Chinese 5 Spice, Stir-Fried White Cabbage Recipe (No Oil!)

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Sometimes you just want to make a simple meal with no fuss and minimal ingredients, and this Chinese 5 spice, stir-fried cabbage recipe is perfect for that very job.

You may well think to yourself “but, I can’t just eat cabbage as a meal”, and we say “why not?”, especially if it’s fragrant, tasty and delicious. Its’ time to break free of old ‘norms’ about how we think about our food because these norms can make our lives harder and more complicated than they need to be.

For instance, how often do you scratch you head trying to think of a new and exciting plant based meal? There are SO many plants for us to eat out there, but you really don’t need to over complicate your plant based diet. Don’t make life so hard and go for simple, simple, simple every time.

The great thing about the plant based lifestyle is it does change your perceptions around food, either quickly or over time. You probably used to think it was normal to eat meat and dairy with every meal. You also probably thought that a meal wasn’t ‘complete’ without some kind of animal product on it, and up until you became plant based you never would have thought you could make a meal from just plants, right?

Our perceptions change when we start to eat differently, and over complicating your plant based meals is another hurdle to overcome.

White Cabbage Benefits

white cabbage

We know, we know, it’s just a humble cabbage. Cheap and readily available everywhere, all year round. But, what you probably didn’t know is that white cabbage has substance to it. It can quite literally be a light meal in itself that will fill you up and give you energy and satisfaction.

White cabbage is a high protein, high fibre vegetable when eaten in larger amounts. It can indeed constitute a complete meal as part of an over-all healthy, whole foods plant based diet.

If you were to eat a whole, medium sized head of white cabbage you would be obtaining a whopping 12g of protein alone from that meal. That’s going to be filling and sustaining, especially alongside the fibre and water content. As you can see, there’s no reason why this white cabbage, stir-fry recipe cannot be a meal in itself.

Nutritional information of white cabbage

(One medium sized head)

  • 223 – Calories
  • 12 g – Protein
  • 0.9 g – Fat
  • 23 g – Dietary fibre
  • 0 mg – Cholesterol
  • 1543.6 mg – Potassium
  • 53 g – Carbohydrates

Vitamins and mineral content:-

  • Vitamin C – 553% RDA
  • Vitamin B6 -55% RDA
  • Calcium – 36% RDA
  • Magnesium – 27% RDA
  • Iron – 23% RDA

As you can see, white cabbage has lots of nutrition and is a weight loss food. It’s high protein, high water and high fibre content will fill you up and help keep your blood sugar stable for hours. This will stop you snacking all for a very low amount of calories.

Another reason this specific dish has fat burning and metabolism boosting qualities is the fact it contains lots of proven fat burning spices. These include turmeric, cinnamon, fennel, cloves and star anise.

Check out our amazing, homemade, metabolism boosting spice mix.

This meal is under 250 calories because we don’t add oil, just tamari sauce and spices.

Other Ways To Serve This Dish

Add other chopped veggies to this stir fry if you want to diversify it a little more. Perfect vegetables for this job would be beansprouts, onions, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, mushrooms or green beans. This will make your Chinese 5 spice stir-fry more a a substantial “main” meal, rather than a lunch or side dish.

You can also serve as a side with some teriyaki tofu and brown rice or with noodles. Equally, it’s just as delicious on its own and needs nothing else.

Chinese 5 Spice, Stir-Fried White Cabbage Recipe (No Oil!)

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 1
Calories 250 kcal


  • Large Wok
  • Chopping board
  • Wooden spoon
  • Chopping knife


  • 1 medium head white cabbage Finely shredded. Green cabbage can be used also but may alter cooking times.
  • 2-3 tbsp tamari sauce Or soy sauce
  • 3-4 cloves fresh crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • ½ - 1 tbsp Chinese 5 spice seasoning Or to taste
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup hot water This is a rough estimate so have more on hand.


  • Thinly slice your cabbage to the best of your ability, or use a mandolin or food processor and shred setting to get your cabbage as fine as possible. Finely cut cabbage has a better texture, making it easier to eat and will cook faster.
  • Heat your wok on highest heat setting with about half a cup of water and your tamari sauce until very hot.
  • Add your crushed garlic and fry for 30 seconds before adding your finely sliced cabbage. Leave it to sit cooking for about a minute or so before even stirring. This will help to caramelise some of the cabbage and cook the garlic out.
  • Now you can add all your spices and toss your cabbage as it cooks. Let the fluids dry down and allow it to even stick a little on the bottom to really get some flavour and caramelisation going. Add splashes of your hot water to prevent sticking as you go.
    Keep frying for roughly 7-10 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like your cabbage and how thick it is to start with. You will know when you taste test it whether it's to your liking.
  • Check your flavours and add more tamari/soy sauce or seasoning if you need to. Remember that tamari and soy sauce are high sodium and if you add too much then your finished dish runs the danger of being too salty. That's why it's good to add the hot water, instead of too much tamari, to prevent sticking.
  • You want the finished dish to not be too dry, so leave a little of the sauce that has now been created in the bottom of your pan to serve. Stir in a dash more hot water if you need to, even at the end of cooking, to create a little "sauce".
  • Serve as it is, or as a side to a meal. You can even add some chopped nuts or tofu to make this a more substantial dinner meal in itself.
    If you are going to be eating just this as a meal then you will more than likely need to eat the whole lot to get enough calories and nutrition from it to sustain you. It will serve more as a side dish.


Keyword easy, fat free, low fat, Plant Based, raw vegan, weight loss promoting, WFPB, WFPB no oil

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