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Roast a cabbage to make grain bowls, then more meals through the week

(Rey Lopez for The Washington Post/Food styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post )
Roasted Cabbage Bowls With Quinoa and Soft-Boiled Eggs
Active time:20 mins
Total time:35 mins
Active time:20 mins
Total time:35 mins

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A lot of people ask me where I get recipe ideas, and the long, complicated answer is that I get them from many places. Sometimes a recipe in a cookbook sparks my imagination; sometimes a dish at a restaurant inspires me to test a new-to-me flavor combination. Sometimes it’s a lot more abstract — I’ll be at a museum looking at a painting, or reading a book of poetry, and like a flash, an idea will pop into my head.

But my favorite source of inspiration is when I get an idea from a friend. Today’s recipe, for roasted cabbage bowls with quinoa and soft-boiled eggs, evolved from a conversation I had with my friend Julia.

Julia Bainbridge is a writer and author of the book “Good Drinks: Alcohol-Free Recipes for When You’re Not Drinking for Whatever Reason.” She’s also a dear friend, so, some weeks ago, when I saw on Instagram that she was making a big batch of roasted cabbage to use in a salad one day and in a rice bowl another, I asked her about it.

She explained that it was part of an informal meal plan effort. That week, she’d made a big batch of roasted cabbage, then mixed and remixed it with leftovers into a variety of meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“I'm just one person in my household, plus a whole cabbage is often more than what a recipe calls for, anyway,” Julia says. “Shredding and roasting the rest is a great way to use it up, and it cooks down really nicely.”

Her method is simple: Halve and then slice a whole cabbage into about 1/2-inch-thick ribbons and toss them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, at which point some of the cabbage will have turned soft and silky, and some of it will have crisped in the heat. Then, add it to virtually anything savory.

Julia tosses it with cold soba noodles and tofu dressed with a drizzle of sesame oil; adds it to salads with radicchio and leftover roasted chicken; sprinkles it over rice with eggs; and stirs it into simple dishes such as pasta e ceci, where the cabbage adds some heft and deep crunch.

“The key to this batch-cooked and then mixed-and-matched approach to building meals is having good sauces and seasonings around,” she says, noting that the blank slate of the roasted cabbage is a versatile base for so many meals.

I developed this recipe with Julia’s roasted cabbage in mind. You start with 2 pounds of cabbage, which is more than you’ll need for these quinoa bowls, and that’s by design. The idea is that the leftover cabbage can sit in a container in your fridge for the next week as you pull from it for various meals. One of them might be these quinoa bowls with roasted cabbage and soft-boiled eggs. The quinoa gets dressed with raisins and vinegar for an agrodolce effect, and the whole thing gets a finishing sprinkle of furikake.

What to do with the rest of the cabbage? Here are a few ideas:

Roasted Cabbage Bowls With Quinoa and Soft-Boiled Eggs

  • No quinoa? >> Try brown rice or couscous, noting that cooking time will vary.
  • Not a fan of raisins? >> How about dried cranberries or diced dried apricots? You could also stir in diced fresh apple after cooking the quinoa, along with the vinegar.
  • Can’t find furikake? >> Freshly cracked black pepper and toasted sesame seeds make a fine substitute. You could also try another spice blend of your choosing, such as za’atar.

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For the cabbage

  • 1 small head cabbage (2 pounds), any kind, halved, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fine salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the quinoa

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, preferably red
  • 1/3 cup raisins, preferably golden
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Furikake, for serving

Step 1

Roast the cabbage: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.

Step 2

Spread the cabbage on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Season with a few grinds of black pepper, toss lightly and place in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes. Using tongs, toss the cabbage a bit, and then roast for another 10 minutes, or until some of the cabbage is wilted and silky and some is crisp and brown.

Step 3

Make the quinoa: Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the water, quinoa, raisins and salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and decrease the heat to low. Cook until the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep covered.

Step 4

Bring a small saucepan of water deep enough to cover two eggs to a boil over high heat. Add the eggs to the water and cook to your liking: 6 minutes for soft-boiled, 8 minutes for hard-boiled. Drain, rinse the eggs under cold water until cool enough to handle, then peel and halve.

Step 5

When ready to serve, toss the quinoa with the vinegar and portion about 1 cup of quinoa mixture per bowl. Top with about 1 cup of cabbage and 2 egg halves. Sprinkle with furikake, and serve.

Nutrition Information

Per serving (1 cup quinoa, 1 cup cabbage, 1 egg)

Calories: 547; Total Fat: 21 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 186 mg; Sodium: 602 mg; Carbohydrates: 76 g; Dietary Fiber: 16 g; Sugar: 31 g; Protein: 19 g.

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

Cabbage recipe adapted from writer Julia Bainbridge.

Tested by G. Daniela Galarza; email questions to

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Catch up on this week’s Eat Voraciously recipes:

Monday: Red Lentil Chili

Tuesday: Georgian Garlic Chicken (Chkmeruli)

Wednesday: Carrot and Cilantro Noodle Soup

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