Stir Fry Chicken With Cabbage

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The recipe for Stir Fry Chicken With Cabbage is very simple to make and the result is delicious. Your home will smell amazing while the marinated chicken, cabbage, and carrots are cooking.

Last weekend, I made one of my favorite meals for family. Usually, I make stir fry chicken with broccoli and mushrooms, which is seen in the picture below:

Cabbage Stir Fry

Ground chicken in a skillet
Carrots and cabbage in a skillet
A skillet with cabbage and carrots
Cabbage stir fry in a skillet
A head of cabbage being chopped on a cutting board

In which an old ingredient learns new tricks: Cabbage Stir Fry. Thinly sliced cabbage sautéed with ground chicken (or with beef) and carrots in a light and flavorful Chinese-inspired stir fry sauce, this quick, healthy dinner will have you rethinking the possibilities of our friend, Mr. C.

Chicken and cabbage stir fry on a plate

Although cabbage is a common ingredient in Asian main dishes (both vegetarian and meat-based), the idea of using cabbage to make a healthy stir fry didn’t occur to me until recently.

I usually think of cabbage as an “on-the-side” situation.

Sautéed Cabbage. Cabbage Steaks. Asian Cabbage Salad. All are tasty, but none are a traditional main event.

Cabbage’s long shelf life (it can last several weeks in the refrigerator) and budget-friendly price tag have made it a popular ingredient in our home as of late, so I decided to see what more I could do with it.

And since “what more I could do with it” most often materializes as “ME HUNGRY, MUST EAT NOW!” that “more” followed the easy dinner path of least resistance: stir fry.

Cabbage stir fry on a plate with chicken

A Delicious Way to Cook Cabbage

If you’ve found cabbage suspect up until this point, cabbage stir fry will make a believer out of you.

  • While raw cabbage can be bitter, when sautéed as it is in this stir fry recipe, it becomes caramelized, lightly sweet, and tender. You’ll hardly recognize it.
  • Low carb lovers especially will rejoice. Twirled on a fork, the thin strands of cabbage reminded me of noodles.

In fact, by my second serving, I skipped the rice I’d planned to serve with the stir fry entirely. The stir fry cabbage is entirely satisfying on its own.

Easy cabbage stir fry with chicken

A Special Ingredient to Elevate Your Cabbage Stir Fry

Our kitchen is no stranger to clean-out-the-fridge stir fry situations—Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry, Tofu Stir Fry, and Easy Chicken Stir Fry with Vegetables and Mandarin Oranges are but three of many.

What makes this recipe special (other than its namesake addition of cabbage) is a new spice I’ve never used in a stir fry before but that sets it apart: ground cloves.

Now, it might sound like I just opened my spice cabinet, closed my eyes, and grabbed the first container within reach, but there’s a method to my madness.

  • Cloves are a key ingredient in Chinese five spice powder.
  • Since Chinese five spice is a lesser-stocked ingredient in many U.S. homes, I wanted to see if I could create a stir fry with its subtle, warm effect, without asking you to purchase a new spice you might only use once or twice a year.

If you do own Chinese five spice powder, by all means feel free to use it here. If you were looking for an excuse to buy it, this cabbage stir fry is a good one. (Use about 1 teaspoon and omit the cloves).

And if neither of the above applies to you, use ground cloves. You’ll be pleased with the results.

Two Asian pantry staple ingredients I do insist you buy are low sodium soy sauce (or gluten free tamari or coconut aminos for our Paleo friends) and rice vinegar.

These two, along with fresh garlic and ginger, will open you to just about every one of the healthy stir fry recipes you can find here.

Cabbage stir fry on a plate

How to Make Cabbage Stir Fry

This recipe calls for basic green cabbage, which is inexpensive and widely available. It looks like a large orb and has wide, pale green leaves.

  • This recipe would also work with red cabbage (no changes to the recipe needed).
  • If you are looking for something to do with Chinese cabbage (also called Napa cabbage) you can use it to make stir fry. Not that since it is more tender, it will cook more quickly.

The Ingredients

  • Ground Chicken. I chose to use ground chicken in this recipe, since it’s lean and versatile. In addition to chicken, beef and pork go well cabbage, so feel free to swap out the ground chicken for a lean version of one of these or for ground turkey.
  • Cabbage. The unexpected stir fry star! Once cooked, the cabbage is delightfully tender and coated in the rich flavors of the sauce and spices. Cabbage also brings oodles of Vitamin-C and potassium to the dish
  • Carrots. An easy and healthy way to bring color to the stir fry. Carrots are rich in Vitamin-A and fiber
  • Ground Cloves. My sneaky spice addition that adds warmth to the dish.
  • Garlic + Ginger. Essentials for the best stir fry flavor
  • Red Pepper Flakes. For a pinch of spice. If you prefer less spice in your stir fry, you can scale it back.
  • Stir Fry Sauce. Soy sauce, maple syrup, and rice vinegar coat every ingredient in a rich blend of umami/sweet flavors. It will keep you coming back for more (and more!).
  • Green Onions + Cilantro. For a finishing touch of freshness.

The Directions 

  1. Add the garlic, ginger, and spices to one bowl, and add the stir fry sauce ingredients to another.
  2. Cut the cabbage (check out the section below for tips on how to cut cabbage for stir fries).
  3. Brown the chicken, stirring in part of the soy sauce.
  4. Saute the cabbage and carrots.
  5. Pour in the sauce ingredients, cover, and cook until the cabbage is wilted.
  6. Add the green onion, cilantro, and chicken. ENJOY!

How to Cut Cabbage for Stir Fry

To make sure that the cabbage is tender and caramelizes in your stir fry, the key is to slice it thinly.

  1. Slice off the stem end of the cabbage head so that you have a sturdy base.
  2. Cut the cabbage in half starting from the top and working towards the bottom, cut end.
  3. Lay the cut side down on the cutting board so that its flat surface is touching the board.
  4. Cut each piece in half again.
  5. Turn each resulting quarter piece crosswise, and cut it into thin strips (about 1/8-inch thick). The strips are ready to be used in the stir fry!

Cabbage Stir Fry Storage Tips

  • To Store. Cabbage stir fry can be stored in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm stir fry in a large skillet or wok on the stovetop over medium-low heat. Add a splash of rice vinegar to perk the cabbage back up.
  • To Freeze. Leftovers can be frozen in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. The cabbage texture may change a bit, but the flavors will still be tasty.

What to Serve with Cabbage Stir Fry

While this recipe is delicious served on its own, here are a few ideas of what you could serve with it:

  • Rice. A side of brown, white, or cauliflower rice would be delicious with this stir fry.
  • Noodles. Try it with brown rice noodles for a tasty, filling meal.
  • Veggies. Take your vegetable servings up a notch with a side of Roasted Frozen Broccoli.

Chicken Cabbage Stir Fry Recipe

Quick and easy Asian inspired Chicken cabbage stir fry prepared in one frying pan! Low-carb and one-pot meal.

 Total Time: 20 minutes

Asian-inspired Chicken Cabbage Stir Fry skillet, prepared in just one pan within minutes.

Enjoy this delicious cabbage chicken meal to the fullest, because it’s gluten-free & low-carb as well!

Watch the how-to video and get the step-by-step recipe!

Quick Chicken Cabbage Stir Fry Recipe

One night I was about to cook a chicken chow mein.

I had prepared and cut all the fresh ingredients when I realized I was out of Chinese egg noodles (aka Low Mein noodles).

I decided to move on anyway because let’s face it, you have to eat when you are hungry!

So, I prepared a chicken cabbage stir fry, but with carrots.

Chicken Cabbage Stir Fry

The end result was alright, the carrots were too much of the good.

I skipped the carrots the next time when I prepared them again, and that is how this quick chicken cabbage stir fry came to be

🧅 Ingredients

The chicken and cabbage meal is low in carbs, gluten free, and includes wholesome ingredients.

You can switch some ingredients to your liking if you prefer.

I mention below each some ingredients how you can substitute them effectively.

Quick Chicken Cabbage Stir Fry Recipe

Chicken

For the chicken use, boneless breast or boneless legs lean chicken pieces.

I shredded the chicken into lengthy bite-sized equal bites.

Try to get A-grade chicken, it’s superior in quality and won’t turn chewy during the cooking process.

You can substitute the chicken with boneless turkey meat.

Cabbage

I simply tend to use whichever cabbage I have in my fridge.

That can be the regular globally most common cabbage head, or it can also be a Chinese cabbage variety such as Napa Cabbage.

Quick Chicken Cabbage Stir Fry Recipe

Chinese Cooking Chopsticks to Stir Fry

Ginger & Garlic

Both Ginger and Garlic, go hand in hand and are common in Asian cuisine.

The ginger lends the dish a warm spicy touch and the garlic compliments these flavors.

Green Onions

Also called Spring Onions, green onions are used to create flavor and to garnish the dish.

Separate the bulb from the stalks and use the sliced stalks as a garnish.

Quick Chicken Cabbage Stir Fry Recipe

Soy Sauce

I use regular thin Soy Sauce here. It acts as a stir-fry sauce.

The soy sauce is added while you sauté the cabbage and chicken. IT adds flavor and salty touch to the meal.

Sesame

I like to just sprinkle some sesame seeds, black and/or white, over my meal. That is, to give it an Asian touch altogether.

You can also simply sprinkle some sesame oil over the meal.

Red Pepper Flakes (aka Red Chili Flakes)

The pepper flakes add little heat and are great as a garnish because of the red shredded bits.

It’s visually appealing, and this is why I add it as a garnish at the end.

Quick Chicken Cabbage Stir Fry Recipe

🥣 Flavor variations

Over time, I tried this recipe by adding or switching some ingredients, and you can do the same and experiment around.

The most notable change was the use of turkey meat strips instead of chicken.

I totally recommend you try that too.

I also tried using red cabbage instead of napa cabbage and the result was great too because you also eat with your eyes.

Another time I threw in some fish sauce, besides soy sauce, and that was another winner in my book.

For a curried chicken cabbage stir fry, add a teaspoon of curry powder during the stir-fry process.

CHICKEN CABBAGE STIR FRY

This chicken cabbage stir fry is quick to make (only 25 minutes!), healthy, and totally delicious. Tender chunks of chicken are cooked with low-carb cabbage noodles, some broccoli, and red peppers. It’s an easy and inexpensive dinner recipe that will make your weeknight evenings a whole lot tastier.

A frying pan full of chicken cabbage stir fry with red peppers and broccoli.

If you love quick, easy, and healthy weeknight recipes then you’ll love this cabbage stir fry. 

5 REASONS TO MAKE THIS CABBAGE STIR FRY TONIGHT

  1. It’s the sneakiest way to eat your veggies. The cabbage becomes noodle-like when cooked so you get your veggies AND your noodles all at once.
  2. The two-ingredient sauce adds just the right amount of flavor without taking any time to make.
  3. 25 minutes from start to finish means you’ll be finished cooking and eating in less time than a delivery dinner takes to arrive.
  4. While leftovers aren’t as pretty the next day, they are every bit as delicious.
  5. It’s a Whole30, dairy-free, low-carb recipe that your whole family will love!
A close up of a piece fo chicken in this cabbage stir fry recipe.

CABBAGE STIR FRY SAUCE INGREDIENTS

As this is the recipe we reach for when we’re short on time, we’ve kept the ingredients here very simple. We use coco aminos instead of soy sauce as it has a similar flavor with way less sodium. It also has a slight sweetness which works well in this recipe. If you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute soy sauce.

For the chicken, we mix the coco aminos with a little bit of mayonnaise which makes the chicken just a tiny bit creamy.

We’ve kept the ingredient list short and sweet for the sake of simplicity. But if you have a few extra minutes and want to spice up this recipe, you can add a few minced garlic cloves, 2 or 3 teaspoons of minced ginger, and a teaspoon of sesame oil when you’re cooking the veggies.

If you love cabbage, also try these cabbage rolls!

CHICKEN CABBAGE STIR FRY

yield: 4 SERVINGS

prep time: 5 MINS

cook time: 20 MINS

total time: 25 MINS

This chicken cabbage stir fry is quick to make (only 25 minutes!), healthy, and totally delicious. Tender chunks of chicken are cooked with low-carb cabbage noodles, some broccoli, and red peppers. It’s an easy and inexpensive dinner recipe that will make your weeknight evenings a whole lot tastier.

If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!

stop your screen from going dark while you cook this recipe

INGREDIENTS

The Chicken

  • 4 medium chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • ½ teaspoon EACH: salt and pepper, see notes
  • 2 tablespoons EACH: mayonnaise and coco aminos, can sub soy sauce

The Cabbage Stir Fry

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 3 cups cabbage
  • 1 medium red pepper, sliced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons coco aminos, can sub soy sauce

INSTRUCTIONS 

  • Cut the chicken breasts into 4 strips each. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear for 5 minutes on each side, or until no longer pink in the middle.4 medium chicken breasts,1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • While the chicken is cooking, chop the veggies. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and coco aminos. When the chicken is cooked, add it to the bowl and toss to coat.2 tablespoons EACH: mayonnaise and coco aminos
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan along with the cabbage, red pepper, and broccoli. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the veggies just barely start to soften. Add the coco amino and cook, stirring a few times, for another 3 minutes.1 tablespoon cooking oil,3 cups cabbage,1 medium red pepper,1 small head of broccoli,2 tablespoons coco aminos
  • Divide the cabbage stir fry between 4 plates and top with the chicken. Drizzle any sauce left in the bowl over the cabbage.

NOTES

Omit the salt if you’re using soy sauce rather than coco aminos.

serving: 1 serving = ¼ of the recipe, calories: 418kcal, carbohydrates: 17g, protein: 53g, fat: 15g, saturated fat: 2g, polyunsaturated fat: 4g, monounsaturated fat: 7g, trans fat: 1g, cholesterol: 146mg, sodium: 835mg, potassium: 1471mg, fiber: 6g, sugar: 6g, vitamin a: 2003IU, vitamin c: 196mg, calcium: 106mg, iron: 2mg

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