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"choices" Quick and Easy Cabbage Ground Beef Stir Fry

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This comforting skillet cabbage recipe is a great weeknight meal. It's healthy, delicious and perfect for all types of customization. 

I know how much you guys love quick and easy meals, so today I am sharing my grandma's quick and easy beef cabbage stir. Add this to your collection of 30-minute meals. There are only a few ingredients and steps, so you can feed the household in little time and very little clean-up.

You never know when you will receive blessings, but be thankful when you do. Such is my relationship with this ground beef cabbage stir fry recipe.

beef and cabbage stir fry in a black bowl

The first time I had beef and cabbage stir fry was way back when I was a little guy trying to find my way. I was the youngest and by far the smallest kid in the neighborhood. However, because of my non-sympathetic brother, no one in the hood viewed me as such. So it was expected that I'd do everything they did because in their mind, age wasn't nothing but a number.

So at 5 years old, that's how I ended up playing tackle football with a bunch of 8 and 9-year-olds. Only it wasn't really a football game, but more like an initiation. The rule was simple - I had to run from my neighbor's driveway across our front lawn to our adjacent driveway. The kicker, I had to run through a gauntlet of goons led by my big brother. Note I was never told I had to get through their defense as it was never communicated to me that any tackling was included. The instructions were only to run from one driveway to the next. Needless to say, I was surprised to find a forearm pushing my throat in succeeded by a mass of bodies piling on top of me after I had crumbled to the ground.

This was surely my first ever concussion. As you can imagine I cried, yelled some kindergarten cuss words, and ran for refuge inside to my grandmother. Madear looked at me, but without any acknowledgment of my busted lip, streaming tears, and grassy afro and said "go finish what you started" which I astutely interpreted as "ain't no love for you here lil fella". Madear knew that I had a choice to make that would be crucial in my development as one of the boys in da hood. now she didn't tell me what to do but she framed the choices in a way that I really only had one.

I picked my shame up off the floor and went back aside to face the music. Three more attempts, three more increasingly worse beatdowns. The fourth try was the charm as the legion of goons were intimidated by my determination and ferocity and cleared a path for me. I spiked the ball, got on my big wheel and went for a spin.

Later when I returned home, I was met with an aroma that would make a vegan eat beef. Though still salty with Madear I had to make it to the kitchen where she handed me a plate goodness. It was her version of a ground beef cabbage stir fry which in hindsight was likely hamburger helper with cabbage substituted for the noodles. Madear knew how much I loved cabbage; always have and always will. And just like that Madear went back to goddess status in my eyes. I eventually forgave my brother, but I never forgot. I've gotten even on many occasions....

beef and cabbage stir fry in a black bowl

The seasonings in the cabbage and beef always stuck with me. Madear would make versions of this dish over the years but only for me which made it even more special. Keep in mind I grew up in a house with an older brother, three grown uncles and my grandparents, so I was always the low man. Today we eat cabbage in some form regularly, at least once a week. I recently came across a Mexican recipe for ground beef cabbage stir fry that resembled my Madear's dish. It was in Diane Kennedy's book The Essential Cuisines of Mexico. This recipe is a combination of her recipe "Carne De Res Con Col" and my memory of Madear's dish.

How to make my quick and easy beef and cabbage stir fry

  • When buying cabbage, look for heads of cabbage with leaves still vibrant and unblemished.
  • Cut cabbage into quarters then, remove the core by slicing the center of each wedge diagonally. Slice each quarter horizontally until you are left with thick strips.
  • Make sure the cabbage is completely dry before cooking. Moisture equals soggy cabbage. There should be some crunch to this recipe.
  • When prepping the ground beef, crush the garlic and mix well into the ground beef along with half of the salt, pepper, and paprika. If you have the time, for best results let sit for an hour.

Is quick and easy beef cabbage stir fry paleo?

Cabbage is more than paleo-friendly; it's a vegetable you want to make sure to get much of if you're following a paleo diet or any diet for that matter. Cabbage is great for digestion, so for paleo dieters, this is in alignment with increased meat consumption. Tomatoes are a part of this recipe, so there is somewhat of a watch out for people who have trouble with nightshades. Nightshades, as may or may not be aware, can cause digestive problems for some people. If that's you, then beware, otherwise enjoy this recipe fully as part of your paleo plans

Is skillet cabbage keto?

Cabbage contains only 2.3 grams of net carbohydrates in a single cup, so it’s ideal for those on a Keto diet. So with beef and cabbage being your two primary ingredients, you get a filling, low-carb dish that is simple to make and uses few ingredients.

Quick and Easy Beef Cabbage Stir Fry

If you make this Mexican style cabbage stir fry, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.

For other cabbage-based recipes try this Southern Fried Cabbage, whole smoked cabbage or cabbage poblano soup. Or if you're looking for other simple one-dish meals try this beef goulash.

beef and cabbage stir fry in a black bowl

quick and easy beef cabbage stir fry in a black bowl

Quick and Easy Beef Cabbage Stir Fry

Quick & easy Beef cabbage stir fry recipe w/ Mexican & soul food touches. Perfect for keto and paleo diet plans.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Modern Soul Food
Servings: 4 people
Author: Marwin Brown


  • 3 Garlic Cloves (roughly chopped)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup yellow onions (finally chopped)
  • 2 jalapenos (de-seeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 medium yellow or red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 12 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 medium sized cabbage (finely shredded)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cilantro (roughly chopped)
  • 2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika


  • Let the ground beef reach room temperature.
  • Crush the garlic and mix well into the ground beef along with half of the salt, pepper, and paprika. For best results let sit for an hour.
  • Heat oil in a large heavy skillet, add the onions, jalapenos, bell pepper, and some salt. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking until most of the juice has been absorbed about 3-5 minutes.
  • Stir the meat into the pan and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes. Add the cabbage, water, and half the cilantro and continue cooking over medium heat. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika to desired level of seasoning and season time to time as dish cooks for about 15 minutes. Dish should be moist but not juicy.
  • Serve with remaining cilantro
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22 Ideas for Cabbage Stir Fry – Best Round Up Recipe Collections

Wednesday 19th of January 2022

[…] Best Cabbage Stir Fry from Quick and Easy Beef Cabbage Stir Fry Carne de res con col. Source Image: Visit this site for details: […]


Wednesday 3rd of October 2018

Delicious! So healthy and filling! Can't wait to try.


Wednesday 3rd of October 2018

Thanks Karly!