Phil and I have an unwritten rule that we eat healthy meals during the busy workweek so that we can be a bit naughtier and indulgent on the weekend without completely derailing ourselves.
I remember many sausage and cabbage stir-fry type meals from my childhood, so I set out to re-create that dish and give it a healthy makeover. This Kielbasa-Cabbage-Fennel Skillet is the result: the idea is to replace rice with lots of cabbage. You can, of course, eat it over rice, but to me there’s no need. It’s quite filling with all the fiber.
I like turkey polska kielbasa in my Kielbasa-Cabbage-Fennel Skillet: turkey sausage has lower fat and fewer calories than beef: win-win in my book! I also use about half the olive oil than I would have many years ago, before Phil and I embarked upon our quest for healthy living.
Prepping Kielbasa-Cabbage-Fennel Skillet
Since there’s a lot of slicing and dicing involved, this is a meal that lends itself well to meal-prep: just slice up everything up ahead of time and keep it in the fridge (store the ingredients in separate containers). If you do that, your Kielbasa-Cabbage-Fennel Skillet will be done in just about 20 minutes!
I like to get some caramelization on the sliced kielbasa first, which I then remove to a plate until later (preferably a plate you’ll be eating from so that you don’t dirty an extra dish!). Then, without wiping the skillet, I sauté the fennel and onions in some olive oil: they pick up the fond (the tasty, crispy bits from the meat) as they cook. I mix in the garlic, mustard, S & P, and spice mix, and sauté for an additional minute. Then, I add in the cabbage and a quarter cup of chicken broth and lid the skillet. I let the cabbage steam, stirring every couple of minutes.
I’ve shown some of the preparation steps in the collage below:
You’ll need a large skillet or wok for this job. Once you have all of the ingredients prepped (which I always do well in advance), this meal comes together really quickly. As mentioned above, you can always opt to serve this over rice, in which case you’ll have a few more servings.
The hubster and I were able to fill up on a bowl of Kielbasa-Cabbage-Fennel Skillet; we were only slightly hungry at the end of the night. (To explain: in our healthy weeknight eating strategy, we use just-before-bedtime hunger levels as an indicator that we didn’t eat too much.)
That’s it! I hope you enjoy this lightning-fast, healthy weeknight dinner!
I’m sharing my Kielbasa-Cabbage-Fennel Skillet with:
- #CookBlogShare, a great food blogger recipe-share at Hijacked by Twins.
- #CookOnceEatTwice (coming soon!), for recipes that are just as good left-over as they are when you made them, hosted by Searching for Spice.
- #RecipeOfTheWeek hosted by A Mummy Too.
- #BrillBlogPosts, a link party with a variety of lifestyle reads hosted by Honest Mum.
Kielbasa-Cabbage-Fennel Skillet is an easy, healthy meal that's perfect for weeknights. This skillet is so loaded up with healthy vegetables that you don't need to serve it with rice—you won't miss the carbs!
- 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin; divided (more if necessary)
- 13 oz turkey kielbasa sausage sliced on the bias into ~1/2-inch-thick coins (1 package; see Recipe Note #1)
- 1 sweet Vidalia onion sliced into thin half or quarter rings
- 1 fennel bulb thinly sliced (see Recipe Note #2)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 2 tbsp herb or spice mix (see Recipe Note #3)
- 6 cups shredded cabbage
- 1/4 cup chicken broth (you can also use vegetable broth)
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard
Heat half of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or wok (see Recipe Note #4). Add the kielbasa coins in a single layer across the bottom. Brown well on both sides (~2–3 minutes per side). Remove to a bowl or plate (preferably one you'll be eating out of so you don't dirty an extra dish!).
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan (do not wipe it out). Add the onions and fennel. Sauté until the vegetables are translucent and soft (5–7 minutes), scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and spice mix. Sauté for an additional minute.
Mix in the cabbage, mustard, and chicken broth. Lid the skillet and let the cabbage steam, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5–8 minutes.
Add the kielbasa back to the skillet and stir to combine. Taste the cabbage to check the seasoning, adjusting as necessary. Serve and enjoy.
- You can also use beef kielbasa, just be aware that it has higher fat and calories than turkey.
- Use the white part of the fennel only: cut off the bottom and remove the tough outer layer. I like to cut the fennel into quarters and then slice thinly across the layers of the bulb.
- I like a Bavarian spice mix from Penzey's: since it's a denser mix, I only use 1 heaping tablespoon. If you have a looser spice or herb mix, like Herbs de Provence, for example, use the full 2 tbsp. Also, check to see whether your mix includes salt: if it does, make sure to reduce the salt you add to the dish.
- Because we use so little oil, it helps to have a non-stick skillet or a well-treated cast-iron skillet or wok. If you don't have one, you might need to double the amount of oil you use.
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