Caramelized Cabbage and Noodles with Lemon and Herbs


Hungarian cuisine has a particularly “noodle-forward” concept of comfort food. When traveling in Budapest several years back, I noticed (and leaned eagerly into) a recurring theme of noodles, dumplings, and other forms of homey starches on restaurant menus and in home kitchens alike. There were rustic, spaetzle-like noodles called nokedli, many varieties of stuffed dumplings, baked noodle puddings, and diós tészta, a sweet dish that coats broad noodles with a copious showering of ground walnuts and sugar.Above all was káposztás tészta, or cabbage noodles. This more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts dish sautés a pile of sliced onions and an equal amount of shredded cabbage until silky, deeply browned, and caramelized. The whole delightful mess is then folded into softened dumplings or egg noodles, still warm from the pot. The effect is truly dazzling.Variations of cabbage noodles are served across Central and Eastern Europe from Poland to the Czech Republic. Depending on where it’s being made, the dish might be dressed up with a sprinkling of paprika or ground poppy seeds, studded with salty nibs of bacon, or folded with other sautéed vegetables or cottage cheese. I like to brighten it up with a hit of lemon zest and heaps of fresh dill, parsley, and chives. It’s just enough sunshiny flavor to elevate the dish while sacrificing none of its deeply cozy and comforting soul.

Caramelized Cabbage Noodles Recipe
Photo: Alison Miksch
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 small head green cabbage, quartered, cored, and very thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 12 ounces uncooked wide egg noodles

  • 3/4 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as dill, parsley, and chives, plus more for garnish

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • Crème fraîche, for serving (optional)


  1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Add cabbage; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is slightly tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, onion powder, paprika, red pepper (if using), 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cook, uncovered, stirring often, until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

  2. While cabbage cooks, boil egg noodles in a large pot of well-salted water over high until al dente. Drain well, and transfer to a large bowl. Add herbs, oil, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to warm noodles; toss well to coat. Add cabbage mixture; toss until fully combined. Taste and season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired.

  3. Divide pasta mixture among plates; garnish with additional herbs. Dollop with crème fraîche, if desired. Serve immediately.

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