and the cooked savoy cabbage tastes sweet.
    cooked cabbage and ham in a skillet
Keyword cabbage, ham, vegetables



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Magda Born

Community Services Librarian

Kansas City, Kansas Public Library

625 Minnesota Ave.

Kansas City, KS 66101

913-295-8250 ext 1103