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Vegetarian Fried Cabbage Recipe (Pad Galam Plee)

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Vegetarian fried cabbage recipe, or pad galam plee in Thai, is perfect for a gluten-free main or a low-carb side dish full of flavor. It’s quick, easy, and ready in just 20 minutes with vegan tofu and simple ingredients.

Vegetarian fried cabbage with tofu, Thai pad galam plee, served in a white dish.

Make sure to try my other Thai cabbage stir-fry recipe, which is equally delicious!

What is pad galam plee

Pad galam, a traditional Thai cabbage stir-fry, is a simple vegetable dish made with crispy fried cabbage, garlic, and seasonings. It’s a staple in Thai kitchens and a popular side-dish with other Thai food.


  • Pad: Pad translates to “fried” in Thai, the cooking method used in this dish.
  • Galam plee: Cabbage in Thai is “galam plee”, the primary ingredient in this stir-fry.

Vegetarian fried cabbage

This crispy pan-fried cabbage is deliciously salty and savory, with a hint of sweetness to balance the flavors.

Close-up of crispy fried cabbage with tofu, coated with stir-fry sauce.

You can easily customize it with your favorite stir-fry vegetables. Toss in your favorites like onion, bell pepers, broccoli, you name it!

Spice it up or keep it mild, it’s all good.

It’s low-carb, and you can totally enjoy it guilt-free. Go easy on the oil, and you’ll turn it into a healthier dish that’s perfect for anyone on a diet.

Thai fried cabbage with tofu, pad galam plee, served in a white dish.

In Thailand, it’s typically served as a side dish with other Thai food. Adults love it, and kids do too! It’s that kind of food that anyone likes, a total crowd-pleaser.

Why try this vegan cabbage recipe

  • It’s incredibly simple to make: This Asian sautéed cabbage is easy and fuss-free, the perfect dish for busy weeknights and any home cook.
  • Cabbage is healthy: Cabbage is full of vitamins and minerals, it’s high in fiber and antioxidants.
  • Budget-friendly: Cabbage is cheap, and you probably have all the other ingredients in your kitchen pantry right now.
  • Kid-approved: My little niece and nephew gave a thumbs up. It’s a good way to get the little ones to eat some vegetables.
  • Versatile: Whether you’re looking for a light main or a versatile side, this cabbage stir-fry fits into any occasion and meal plan.

Best cabbage for stir-fry

Green cabbage is an excellent choice for stir-fry. Its crisp texture makes it ideal for quick cooking methods like stir-frying. Green cabbage holds up well under heat and absorbs sauces beautifully, for a satisfying crunch full of stir-fry sauce.

  • Savoy cabbage: Preferred for its ruffled, tender leaves and mild taste.
  • Napa cabbage: Often used in Asian cuisine. Has a mild flavor and tender texture.
  • Red cabbage: Brings a unique flavor with a firm texture.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Ingredients for vegetarian cabbage stir-fry recipe: garlic, tofu, soy sauce, palm sugar, and cabbage, arranged on a banana leaf in clay cups and bamboo dishes.
  • Cabbage: I used green cabbage, but feel free to customize. If you’re looking for a softer texture, try nappa cabbage – it adds a gentle sweetness to this vegan fried cabbage recipe.
  • Tofu: The perfect vegan choice. Protein-rich and it soaks up the flavors like a sponge.
  • Palm sugar: Palm sugar adds an authentic Thai caramel-like sweetness to the recipe. It balances out the savory and salty flavors.
  • Soy sauce: Soy sauce adds the essential deep, rich saltiness to the sauce, coating every piece of fried cabbage with a layer of flavor.
  • Garlic: Use fresh cloves, avoid using garlic powder. Fresh garlic cloves are the base of most Thai stir-fry dishes, adding fragrance and a pungent note.
  • Oil: Use a neutral oil with high smoke-point, like vegetable oil or canola oil.

How to stir-fry cabbage

medium heat

Sauce for stir-frying in a clay cup on banana leaf.

1. Stir-fry sauce prep: Mix palm sugar with soy sauce until palm sugar dissolves.

Crispy fried tofu in a wok.

2. Fry tofu: Heat oil in your wok and sizzle the tofu until they’re golden with a crunchy exterior.

Fried cabbage in a wok.

3. Fry cabbage & garlic: Remove tofu from the pan and toss in garlic and cabbage. Toss them on high heat until they achieve a beautifully charred appearance.

Fried cabbage with stir-fry sauce in a wok.

4. Sauce: Pour the stir-fry sauce you prepared earlier over the charred cabbage and thoroughly mix.

Vegetarian fried cabbage with tofu ready in wok.

5. Finish and serve: Bring back the crispy tofu and gently mix with the sauced-up cabbage. Serve immediately.

After trying this, try some of my favorite easy side-dish recipes: Thai ground beef lettuce wraps recipe and pad mee, a foolproof rice vermicelli noodles stir-fry.

Kitchen tools

Here is a list of items you’ll need:

  • Cast iron skillet or wok with spatula
  • Cutting board and sharp knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups

How to serve

After cooking, serve immediately for the best flavors and crispiest texture.

This easy stir-fry cabbage recipe can be enhanced with garnishes and toppings:

  • Toppings: Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper or even Thai chili flakes (pepper flakes) for those who love a bit of heat. Top with crispy fried garlic for a crunchy garlicky note.
  • Garnishes: Freshly chopped green onions.

What goes with fried cabbage

  • Fried rice: Pair with a portion of vegetarian Thai fried rice.
  • Proteins: tofu, tempeh, or if you’re not strictly vegetarian, grilled fish or chicken.
  • Noodles: Add a side of vegetarian noodles.
  • Salad: Cabbage stir-fry goes great with any kind of spicy salad.
  • Curry: This vegetarian Thai green curry is filled with healthy vegetables and fills you up good.

Here is another Thai vegetables stir-fry you’ll love.

How to store and reheat

Let your fried cabbage cool to room temperature and store it in an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. For the best texture, consume the next day.

Reheating instructions: Reheat in a pan over medium heat until it’s warmed through.

Frequently asked questions

Is fried cabbage good for you?

Fried cabbage can be good for you, cabbage is nutrient-rich, low-carb, and full of antioxidants. However, it’s important to consider how the cabbage is prepared. For the healthiest version, go easy on the oil and include other nutritious ingredients.

Can I add meat?

Yes, feel free to add your favorite proteins like bacon, seafood, chicken, and beef.

How to store cabbage?

Simply wrap it in plastic wrap, in a large plastic bag, or in an airtight container and store in your crisper.

More Thai vegetable stir-fry recipes you’ll love

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Vegetarian Fried Cabbage Recipe (Pad Galam Plee)

Vegetarian fried cabbage tofu served in a white dish.
This vegetarian fried cabbage recipe is quick, easy, and makes the perfect side or main-dish for your busy weeknights.
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 10.5 ounces cabbage see notes
  • 1 teaspoon palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1.8 ounce tofu diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 4 tablespoons oil

Instructions

  • Mix palm sugar with soy sauce until palm sugar dissolves.
  • Heat oil in your wok and sizzle the tofu until they’re golden with a crunchy exterior.
  • Remove tofu from the pan and toss in garlic and cabbage. Toss them on high heat until they achieve a beautifully charred appearance.
  • Pour the stir-fry sauce you prepared earlier over the charred cabbage and thoroughly mix.
  • Bring back the crispy tofu and gently mix with the sauced-up cabbage. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Cabbage: I used green cabbage, but feel free to customize. 

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