Vegan Recipes

Stir-Fried Sesame Kale and Red Cabbage

Kale and red cabbage stir-fry recipe

The trick to this pretty stir-fry is to stop the stir-fry process just shy of when you think you need to, so that both the cabbage and kale retain their bright colors. Keep the recipe really simple, as in the basic recipe, or vary it with the additions suggested following the instructions. From Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas. Photo by Susan Voisin, FatFree Vegan Kitchen. 

Serves: 6

  • 1 good sized bunch kale (8 to 10 ounces),
    preferably curly green or lacinato
  • 1/2 small head or 1/3 medium head red cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred ginger
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (preferably unhulled)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Dried hot red pepper flakes or other spicy condiment to taste, optional

Strip the kale leaves from the stems. Stacking a few leaves atop one another, cut them into narrow strips. If desired, slice the stems thinly to use in the stir-fry; otherwise discard.

Cut the red cabbage into thin slices, 2 to 3 inches long. Heat the oil in a stir-fry pan or large skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until golden and soft.

Add the kale and cabbage. Turn the heat up to high and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until both are brightly colored and tender crisp. If the pan needs a bit more moisture, sprinkle in a little water, but not too much!

Remove from the heat. Stir in the ginger, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Season with salt and pepper and a little hot stuff if you’d like, and serve at once.

Stir-fried sesame kale and red cabbage

Variations and additions: You can add a small amount of another vegetable or two to this simple vegetable combination, depending on what you have on hand. Use any of the following, adding them at the same time as the kale and cabbage.

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into long narrow strips
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed)
  • 8 to 10 baby carrots, quartered lengthwise

Find lots more recipes on VegKitchen for kale, collards, and other hardy greens.

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  • Reply
    Stanley Bland
    December 29, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Excellent recipe, thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    March 24, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    I made a version of this last night and used a mandolin to make very fine cabbage. The kale was prepared as described with maybe 5mm strips; also I only used one small shallot. Interestingly enough it turned out similar to a seaweed salad but without the seaweed flavor. Be sure to toast the sesame seeds too. This was served with ginger-garlic-soy-sesame baked cod. Super tasty!!

  • Reply
    July 12, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    I have read this recipe several times. When is the ginger used? My apologies if I am just dense.

    • Reply
      July 12, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      Hello — my apologies, there was an omission in the recipe. I did make the update, though it sometimes takes a few hours to actually show up. The ginger should be in the 4th paragraph, added with the sesame oil and sesame seeds. Thanks for the eagle eye!

  • Reply
    September 13, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Loved this. Added a clove of crushed garlic to the onions, and julienned carrots with the kale and cabbage. Delicious!

    • Reply
      September 19, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Great tweaks, Jo-Anne; thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Rusty Horton
    October 15, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    I have been preparing sauteed cabbage and kale for a while now and thought that it was my own creation. I use bacon grease though, and have never tried sesame oil and seeds. Can’t wait to try it this way.

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