Sautéed Cabbage, Onions and Chicken with Smoked Paprika Tomato Sauce

This recipe for sautéed cabbage and onions quick braised in a smoky paprika tomato sauce with just the right amount of chicken is a low carb, low-fat one-pot meal. Loaded with vitamin C, its satisfying and good for you.

It's been cold here in San Diego.

I know what you're thinking:

"You Southern California folks don't know what cold is."

OK, so I'm a wimp.

But I kinda feel like it's all relative. I mean, when you're used to moderate weather, as soon as it dips below 70 degrees, it's chilly and when it dips into the low 60s? Well, then it feels like you're living in a freezer.

As I write this, it's New Years Day evening. Auntie and I didn't feel like cooking dinner tonight as we're still recovering from the whirlwind weekend of tamale-making for Christmas dinner. So we got in the car to head to a local restaurant and noticed that the car thermometer read 47 degrees outside. 47 degrees at 7:30 p.m. That's bloody cold for this San Diego native.

I've also been fighting a cold for a few days now. Why mention all this? Because the cold weather and my trying to keep illness at bay got me craving this dish in particular.

So I made it early in the day for lunch. It was warm and comforting and smoky, just a touch tangy and sweet. Did I mention this recipes makes a huge pan. Perfect! Cuz, leftovers! Yum.

Did you know cabbage is high in vitamin C? So are onions and tomatoes. Just what you need to shore up that old immune system. Toss in some chicken and you have a low carb, low fat one-pot meal that is not only satisfying but also good for you.

First we'll prep the cabbage and onions. I like to cut the onions in half from root to tip, cut off the tip and root, then slice into ¼"-thick slices also from root to tip. As for the cabbage, it gets quartered which makes it easy to slice away the core. 

Then each quarter is sliced across the short-side into ribbons about ½" thick.

The onion is sautéed in a little olive oil until just starting to turn golden.

Next comes the cabbage which will most likely nearly overflow your large sauté pan. That's OK, it will wilt.

To help it wilt, a little chicken stock goes in and the top put on (even if it doesn't actually close because there is so much cabbage in the pan). The stock will create steam and once the cabbage has wilted by just about half, it gets removed to a bowl ever so briefly.

A little more olive oil goes into the pan along with a combination of sweet and smoked paprika and some ground cumin.

That gets toasted up and incorporated with the oil for a minute to help cook out the rawness of the spices and release the pepper's natural oils.

In goes tomato sauce and more chicken stock before ... 

returning the cabbage to the pan along with some pre-cooked leftover chicken. Then it just braises a short 5 minutes to completely warm through. The short braise ensures that there is still a bit of crunch to some of the cabbage. I love that little bit of crunch.  

Just before serving, some chopped cilantro (or parsley if you're an anti-cilantro person) gets tossed in to add some fresh herbaceousness. It's such a simple humble dish and I can't believe I haven't shared it here yet.

If you want to make this vegan, simply sub out the chicken stock with vegetable stock and skip the chicken. It's just as tasty and closer to my father's original recipe.

I hope you try this. 

Until next time, friends, I hope 2019 brings you good health, lots of joy and tasty adventures! 

xo, ani

Sautéed Cabbage, Onions and Chicken with Smoked Paprika Tomato Sauce
Serves 4


1 large white onion, peeled
1 small to medium head of cabbage
olive oil
½ cup plus 1 cup chicken stock, divided
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ½ cups cooked chicken, shredded
⅓ cup chopped cilantro (or substitute parsley)


Cut the onion in half from root to tip then cut each half into ¼"-thick slices. Remove any wilted or rusted outer leaves of the cabbage, then quarter the cabbage and remove the core from each quarter. Slice each quarter into ½"-thick ribbons. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large 12-inch high-sided pan over medium high heat. Once oil is shimmering, add the onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions just start to turn golden, about 5-8 minutes. Add the cabbage to the pan, carefully stirring to bring up the hot onions from the bottom to the top. Pour in ½ cup of chicken stock, cover pan and allow to steam on medium heat for 5 minutes or until the cabbage has wilted down by about half. Remove the vegetables to a large bowl. Return the pan to the stove on medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan then add the paprikas and the cumin; stir, cooking for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the tomato sauce and the rest of the chicken stock and the salt; continue whisking until sauce is smooth. Return the vegetables to the pan along with the shredded chicken and toss to combine. Cook for 5 minutes, covered, to heat through. To serve, stir in the chopped cilantro (or parsley) then divide the cabbage between four bowls.


  1. Totes makin' this, Ani! Cheers!

  2. One of my commitnents this year (I avoid resolutions because I usually break them, lol) is to make more home cooked meals. I will eat cabbage but I am not a "fan".... this cabbage dish just might make me a cabbage groupie! Thanks Ani! Happy New Year!


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