Day 339: Cabbage Sprouts ◄

Cabbage sprouts! I'd never seen them before!

(TIP: Because grocery chains stock for neighborhood tastes, switch from one store to another on occasion to widen the vegetable possibilities! At this Schnucks store inside the City of St Louis, vs the near-suburbs where I live, I found two brand-new veggies, cabbage sprouts and 'slick mustard'. More on the mustard later!)

Obvious question: What is a cabbage sprout? (And no, I don't mean broccoli, which apparently means 'cabbage sprout' in Italian.) The size of a fist, they're like loose cabbage leaves, even loose-leaved Brussels sprouts. At the center is a small sprout, about an inch wide, a wonderful little treasure bud that's even more reminiscent of a Brussels sprout.

From the name 'cabbage sprout', I suspected -- but didn't know for sure -- that a cabbage sprout might be a young cabbage, that if it were allowed to grow, the bud in the center would become 'the cabbage' and the outer leaves would become, well remain, the outer leaves of a cabbage.
So I asked a farmer at the farmers market: That bud in the center is NOT an immature cabbage. Instead, when a cabbage is harvested, the 'sprouts' pop up around where the head was removed.

Next question: How do you cook cabbage sprouts? My ever-reliable sources (Epicurious, Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, even straight Google and Wikipedia searches) yielded nothing. With tummies grumbling and everything but the vegetable ready to go, I decided on a quick braise, a bit of butter, a bit of liquid, cover and cook.

The ultimate question: How do cabbage sprouts taste? Well, they don't taste much like green cabbage, instead more like a winter green such as collard or kale. They've got good chew factor and taste very 'alive' and fresh. I would definitely make these again.

UPDATE: At Farmgirl's suggestion, I'm submitting these humble sprouts for a coveted spot in Kalyn's Kitchen's highly exclusive and engaging worldwide Weekend Herb Blogging event.

NEXT TIME ... I might try the slow-cook approach, with bacon grease.

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... There're several new-to-me vegetables in the Recipe Box.

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Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Serves 4

1 tablespoon butter (or just a splash of broth)
1 pound cabbage sprouts
Salt & pepper to taste

Melt the butter over MEDIUM heat in a large, deep skillet. Remove the sprouts' outer leaves, wash well, discard any that are damaged or seem too thick to cook (in my batch, there were only a couple of leaves like this). Slice off the root end, exposing the center sprout, cut it in half length-wise. Add to the skillet and stir to coat with the butter. Cover and let cook, stirring occasionally, adjusting heat as necessary, adding water or broth as necessary, until fully cooked, about 20 minutes. Season to taste, serve and enjoy!

NOTE: The USDA database doesn't include cabbage sprouts so I used Brussel sprouts as a substitute: Per Serving: 74 Cal (34% from Fat, 18% from Protein, 48% from Carb); 4 g Protein; 3 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 10 g Carb; 4 g Fiber; NetCarb 6; 48 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 29 mg Sodium; 8 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 1 point

  • When you see this in the title and the Recipe Box, you know the recipe's a personal favorite. Tastes vary, of course, but the mark is one indication of another vegetable recipe that's worth paying attention to.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade


Great photo. I've never seen or heard of this before.

BTW, my store has promised to have broccoli rabe by next Monday or Tuesday, so I'm excited.

What a neat discovery! I've never heard of these before either. Thanks for sharing. Why don't you include this interesting post in Kalyn's next Weekend Herb Blogging?

Very interesting!! I never heard of this.

I've never heard of them either! Thanks for the enlightenment.

Well, first I heard of cabbage sprouts was last night talking with my mom. She said she was cooking some for dinner. We went on with the conversation then I got the chance to check back with her about her dinner. "Mom, what's cabbage sprouts?" Gees! You should have heard her trying to explain to me what exactly this was. I kept throwing in a questions trying to be sure what it was--about the cabbage head being cut away and what's left at the ground level starts to develop "sprouts." "Oh, it's like Brussel sprouts?" "No, it's not." "Well will it be another cabbage if it's left to grow." "No, it won't." Well, what is it!? It's greens, something like collards . . . So I finally said they don't have anything like that here in Tucson. I've never seen it. My mom's in Chicago and said she got that batch from a Farmer's Market. The merchant had said they were all gone, but my mom looked in the spot and picked around until she got at least a pound and asked how much he wanted for what she had. He told her she could just have it. So she got a bargain dinner and introduced me to something I'm certain I'll have a heck of a time locating. I am an absolute vegetable nut and this sounds like some really great eating! I will be searching for it.


What a story, Pollie! Keep your eyes out, they're worth finding! And let me know how it goes, once you do find them.

I love cabbage sprouts. I have been eating them since I was a kid and I am in my thirties. Grocers in Ohio carry them throughout the year.

My husband grew up in St. Louis, but spent summers in Mississippi. He knew about cabbage sprouts so when we found them at Schnucks in the city, we've been having a feast. I never ate them before, but love most veggies. We've had them weekly since he said they're not in season for long. We cook it just like you mentioned with a little butter ... almost a saute. They've chewy, but good. And yes, it's hard to explain to anyone what they taste like.

Try this-cabbage sprouts mixed with collard greens (equal amounts) and onions. Serve with yams and cornbread.

I can't believe that someone has finally posted something on cabbage sprouts. When we were growing up every spring my father would come home with a very large bag of cabbage sprouts. He would boil them and after draining he would add olive oil, salt and pepper. It was the most fantastic vegetable and I always looked forward to this great tasting vegetable. I've been trying to find this vegetable but no one seems to know what I'm looking for when I try to describe it. It's been over 50 years since I've had any. It's a meal in itself.

I have been trying to get some cabbage sprouts for some time. We had them all the time when I was living in detroit, Michigan (that war when I was a young girl, I am now in my sixties.) I now live in Alabama and no one here knows what they are. I would like to have some, even if it means that I have to grow them myself.

Hi Alanna, I live in Lima Ohio and I am trying to find out where I can buy cabbage sprouts. I truly love them but they are so hard to find. Thank You In Advance.

Hi Susan, I've seen cabbage sprouts only in later winter and very early spring -- and even then, only by chance. I think people don't know what to do with them but I'm with you, they're good!

I just bought them in a farmers market in the Chicago area. They are fantastic. I slow cook them with smoked turkkey.

Dear Alanna,
I lived in Chicago for many years. I was
"introduced" to cabbage sprouts and they became one of my favorite vegetables, in fact, I love them!!! Where can I buy them in Southern California? I like cabbage, and I love brussel sprouts, but there is something so special and unique about the cabbage sprouts that I miss. I am a meat eater, and recognize the importance of eating vegetables, especially the darker, leafy green ones. The cabbage sprouts offered another choice I had that I truly enjoyed. If necessary, I will try to grow them if I can get the seeds, bulbs, etc. In fact, maybe you can provide information on how myself and others can appeal to our local growers to add them as a crop. With the increasing vegetarian population and interest in healthy eating habits, I'm sure that there are alot of people who would enjoy them. Thanks to you and anyone else in advance.


I LOVE cabbage sprouts, too! So delicious, and they boil up so tasty and tender. I also season by boiling with smoked turkey. I add about 1/3 c olive oil, a little cider vinegar, sliced onion, sliced bell pepper, salt, garlic and a little cayenne pepper and boil it all up together. Heaven in a pot.

You're welcome. LOL

This is my favorite green. I grew up in detroit and each time I go home for a visit I bring back to NY 5 pounds that I get from western market on woodward and nine mile road. I prepare them by washing and removing the bottom stub about 1/4 inch(the hard part) and then cut them into 1/2 inch ribbons. Then I put a ham hock or sliced salt pork in the pot with water to the top and cook for 2-3 hours. Season to taste with salt, pepper, or hot pepper flakes. Good eating!!!

Another great way to enjoy these sprouts is to wash them and make sure they are dry. And then fry them in bacon grease to the crunchiness/tenderness of your desire. I love them that way!

I posted on November 26, 2011. I'm still looking for cabbage sprouts in Los Angeles. Help....I am missing out of enjoying one of my favorite vegetables!!! Julie

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna