Smoked Sausage and Cabbage Skillet – A Basic Cooking Lesson

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Heather says:

Eating locally and seasonally is a popular trend, with good reason.

Choosing foods grown locally and in season reduces the energy needed to bring the food from the farm to your table. It isn’t always convenient or practical in colder climates, as late winter can mean nothing is actually “in season.” In that case, your Winter menu options generally consist of a lot of root vegetables that store well.

Here in the South, cruciferous vegetables are the late winter hotness, and I won’t lie, I get a little excited when cabbage drops to $0.39 a pound. When my teenagers were little, they insisted that they hated cabbage. So one night, I was a little punchy (I was outnumbered, and it had been a very long day.) I told them that we weren’t eating cabbage, that it was actually a French dish, cah-bahge. They fell for it, hook, line and sinker. They thought they were quite proper, and to this day, if anyone dares call it cabbage, they often get teased, “Don’t you mean cah-bahge?” in the snootiest of accents.

All of the seasoning needed for this recipe is provided by the sausage and the aromatic vegetables. You can add a little salt and pepper if you like but taste it first.

As written, this meal takes two skillets unless you have an 18″ or 20″ skillet. Just put half in each pan. With the technique used in this recipe, the shape of the pan doesn’t matter much, and you can use a large Dutch oven or pot if that’s what you have on hand.

If you are cooking for one or two people, halve the amounts (use two carrots) and cook it in a single pan. You don’t have to halve the sausage, but if you’re trying to follow the Michael Pollan adage, β€œEat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” you’ll want to.


Smoked sausage will keep in the fridge for quite a while in its original packaging and makes a great addition to eggs in the morning. And if you have any leftovers, this dish makes a great base for a scramble, heat it in your skillet, beat a couple of eggs, and stir them in.

Yield: 6 servings

Simple Sausage Skillet

Simple Sausage Skillet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1 lb smoked sausage
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small heads of cabbage, roughly chopped or 1 large
  • 3 - 4 large handfuls of kale
  • Salt and pepper to taste


    1. Place the skillet or large Dutch oven over medium-low heat (3 - 4) on an electric stove.
    2. Slice the sausage into coins and add to the pan.
    3. While the sausage cooks, prepare all of the other vegetables, stirring occasionally.
    4. When the sausage reaches your desired level of doneness (I prefer the sausage to be fairly brown), add the onions and occasionally stir until they begin to soften. If you aren't a huge garlic fan, add it now or hold off a bit if you are. Longer cooking reduces will reduce the intensity of the garlic.
    5. Add the carrots, and stir occasionally until they start to soften.
    6. Add the garlic now if you didn't earlier.
    7. Add the cabbage, stir, cover and cook until tender.
    8. Add the kale, stir, and cook until it turns bright green. You want the kale to retain its texture to contrast with the softer, cooked cabbage.
    9. Salt and pepper to taste
    10. Serve and enjoy
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7 thoughts on “Smoked Sausage and Cabbage Skillet – A Basic Cooking Lesson”

  1. Leftovers would probably be good in a wrap for lunch, too. I often serve something like your sausage and peppers and onions (/back-to-basics-sausage-peppers-and-onions/) and put them in wraps.

  2. Sounds so yummy to me, but picky eaters in my house may not go for sausage so I was wondering: If I were to substitute some diced chicken, what seasoning would you go with?

    • This dish relies on the sausage for flavoring. If I were to substitute chicken, I’d marinate the chicken in Italian dressing or vinaigrette.
      Italian seasoning and garlic would be my preferred route.

      Alternately you could go with garlic and thyme, maybe a little oregano.

    • You could go a couple of ways:
      1. Just omit it and use a little more cabbage
      2. If you don’t mind sweet / savory combos, slice up a granny smith apple or two. Just make sure you’re using a smoked sausage not something like Italian, that could be an interesting flavor pairing.


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