Cabbage Okazu

What a busy time these last few weeks have been! My younger sister is now safely married and the wedding was beautiful. NOW, hopefully life can get back to normal here at home, and my blogging schedule resumed! I have so many plans and posts for this blog that I can’t wait to tackle.

A fitting recipe to share today is a recipe I made several times these last few weeks. My dear mother in law, Sono, made this often, which is why it’s labeled by the Japanese name.  Basically, it’s cabbage flavored with meat to serve with rice and soy sauce. In this case, the meat is hot dogs (which is unusual but surprisingly delicious). I use a high quality nitrate free, meaty hot dog sweetened with honey which imparts a delicious flavor to the cabbage. Cabbage takes on the flavor of meat very well. I have used bacon and ground beef also with good success in flavoring cabbage, but I also think that sliced sausage would be delicious as well.

While a kind of unusual idea, this tasty dish is loved by my family. My daughter was actually quite excited when I made this for dinner. I also love how frugal this dish is. Definitely a ten dollar main dish (or under).

I was reminded of this dish when I was writing my last post about Larkrise Hamlet food. The hamlet people served lots of homegrown vegetables, like cabbage, often flavored with a bit of meat (generally pork). Practical and simple, this dish is a lifesaver for a busy night. And we’ve had our fair share recently! Like the hamlet people of old, sometimes you need a dish that you can make quickly to feed plenty of people This is one such dish. Sono would make huge pots of this to serve the extended family, so you can certainly not only double or triple this dish, but also vary the amount of meat to cabbage as desired.

If hot dogs aren’t your thing, or if you can’t find any made to your standards, you can make a similar dish (with a Russian background) using ground beef and cabbage. It can be used both as a filling for “pockets” or served over rice.

Cabbage Okazu (serves 4 large servings)

    1 small cabbage, washed, cored and thinly sliced
    1 pound of nitrate free, high quality hot dogs, thinly sliced
    coconut oil, or fat of choice

1) In a large pot, sauté the hot dogs in the coconut oil over medium heat until they are warmed through and releasing some of their juices into the oil. Add cabbage and continue to sauté until softened (about 15 minutes), stirring as needed to prevent the cabbage from browning.

To Serve: Serve with brown rice and mustard and soy sauce.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!


  1. says

    Yum! I need to try this next time I’m near a Trader Joe’s. Right now the closest one is three hours plus a border crossing away. 🙂 I’m glad your sister’s wedding went well!

  2. says

    Do you mind me asking which brand of hot dogs you used? I’ve been looking for high-quality, nitrate free hot dogs and haven’t had any luck. For this hot dog lover, summer’s just not the same without them.

  3. Heather says

    I love this dish! Growing up, my family’s name for it was “Sauerkraut and Weinies.” 🙂 I made it for my husband when we were dating. I was sure he would love it as much as I did and that my sauerkraut and weinies would open his eyes to a whole new world of culinary goodness…it didn’t. 🙁 I think it was the name. If I advertised it as cabbage okazu it probably would have gone over better!

    • KimiHarris says


      Out of the sister’s in law, 2 out of 3 love this dish. One, not so much. 🙂 So its true that it’s just not some people’s cup of tea. But, it’s amazing what a cool name will do for a dish. 😉

  4. KimiHarris says

    Leigh-Ann and Lori,

    I am not sure of the brand. It’s the hotdogs they sale at New Seasons Market here locally at their meat counter. It’s an all beef hot dog.

  5. Jen says

    My family makes a similar dish, but it is a little different. We start by simmering the chopped cabbage in water with salt and pepper. Then we add quartered potatoes and continue simmering. Finally, we add sliced, nitrate free polish sausage. YUM!! I love that it’s a simple one pot meal. I always save the broth/cooking liquid as a base for minestrone soup… so GOOD!!!

    I have purchased really good nitrate free hot dogs from both Trader Joe’s and U.S. Wellness meats.

  6. Hearthrose says

    Oh cool! You’ve just reminded me… I make this Irish style with sausage and serve it with mashed potatoes, SO GOOD. I haven’t for a while, clearly I must put this back on the menu.

  7. Laura says

    This is a great recipe. I made one up on a busy night very similar to your recipe. I had soaked rice that day but soon realized the original dish could not be made. So I went ahead and put on the rice to cook. I realized I had cabbage and polish sausage that needed to be cooked or thrown out by the next day. So I chopped the cabbage and tossed it in with the rice. Sliced up the sausage and sauteed nearly instantaneously. It turned out to be the best received dish I’ve put on the table. (And I have a kid that won’t eat homemade chicken nuggets!)

  8. Leslie says

    I buy Applegate Farms organic all beef nitrite and nitrate free hot dots and our local Publix or Fresh Market stores. The company has an online store for their meats. Here is the link for it:
    Thanks for the recipe. We have always loved sauerkraut and hot dogs, but have cut it out because of the amount of salt with the kraut and dogs together. Using fresh cabbage it a great idea!

  9. Kurt says

    Thanks for the suggestion. I am always thinking about buying various kinds of sausage (mostly chicken or turkey varieties) I see in the store, but wondering what I would do with it. This looks like it’s worth trying!

  10. Dawn Baggett says

    I grew up with my mom making a similar dish with hot dogs and saurkraut in the skillet (yummy!); glad to know I can use up the two heads of cabbage in my fridge so easily now. I think it will be great with fresh cabbage, while reminding me of that comfort food from childhood. Thanks!

  11. says

    This looks great! My kids love cabbage (surprise) and we always eat healthy hot dogs. I was particularly thrilled to see the Japanese reference as I lived in Japan. Did you know that Okazu means a side dish to accompany rice? It’s a pretty generic term :-).

  12. says

    Hi Kimi!

    Welcome back! I missed you. So glad to hear that your sister’s wedding went well.

    You’re dish today looks yummy. And I really like that you are showing something like this from an Asian take. My M-I-L is Asian also and sometimes it seems like the Diet Dictocrats make it sound like the Asian diet is just fish and rice…but she serves my F-I-L a lot of pork dishes! 🙂

    Once again, welcome back!



  13. Wanda Arnold says

    I buy ground sausage flavored with a bit of red pepper flakes from a local farmer. I fry up a package in an iron skillet, drain on paper towels, press the fat out and store in a glass dish in the refrigerator. It’s used to flavor omelets, pizza or whatever. Our favorite dish with this sausage is steamed cabbage. I use the recipe for green cabbage (p. 376) from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions. This is truly a dinner that can be prepared in five minutes, needs nothing else and is very satisfying, even for my teenage grandson.

  14. Sarah says

    Trader Joes of course has a few choices that are nitrate free. But of late I have been buying Oscar Meyer Select hot Dogs (Agnus beef) – they are nitrate free. Pretty tasty (bit of a hot dog snob). Been at Super Target more than Trader Joes lately.

  15. says

    We love a similar dish made with the mild italian pork sausage from the meat counter at New Seasons. Only $2.99/lb and good quality. Such a simple and delicious meal.

  16. B says

    My mom calls this peasant food, cabbage + some kind of meat. Serve it with potatoes and it’s Irish, use plantains and it’s Honduran, I guess with rice it’s Japanese. Kind of interesting that very different cultures have the same food!
    Btw, recently found your site and am enjoying the recipes. Coconut ice cream is in the works right now!

  17. says

    We cook like this often! I love cabbage and meat together. Last night I did pork chops in my tagine with both red and green cabbage, some sliced dried apples, bacon, homemade winekraut and a sprinkle of apple cider vinegar.

  18. Jim Parker says

    My wife’s family version of this Japanese-American dish is slightly different. The hot dogs are sauteed in sesame oil and then soy sauce and sugar or mirin (sweet rice wine) , the cabbage is added and cooked until it is soft. Delicious.

  19. says

    My mother in law (Yasua) made the very best Okazu, ever! She used napa cabbage which is what I am making tonight. Saw this on line and now am super enthusiastic about said dish.
    Okazu is country style less expensive dish for family, she explained Fun to observe the various other cultures who use cabbage for family meals. My mother and aunts made bubbles and squeak (English) which is cabbage with various left overs browned on each side. Bubbles represents burping and squeak – gas. 🙂
    May I suggest purchasing hot dogs in any health food store (whole foods in my area) and they have a variety of excellent, nitrate free, range free beef.

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