Philippa Davis' cabbage carbonara gratin makes the perfect Sunday lunch accompaniment

Though considered a luxury by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, today cabbage has a far humbler reputation. Philippa Davis is on a mission to reinstate it to its former glory. Her cabbage carbonara gratin makes for the perfect accompaniment to Sunday lunch. Simple to make and wonderfully tasty, it will soon became a staple of your Sunday lunch table, too.

Cabbage was deemed a luxury by the ancients, celebrated for its abilities to cure hangovers, aid digestion and heal wounds. For more inspiration on how to use cabbage for your own suppers, our cabbage ‘burrito’ with partridge spicy slaw is a fun, Tex Mex-inspired version of ‘stuffed’ cabbage. Plus, this is just one of many slaw variations. And our butter pheasant and cabbage is the perfect comfort food for dark, winter nights. Cabbage sandwiches may remain a threat for some, but this is how to turn it into a treat.


Serves 4 as a side


  • 450g white cabbage, shredded into 2cm-wide strips
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 170g smoked rindless streaky bacon, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g grated parmesan or pecorino
  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp dry vermouth

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Blanch the cabbage until just tender. Drain and leave to steam for five minutes. 

In a pan on a medium heat, sauté the onion, garlic, bacon and rosemary in the olive oil until golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Tip the cabbage into the onions, stir in the cream, two-thirds of the cheese and the vermouth; season with plenty of black pepper and a little salt.

Scoop into an ovenproof serving dish and scatter the rest of the cheese on top.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden.