Southern Fried Cabbage

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Southern Fried Cabbage is true “soul food.” The cabbage was one of the vegetables readily available on the Southern plantations in the early days when slaves cooked for the wealthy landowners. Those early Southern cooks prepared the more expensive premium foods for the wealthy plantation owners’ families; the “throw-away” foods or foods that were extremely cheap and plentiful were what was allowed for the slaves and their families. This cabbage recipe is an example of an easy, but innovative way to prepare what was thought of as ordinary and simple vegetables.

Cabbage is still cheap today and is used extensively in Southern cooking. While it is naturally low in calories (only 16 calories in 1/2 cup of cooked cabbage), Southern cooks add all sorts of seasonings and ingredients like bacon and ham, which add significantly to the calorie count. Incidentally, according to the USDA (1/12/08), cabbage is also high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, beta-carotene, and calcium; it is a high-fiber and cruciferous vegetable, which means it may reduce the risk of cancer, especially colon cancer.

This Southern Fried Cabbage is a quick and delicious “soul food” favorite that will go well with any Southern entrée. Try it with succulent smoked ribs, Southern fried chicken, or tender Smothered Pork Chops. Round out the menu with a few other good Southern vegetable dishes (In the South, several different varieties are served at every meal), such as Slow Cooker Southern Style Green Beans, Southern Fried Okra, or baked sweet potatoes with butter and salt and pepper. After all that good food, hopefully, there will still be room for Skillet Peach Cobbler which is the perfect dessert, especially with good vanilla ice cream!

Incidentally, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (the third Monday in January) is a perfect excuse to prepare several delicious soul food favorites. Happy Cooking, Y’all!

Southern Fried Cabbage

8 Servings

  • 1 pound bacon
  • 1 head green cabbage, (very large)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red hot pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


Cut the bacon into 1/2″ slices; transfer to a large skillet and cook until very crisp.
Remove the bacon from the pan to drain on paper towels.
Cut the cabbage into 1″ chunks; rinse with water
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings from the pan and add the cabbage.
Stir fry the cabbage until it starts to get limp, then add the salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and sugar.
Continue frying until the cabbage is crisp-tender.
Stir in the reserved bacon and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information:
Amount per serving:

Calories 147 – Calories from Fat 90
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 61% Protein 20% Carb. 19%
Total Fat 10 g
Saturated Fat 3 g
Cholesterol 17 mg
Sodium 629 mg
Total Carbohydrate 7 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 7 g
Vitamin A 5% Vitamin C 101% Calcium 0% Iron 6%


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