This recipe for Crispy Grilled Cabbage with Charred Dates and Tahini Sauce is a hearty and satisfying plant-based dinner. It’s full of smoky flavor with sweet dates, refreshing herbs and crunchy nuts.
How to Grill Cabbage
- Cut a cabbage half into four wedges, for more even cooking. Heat a grill or grill pan to high.
- Drizzle a high-heat oil over each of the cabbage wedges, using your hands to coat each side fully. Sprinkle oiled cabbage evenly with cumin and sea salt.
- Place cabbage wedges on the grill so that they do not overlap. If you have a smaller pan you may need to do this in two rounds. Grill for 4-5 minutes per side, until nice char marks appear and the cabbage has noticeably softened.
What is the best kind of oil to use when grilling vegetables?
An oil that has a high smoke point, like canola, is best for grilling vegetables. Rapeseed, avocado, and vegetable oil are some other options that work well.
Smoke Points of Common Cooking Oils
|Avocado||Refined||270 C||520 F|
|Butter||Clarified||250 C||482 F|
|Canola||Refined||204 C||400 F|
|Coconut||Refined||204 C||400 F|
|Olive||Virgin||210 C||410 F|
|Olive||Extra Virgin||190 C||374 F|
|Safflower||Refined||266 C||510 F|
|Peanut||Refined||232 C||450 F|
|Vegetable||Refined||220 C||428 F|
What does tahini taste like?
Tahini (a “seed butter” made from ground sesame seeds) has a neutral, nutty flavor that pairs very well with Mediterranean cuisine. It varies widely in quality and can sometimes skew very bitter. I recommend testing a few brands to find your personal preference, and always searching for one that is “runny” and pourable, thus perfect for sauces and spreading. I like Pepperwood Organics Hulled Tahini. The 365 brand at Whole Foods is also good. I do not care for the Trader Joe’s brand. Read more tahini tips in this recipe post for Tahini Avocado Toast.
How to Make Creamy Tahini Sauce
- In a small, sealable jar, mix together 4 TBS tahini,, 3 TBS lemon juice, 1 tsp maple syrup, ½ tsp sea salt, a pinch of black pepper, and 1 clove grated garlic.
- Use a fork to whisk to combine, adding a bit of water as needed to make the sauce pourable.
- Taste and see if you’d like to add any more of each ingredient, adjusting to your personal preference. Seal the jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
Instead of drizzling this sauce over the entire plate of cabbage, I recommend serving it as a base. This way, those enjoying the recipe can decide how much they’d like to spoon onto their own plates. Alternatively, plate each wedge individually with sauce underneath! This is a similar technique seen in the recipe for Cucumber Salad with Tahini Sauce.
How to Char Dates
- Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high. If your grill has large grates, place a square of aluminum foil over top so that they do not fall through.
- Tear Medjool dates in half and remove the pites. Place on grill and let cook for 3 minutes, until slightly blackened.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
Grilling dates helps concentrate their sweet flavor and adds a smoky layer that I really enjoy. They take on a somewhat “meaty” texture and are a satisfying counterpoint for this grilled cabbage recipe.
Substitution and Customization Ideas For This Recipe
- Purple or Savoy cabbage and be used in place of green. Be sure to cut each wedge into a similar size to encourage even cooking.
- If you do not like Medjool dates or cannot find them in the store, feel free to substitute Delget Noor dates or dried figs.
- Mint, cilantro, and parsley will all work as the fresh herb topping.
- If you do not have a grill or a grill pan, this recipe can be made on the stovetop in a skillet (it will just lack the characteristic marks). It can also be made under a broiler in the oven.
- If you’d like to add even more flavor and texture, pomegranate arils would be a welcome (and colorful) addition.