A skillet, a head of cabbage, some onion, and a delicious pre-cooked smoked Kielbasa and you have a “Fried Cabbage and Kielbasa Skillet.” It is low carb, tasty, quick, and is inexpensive! On the table in minutes and a perfect leftover for tomorrow’s lunch. What could be better?
Our recipe for this skillet is much like Polish haluski without the noodles. That Eastern European classic recipe was very popular in Pittsburgh and we enjoyed it often. It was real “comfort food.” Our low-carb lifestyle means we now eliminate the noodles, but not the taste. Tonight we even added a few simple ingredients to enhance the taste and the presentation.
Cabbage is the star of this recipe. It is a healthy gem and a staple of low-carb cooking. It is great for weight loss in general. Cabbage is high in vitamin C, fiber, and also very low in calories. It is loaded with B vitamins and needed minerals like potassium. Many claim it is a perfect cleanse for the digestive tract. Some studies even suggest it has cancer fighting nutrients.
Kielbasa or “smoked sausage” adds the main flavor to this dish. It is often called “Polish sausage.” That is probably because Kielbasa means sausage in Polish. Joanie, being originally from Canada, says there it was called “Kubasa.” Pronunciations and spellings do vary, but the taste is wonderful and Kielbasa is readily available in most markets.
It is usually pre-cooked, smoky, and is delicious even before cooking. We used to find it sold with less seasoning at Easter. It was then called “fresh kielbasa.” It was basically not smoked and pre-cooked, but was equally delicious.
Our recipe adds many of the traditional spices to flavor the basic cabbage and onion. We used paprika, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, and a healthy amount of ground pepper to enhance the traditional flavor. Sometimes we even add a Southwestern touch – a can of Rotel tomatoes! Although that breaks from tradition, it adds a unique flavor and will surprise you how well the heat spices up the dish! Try it if you like a flavorful low-carb twist on this classic.
Butter is the starting point for this creation. The Kielbasa is first heated in butter. It just enhances the flavor of the meat and frankly, what does’t taste better in butter? Set the Kielbasa aside when slightly browned and sauté the onions and garlic next in the same skillet. Once the onions are softened, set them aside and add the red wine vinegar and the sliced cabbage. The cabbage should be cooked through but still have a bit of crunch. The cabbage will cook down, so use a lot.
Return the Kielbasa and onions to your skillet and add the spices to your taste – pepper is a must have and lots of it, and the paprika need not be smoked. Hungarian paprika works well and adds a touch of color to the recipe. We also sprinkle some on the plated dish for color. Red pepper flakes are used for heat in our recipe.
Our Kielbasa is cut into bite size pieces, on the bias, although some people like the look of the entire sausage nestled on the bed of cabbage and onion. Just make sure you use lots of Kielbasa – it will disappear fast.
One final tip . . . as you plate your delicious skillet Kielbasa dinner, drizzle a little melted butter over the meat. This will really bring out the flavor!
We know you will love this recipe and appreciate its low-carb appeal. The dish pairs well with a nice cold beer. Of course, we stick with low-carb varieties. The pictured frothy delight has only 2.6 grams per glass! Enjoy a cold one and a delicious hot “fried cabbage and kielbasa skillet” soon!
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the Kielbasa, sliced on the bias into bite sized pieces, and sauté until slightly browned (about 5 minutes). Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Add the onion and garlic to the skillet. Sauté until softened - about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Place the sliced cabbage in the skillet with the red wine vinegar and sauté until cabbage is cooked down to desired tenderness. Cook about 10 minutes.
- Return the onion and garlic mixture and the Kielbasa to the skillet, add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and paprika. Heat through.
- Add additional butter, as needed, during the cooking process. Drizzle melted butter on the Kielbasa meat when plated and sprinkle with more paprika to serve.