Repollo Guisado (Cabbage Stew)

Repollo guisado (Cabbage stew)

It happened in the summer of 1993. It wasn’t a difficult decision.

It was always uncomfortable around the table in the company’s cafeteria. I had already developed a reputation for being picky, people had suspicions. The real challenge came when we were sitting for our Christmas dinner, as my mom cut me a piece of the juicy pork roast I couldn’t hold it any longer. With trembling voice I blurt it out right then and there, to my family’s utmost shock:

“Mom… I am a vegetarian”.

Repollo guisado (Cabbage stew)

In a country of unapologetic carnivores, where the vernacular is peppered with witty references to how delicious meat is, it can sometimes be very hard to be a vegetarian.

My father, of course, never accepted it. He thinks vegetarians can be “converted” back to the rightful path of the meat-eaters. The rest of my family left me alone. My friends nicely offered a vegetarian choice when they invited me, and my mom jokingly suggested “slaughtering an eggplant” for dinner when I visited.

Repollo guisado (Cabbage stew)

Eating out, however, was a real challenge. When telling a waiter that I was a vegetarian (crossing my fingers and hoping that there would be something I could eat somewhere in the kitchen) it was not rare for they to stare at me like I had an arm sticking out of my forehead.

“But you eat chicken, don’t you?”.

“Did that chicken grow from a tree?”

After a few months of a total ban on meat I decided I had to compromise, or else I would become an outcast of society. I decided to at least eat fish (and the occasional serrano). Now when I tell people “I don’t eat meat… but I eat fish” they look at me in a different way: Like I am not a complete loon.

Repollo guisado (Cabbage stew)

“Hey, this is not a salad!” I can hear the screams from here. It is a trick to get the salad-haters to eat their vegetables by introducing them to this very humble, but very tasty and healthy Dominican dish. This is a great side dish if you are a vegan or vegetarian, and, if not, it goes great with your choice of grilled meat.

Buen provecho!

Aunt Clara

This post is sponsored by Holland House. I have received compensation and products to create this recipe, but these opinions are 100% mine.

Repollo Guisado (Cabbage Stew)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Repollo guisado recipe (Cabbage stew) is a great side dish if you are vegan vegetarian, and if not, it goes great with your choice of grilled meat.
Serves: 6 servings
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, cut into strips
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ head of cabbage, shredded
  • ⅓ cup Holland House white wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of hot sauce of your preference (or more to taste)
  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Cook and stir the onions and garlic until the onions become transparent. Add the pepper and tomatoes. Cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce.
  3. Stir in the cabbage, vinegar and water and simmer over very low heat until the cabbage is wilted (about 5 mins.).
  4. Season with salt and hot sauce to taste. Serve with rice.

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{ 21 comments… add one }

  • Rebecca July 27, 2014, 9:33 PM

    Hi I enjoy your recipes, and they look pretty simple(some) to make. But can tell us for example for some ingredients if were not able to find, what to use to substitute? Im dying to make this recipe, since Im a vegetarian,what is your suggestion; I’m unable to find Holland house wine vinegar. Thank you

    • Aunt Clara August 7, 2014, 3:13 PM

      Use whatever brand of rice vinegar you find then.

  • laura August 10, 2012, 2:05 PM

    Dear Aunt Clara,

    I have been coming back to this site for recipes since 2008…well it turns out I keep coming back to find myself as a born Dominican ‘raised in the states’…through food, and of course the personal stories that come along with all the recipes, and have led myself attach to this webpage. I was raised in La Vega, Dominican Republic until the age of 10 by my wonderful grandmother (RIP) who taught me everything I know…including all the basics of Dominican cooking. Today I saw this recipe, and although I am sure my boyfriend might not like it:-( I am determine to make it in honor of my beloved grandmother…she loved repollo guisado, not only because of how economic it was, and still is, but for how delicious it tastes with some arroz Blanco.

    thank you, for all the recipes that have helped me find my true identity.

    West palm beach, Florida

    • Aunt Clara August 10, 2012, 2:13 PM

      Thank you, thank you, Laura. I love introducing people, Dominicans or not, to our delicious foods. Food is an universal language. Thank you for following us.

  • Susan April 22, 2012, 10:05 PM

    This looks great and it's so easy to make. I can't wait to try it. A very touching story also…

  • Gian John Banchero March 7, 2012, 1:58 PM

    Thank you so much for the recipe, D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!! I made the "mistake" of thinking that 1/4 of a cabbage would have produced too little so I doubled the recipe which produced a humungous amount… Didn't mind though because this dish is so good I'm glad to have it around for a couple days. I'm just learning the gift of the Latin American kitchen(s), so many recipes, so little time. Thank you for opening our eyes… And mouths.

    • Aunt Clara April 4, 2012, 2:51 PM

      Well, am I ever glad you liked it, specially since you had so much leftover.

      Thanks for commenting.

  • Aimee Diaz February 4, 2012, 9:03 AM


    Soy dominicana, pero nunca he sido muy buena en la cocina. Mi tiempo es un poco complicado, soy diabetica y vivo con mi hija que es muy "picky" para comer, siempre estoy buscando recetas faciles para hacer, que yo las pueda comer sin preocuparme por mi azucar y que a mi hija le guste.

    Muchas gracias por esta receta, muy buena. Aunque le exhorto por favor, que incorpore mas recetas para diabeticos, las que he hecho hasta ahora me han quedado riquisimas. Muchisimas gracias!

    • Aunt Clara February 4, 2012, 10:31 AM

      Gracias a tí, Aimee.

      La diabetes es una enfermedad endémica en mi familia. De hecho yo mismo, aunque no soy diabética, vivo como si lo fuera ya que tarde o temprano me alcanzarán mis genes.

      Trato de que las recetas que presento sean lo más saludables posible, aun esas que no son precisamente muy saludables, trato de dar opciones para aquellos que tienen limitaciones dietéticas, no solamente por la diabetes. Por ejemplo, en las habichuelas con dulce menciono que mi madre las hace con Splenda y leche sin grasa, lo que la convierte en un postre bastante amigable al diabético. Siempre estoy añadiendo recetas de este tipo ya que lo que comparto con Uds. es lo que comemos en casa (aunque yo a veces no lo coma), y si no se lo serviría a mi familia no se lo "serviría" a Uds. tampoco.

  • Abby November 17, 2011, 5:00 PM

    Hi there, I have never been led astray by you Aunt Clara, thank you! I'm sure gathering and standardizing Dominican recipes is a bit like herding cats – pretty tough. :)

    However, I made this recipe, as the recipe instructs, with 1/3 cup of oil. it seemed like a lot, and half way I found myself spooning it out. When I belatedly watched the video, it didn't seem as if it was being cooked in a 1/3 cup of oil, but maybe a few tablespoons. Any clarification would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    • Aunt Clara November 17, 2011, 5:18 PM

      Precious me! That was an error. You are totally right, and thanks for calling that to my attention.

  • Elisa A October 6, 2011, 8:44 AM

    I also grill a lot of vegetable (when weather permits), I think the best ones for grillling are zuchini, green beans, carrots, corn, squash and of couse potatoes. I cut them in small pieces, marinate with rice vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil for a few hours. I prepare an aluminum foil pouch and put them on the grill for 10 mins. Excellent by themselves or as a side dish.

  • Elisa A October 6, 2011, 8:10 AM

    Clara, I'm laughing while reading your article because growing up my parents though I was a vegetarian because I was very picky with meat and still am. Thankfully things have change a lot, now days vegetarian restaurants are every where and the non-vegetarian restaurants have a great selections of vegetarian dishes. I love the visual video and I wish you had that with all the recipes. Excelent dish and article.

    Take care Clara.

  • Jenny September 23, 2011, 9:04 PM

    Vegetarian is not my thing, but I have to say that those pictures are really tempting.

  • Jennifer (Delicieux) September 23, 2011, 3:17 PM

    I know what you mean about people looking at your strangely when you tell them you're vegetarian. Luckily it's not as uncommon nowadays, but it's still difficult to get a good vegetarian meal when out at a restaurant as it seems to be a common myth that vegetarians still eat chicken or seafood.

    Your stew looks fantastic and very delicious.

  • Marta September 19, 2011, 12:02 PM

    This looks delicious….I am definitely tempted!

  • Aunt Clara September 18, 2011, 6:35 PM

    Errm… I am not a dude. More like a dudette. Or "cranky lady" if you wish. :)

    This all went on in 1993, and yes I was living in Santo Domingo then (I am Dominican, born and bred). There were a few restaurants that served vegetarian meals. Ananda is the one I miss the most, but Ojas (RIP) was also very popular then. This does not detract from the fact that for me it wasn't easy socially. Try dragging your carnivorous friends to Ojas and you will soon find yourself eating alone.

    Things have changed, mercifully (and Ananda is still around), but being a vegan did not work for me. YMMV.

  • Missskitttin September 18, 2011, 6:20 PM

    Dude… did you even live in the DR? There are more vegetarian restaurants than any other place ive lived. And dominican cuisine is pretty much based on vegetables. Now… if you didnt choose Mickey Dees as your restaurant of choice you would ve been pleasantly surprised… Now if you are actually a dominican…. that is worse.

  • Sandra B Gomez September 17, 2011, 10:03 AM

    Love repollo guisado! sometimes I make it as a main dish adding sliced kielbasa and two lightly beaten eggs, it is delicious!

  • Amity September 17, 2011, 5:51 AM

    Love the addition of video to this post. I find as a visual learner this helps me try new things more readily. Great post!!

    And I have used Holland House Sherry for years as a part of my French Onion Soup recipe! They make wonderful products for the cook.

  • Malte March 9, 2011, 5:31 PM

    Easy and tasty =)