Vegan Cabbage and noodles (Polish Haluski) is humble comfort food at its best. It is a delicious, budget-friendly, wholesome meat-free meal that will easily become a firm family favourite. It's so easy to prepare this cabbage and noodles recipe and it is just as easy to customise it to your preferences - vegan, vegetarian, plant-based, gluten-free or simply as a trusty meat-free meal option.
Our Vegan take on the Polish Cabbage and noodles features buttery noodles, sweet onions, and earthy cabbage, along with a garlic flavoured sauce. We also like to include creamy white beans as a texture and nutrition boost. A simple garnish of fresh parsley or chopped chives or even some pickled onions or pickled beetroot are a delicious addition.
Origins Of Polish Cabbage and Noodles
The traditional family favourite meal of Polish Haluski is also known as Halusky. The words Haluski or Halusky refer to the noodles or dumplings used within the recipe.
The dish traditionally consists of pan-fried cabbage and onions mixed with small, dumpling-like noodles made from grated potatoes or flour. Sometimes, bacon or other meats are added for flavour, though vegetarian versions are also popular especially during more lean times as haluski emerged as a practical and economical meal, suited for families with limited resources.
Its basic ingredients—cabbage, onions, and potatoes—are readily available and affordable, making it a staple in many households, particularly in rural and working-class communities.
Over time, Polish haluski has evolved into various regional variations, with each family adding their own twist to the recipe based on family preferences and available ingredients - including substituting the dumplings for shop-bought or home-made noodles.
While Haluski is commonly associated with Poland or Slovakia, similar recipes can be found in Hungarian and Ukrainian cuisines, leaving the exact origins unknown and often a matter of heated debate! What we do know is that during the frugal era of the US Great Depression, cabbage and noodles was a staple meal introduced by the Polish communities.
Lenten Cabbage and Noodles
Haluski is also a favourite meal to serve during the 40 days of Lent which is a 6 week fasting period for many Christians leading up to Easter. During those 40 days of Lent, on Fridays including Good Friday, and Ash Wednesday, meat is not allowed to be consumed.
This year, 2024, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday February 14th [46 days before Easter] and ends on Maundy Thursday March 28th. Ash Wednesday was a day where Christens had ashes placed on to their foreheads as a symbol of repentance, reflection and the beginning of fasting and abstinence. As for Maundy Thursday its also known as Holy Thursday and is the holy day that falls on the Thursday before Easter Sunday and marks the Last Supper of Jesus Christ and his apostles.
Our cabbage and noodles served with chunks of crusty herb bread, fresh parsley and a sprinkle of paprika flakes. You could also replace the crusty bread with home-made chunky croutons. We have a recipe for croutons over on our Cream of Swede Soup recipe.
How To Prepare
For this cabbage and noodles recipe the ingredients you will need are - one whole green cabbage, 1 medium-large onion, garlic powder or fresh garlic, vegetable stock, butter, tagliatelle pasta or thick noodles, a can of white beans such as cannellini, haricot [navy] beans, or chickpeas.
As we are a plant-based family we used vegan butter [Flora] and meat-free chicken flavoured stock cubes [OXO meat free chicken stock cubes].
- Step 1: Shred the cabbage and dice the onion.
- Step 2: Warm the butter and cook the onion for 5 minutes.
- Step 3: Add the cabbage and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Step 4: Stir through the garlic powder and then pour in the vegetable stock.
- Step 5: Pop a lid over the pan and cook for 10 minutes.
- Step 6: Meanwhile prepare the thick noodles or pasta noodles according to the package instructions - once cooked drain the liquid. Add the canned beans to the pot as the noodles are cooked as this will heat them up and soften them further into tasty creamier beans.
- Step 7: Season the cabbage with salt and pepper. Melt a tablespoon of butter through the cabbage.
- Step 8: Stir the noodles/pasta and beans through the cabbage mixture.
- Step 9: Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or chives and enjoy with crusty bread. A sprinkle of paprika or chilli flakes is a nice addition.
Store leftovers within a covered container and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Or freeze for up to 2-3 months.
Place the cabbage and noodles into a non-stick pan and pour in about ¼-1/2 cup of water or milk (or a mix of both which is what we like to do) and reheat the noodles until piping hot, stirring frequently.
Once reheated a handful of fresh chopped parsley, chives, or spring onions [green onions] mixed through is very tasty and helps refresh the cabbage and noodles. We like leftovers served over a slice of toasted or grilled bread for next day's lunch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, cabbage and noodles can be easily prepared as gluten-free by using a gluten-free noodle or pasta noodle, or even just a gluten-free pasta shape. Also ensure that your vegetable stock or broth is also free from gluten.
Any type of thick noodle or pasta noodles are idea for this recipe though wheat noodles have the best texture as opposed to thick noodles such as Udon noodles.
We like to use tagliatelle pasta noodles but spaghetti noodles or pappardelle could be used as well.
Also, if you do not have any pasta noodles then you can use any pasta shape such as conchiglie, penne, rigatoni, linguine, fusilli, macaroni, etc.
Traditionally, haluski is made with small, dumpling-like noodles that are either made from grated potatoes or a flour-based dough. These noodles are soft and chewy and work well with the cabbage and other flavours.
Potato-based noodles, often called "gnocchi" or "dumplings," are a common choice for haluski. These noodles are made by mixing grated potatoes with flour and sometimes egg, then shaping the dough into small pieces before boiling or frying them until tender.
Alternatively, haluski can also be made with flour-based noodles, which are similar to small egg noodles or spaetzle. These noodles are made from a simple dough of flour, water, and sometimes egg, which is then rolled out and cut into small pieces before cooking.
Traditionally Polish noodles and cabbage is prepared with butter and the fat does provide lots of the flavour. However, it is not essential to include so feel free to leave it out and to sauté the onions and cabbage with a little vegetable stock instead.
We like to use Flora vegan butter for our savoury recipes but we have also used Flora dairy-free margarine and that works fine, and other times we like to replace it altogether with vegetable stock.
At the end of cooking instead of melting an extra tablespoon of butter through the noodles and cabbage try subbing the fat for a tablespoon of white miso paste or a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes. Although it may be best to whisk the miso paste through a small amount of vegetable stock just so that it dissolves well before adding to the noodles.
White miso paste can be sourced at many UK supermarkets including Asda and Tesco, or most whole food stores.
We often like to include some chopped up cooked meat-free bacon, sliced veggie sausages or chopped up veggie burgers to the top of our cabbage and noodles.
Other ideas are to scatter over small pieces of crusty bread or prepare some home-made croutons [we have a recipe for large crispy croutons on our swede soup recipe]. Croutons are a great idea for using up stale bread and you could use your air-fryer to prepare.
Also a scoop of plant-based creme fraiche, sour cream, or mayonnaise are nice toppings and can add a touch of extra creaminess to the budget-friendly meal.
Finally, any fresh herbs are always a delicious garnish - dill, parsley, coriander [cilantro], thyme, chives, etc.
This cabbage and noodle recipe is really filling and can be enjoyed as a main meal with simply a side of crusty bread and perhaps a crispy green salad. However, it can also be a great side-dish and can then stretch to a few more servings.
A few more tasty pairings are garlic bread, veggie sausages, veggie meatloaf, roast veggies, steamed veggies, pickled beetroot, pickled onions, sauerkraut [you can't have too much cabbage!], sautéed mushrooms, sautéed green veggies, cornbread muffins, Australian damper bread, or Irish Soda Bread.
For a change, and especially if you would like to omit the noodles or pasta, you could cook the cabbage and onions and enjoy that as a tasty meat-free side dish. Cabbage and onions would be especially delicious with mashed potatoes and gravy, and for a larger meal include our meat-free meatloaf that is prepared with chickpeas, oatmeal and lentils.
More budget-friendly meat-free and dairy-free recipes
As we are a plant-based family all our meals are deliciously vegan and packed with vegetables and all things plants, so we have lots of frugal vegan recipes to share with you.
We particularly love this Welsh Onion Cake as it's simply potatoes, onions, and plant-based cheesiness, and this Vegan Cottage Pie is packed with beans and lentils topped with fluffy crispy mashed potatoes.
And for our bestest family hotpot this vegan take on a Traditional Lancashire Hotpot always hits the right spot! And for the easiest quickest lunch or even for a dinner along with a cheese toastie our Budget-friendly Tomato Soup can be prepared with store-cupboard ingredients and ready in just 25 minutes.
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Vegan Cabbage and Noodles
- large non-stick pan, skillet or wok, with a lid or heat-proof plate
- Large Saucepan
- 580 grams green or white cabbage [1 large cabbage, weight is after the hard inner stalk is removed) this recipe used savoy cabbage but any type can be used- shredded or rough chopped]
- 180 grams onion [1 medium-large, rough chopped]
- 2 tablespoons butter [we used Flora plant-based butter]
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder or granules [can replace with 4-6 garlic cloves fine diced garlic or a tablespoon of garlic paste]
- 250 millilitres vegetable stock [we used meat-free OXO chicken flavour stock cubes - they are vegan]
- 400 grams pasta noodles [we used tagliatelle but can replace with any thick noodle or pasta shape. Break up long noodles into smaller parts but not too small!]
- 1 can white kidney beans or other white bean such as butter beans, cannellini, etc. One 400g (14oz) can, drained or 240g cooked beans
Mix through finished dish
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter or margarine
- 20 grams fresh parsley chopped
- Heat 2 tablespoons of vegan butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Tip in the cabbage. It will look like a lot of cabbage but it will soon break down!Mix the onion through the cabbage. Stir the cabbage frequently and cook for 10 minutes.
- Next sprinkle in two teaspoons of garlic powder and pour in one cup (250ml) of vegan chicken stock. Give everything a good stir.
- Pop a lid over the cabbage and cook for a further 10 minutes or while the noodles are prepared.
Meanwhile prepare the noodles and beans
- Tip in the noodles and drained canned beans into a large pot and cover with water. Sprinkle some salt into the water.Cook the noodles or pasta according to the package instructions.Once cooked, drain the cooking liquid and return the noodles and beans to the pot.
Finish the cabbage and noodles
- If the cabbage is ready before the noodles are simply leave the cabbage off the heat but pop a lid over the pan to keep warm.
- Melt an extra tablespoon of vegan butter through the cooked cabbage mix and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
- Tip the cabbage mix into the noodles and stir well. Taste the seasoning and add more to taste.
- Sprinkle or mix through most of the parsley. Keep some separate to sprinkle over each portion. A few paprika or red pepper flakes is also a tasty garnish.
- Serving with a scoop of vegan mayonnaise or vegan sour cream is particularly nice.
- Nutritional data is for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
- Leftover noodles and cabbage can be stored within a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Or frozen for up to 3 months. Although the texture of the pasta may not be the same after freezing.
- To reheat leftover cabbage and noodles place in a non-stick pan along with half to three quarters of a cup of veggie stock or water (or a mix of both) and reheat until piping hot. Stir the cabbage and noodles frequently.
- Mix through a handful of fresh parsley once reheated.
- Leftovers are tasty reheated and served on a slice of toasted/grilled bread for next days lunch.
- For gluten-free cabbage and noodles choose a gluten-free pasta shape (link to gluten-free pasta above within the ingredient list) and a gluten-free veggie stock.
- Do try to source some vegan chicken flavoured stock as it does add a lot of flavour. If you are in the UK try source some meat free chicken OXO cubes which are usually for sale in Asda.
- On an oil-free diet? Replace the vegan butter with some veggie stock to cook the onions and cabbage. At the end of cooking mix a tablespoon of white miso paste through a quarter cup (60ml) of hot water until smooth-ish (you don't want lumps of miso as they do taste quite strong!).
- White miso paste can be found in Asda (UK) or instead simply mix a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes through the finished cabbage and noodles.