Cabbage Pasta

turkey cabbage pasta

While cabbage pasta might sound plain, it’s actually packed full of flavor and really easy to make – a perfect weeknight dinner!

I’ve been in a funk with dinner ideas for what seems like months. Occasionally, I have some great concoctions, but I’ve been a blank slate more than I care to admit – an unexpected reality during late winter months and the limited winter seasonal produce my whole family can eat. 

I like ground turkey recipes as healthier dinner options, but my husband can get tired of them (understandably so). This cabbage pasta is a slight remix on a recipe from Real Simple magazine a few years ago.

It uses the same pan to cook the meat and then the cabbage, so all the flavors blend together during cooking. I used to make it frequently, but then it fell out of my rotation. After making it again recently, I think it’ll be back in the rotation…

Cabbage Pasta

Just like most of my dinner recipes, cabbage pasta offers a lot of flexibility. I’ve used just green cabbage and even red and green napa cabbage together. You can use one or the other. While red cabbage would be totally tasty, the color will likely change the dish – maybe a fun twist on dinner.

You can obviously omit the ground turkey if you’re like or sub in another ground meat to your liking. Ground beef would certainly up to flavor (though I prefer ground beef in these giant meatballs served over ricotta).

And obviously any pasta will do, but I like long noodles as they combine well with the sliced cabbage. I also like to sprinkle chili flakes OR smoked paprika over mine, but just fresh black pepper is a nice finish.

halved and shredded cabbage on table

How Much Cabbage Pasta Does this Make?

The recipe below yields 4-6 servings. You’ll notice that it calls for just ½ lb of pasta. Because the cabbage has a bit of crunch and is cut long, it mixes well with the pasta. It’s almost a pasta substitute!

If you want to make more, however, you can certainly add in more pasta. You’ll certainly want to taste it to adjust seasonings.


Cabbage is lovely winter vegetable that will last for some time (see a complete list of winter produce here). Store (dry) whole heads in an open bag, checking periodically for moisture collecting.

If outer leaves seem wilted or are browning, simply remove them to get to inner leaves that will still be great for cooking and eating.

cabbage pasta

How to Slice Cabbage

Prepackaged cabbage and cole slaw mix is out there, but you’ll save money and get better, fresher cabbage if you shred it yourself.

Remove any wilted or damaged outer leaves. Rinse clean and pat dry.

Set cabbage on cutting board with stem on the “bottom” – against the cutting board. With a large, sharp knife, cut the head of cabbage in half (along the core) and then cut each half in half again (along core again). You’ll have 4 quarters.

From there you’ll want to cut the core out of the cabbage before beginning to shred.

The most basic shredding option is actually just to use your large, sharp kitchen knife. Place each quarter with a flat side down against the cutting board. Carefully slice horizontally or vertically and then chop to desired length.

You can also use a mandolin or your food processor with the shredder attachment.

ground turkey and cabbage pasta close up

I’m very big on trusting your gut and intuition about food. Food VERY clearly tells you when it’s no longer good. Here is my approach to when to throw away leftovers!

ground turkey and cabbage pasta in small bowl on shadowy table

More Pasta Recipes

Want some other good pasta recipes? This tuna pasta recipe is easy, inexpensive and delicious! Simpler versions (great as a side dish too) are pasta and peas and this one pot summer veggie pasta is a mandatory one in our house.

If you have ham and/or asparagus, this ham pasta is delicious (and great for leftovers after holiday meals)!

On the lighter side, this fresh cherry tomato pasta with ricotta is divine and this broccoli pasta is heartier than you’d ever expect from a plant-based meal!

turkey cabbage pasta
Print Recipe
5 from 11 votes


My husband loves pasta and I live for veggies. This cabbage pasta dish is the best of both worlds. The cabbage replaces some of the pasta, but you don’t have to skimp in the flavor. I’ve heard it’s also a great way to sneak some veggies into those picky eaters at your dinner table!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: dinner, easy dinner, pasta
Servings: 4
Calories: 401kcal
Author: Luci Petlack


  • ½ lb. pasta
  • olive oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 head Cabbage sliced (approx. 12 Cups)
  • 1 ½ cups stock
  • chili flakes optional
  • salt
  • fresh pepper


  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 2 teaspoons salt to boiling water before adding pasta. Reserve at least ½ Cup pasta water just before draining pasta.
  • Meanwhile heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in very large saute pan or pot with lid. Add ground turkey. Season with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook 6-8 minutes. Remove turkey from pan and cover. It's ok if turkey isn't completely cooked through at this point as it will return to the pan later.
  • Add minced garlic to pan. Cook 1 minute until fragrant. Add cabbage. Let cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning garlic. Add stock. Cover and cook 6 minutes. Stir cabbage. Add turkey back to pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add ½ Cup pasta water and chili flakes (if desired).
  • Add pasta and stir carefully – your pan/pot will be full.


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Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 600mg | Potassium: 853mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 439IU | Vitamin C: 84mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 3mg

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  1. 5 stars
    I’m always looking for ways to get more vegetables into my diet and this was perfect! So easy to make, packed full of nutrients AND it was delish. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 5 stars
    I love the idea of supplementing pasta with cabbage to save on carb overload. Looks amazing and ground turkey is a fave in my household!

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