This grilled cabbage and fennel with vegan maple mustard cream is a feel-good veggie side dish that is so flavourful. The veggies are brushed with a garlic and sumac-infused oil before grilling. The maple mustard cream is naturally dairy-free with a cashew butter base.
Sometimes I just want to make and share a seasonal grilled vegetable side with a flavourful sauce! This is true to how we eat once the weather warms up. Cook a bunch of veggies over fire, maybe throw a vegan sausage on while we’re at it. Then whisk together a little sauce or vinaigrette and cook some rice or other starch on the side. Simple and so satisfying.
One of my favourite vegan sauce shortcut ingredients is raw cashew butter. It’s so creamy and smooth. You whisk it with water, some type of acidic component, and any other flavours you like–kind of similar to tahini sauce! I find that the cashew butter is much more mellow and a touch more rich. I usually buy the Artisana brand.
This sauce is a bit sweet, but with the savoury edge of two types of mustard, onion powder, and nutritional yeast. A touch of white wine vinegar brightens things up. I could probably put this sauce on almost anything!
We brush the veg with a garlic and sumac infused oil. This is simple to make and gives us a base of bright, slightly garlicky flavour. Always a good thing! The sliced garlic gets toasty and crunchy, which is perfect for garnishing the dish at the end.
I’ve shared a bunch of charred cabbage recipes in the past on here and in my cookbook. It’s one of my cooking obsessions! Grilling/searing/high heat roasting really brings out the natural sweetness and heightens that brassica vibe. As an added bonus, cabbage is generally available year-round and is also quite affordable. Definitely a top 5 vegetable for me!
If you like this grilled cabbage and fennel dish, you’ll probably also like my Roasted Cabbage with Ginger Lime Root Slaw, these Grilled Cabbage Steaks with Jalapeño Chimichurri & Lentils or this Apple Kale Salad with Miso Mustard Dressing.
Grilled Cabbage & Fennel with Maple Mustard Cream
Maple Mustard Cream
- 3 tablespoons raw cashew butter
- 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon white wine or champagne vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon yellow mustard
- ½ teaspoon nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup water
Grilled Cabbage, Fennel & Red Onion
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon sumac
- 1 small head green cabbage, tough outer leaves trimmed
- 1 fennel bulb, fronds trimmed and reserved
- 1 red onion, tough outer peel removed
- nigella seeds, for garnish (optional)
- ground chillies or chili flakes, for garnish (optional)
- reserved fennel fronds, for garnish (optional)
- Make the maple mustard cream. In a small bowl, whisk together the cashew butter, grainy mustard, maple syrup, white wine vinegar, yellow mustard, nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, pepper, and water. Whisk until you have a smooth, slightly fluid cream. Set aside.
- Infuse the oil for grilling the veg. Pour the olive oil into a small skillet. Add the sliced garlic and sumac. Place the skillet over medium heat. Once the garlic and sumac start sizzling a little bit, give it a stir. Keep it at a low sizzle for about a minute, or until the garlic is light golden brown. Remove from the heat. Spoon the sliced garlic chips out onto a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
- Preheat the grill to high.
- Cut the cabbage into 1-inch thick rounds. Cut the fennel lengthwise into 1-inch slices. There should be a bit of the core in every slice to keep it intact on the grill. Slice the red onion into 1-inch thick rounds. Lay all of the sliced veg out on a baking sheet.
- Brush the veg with the garlic and sumac-infused oil on one side. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the veg, oil side down, onto the grill. Grill the exposed side with the remaining infused oil. Season the other side with salt and pepper. Close the lid of the grill.
- Grill the veg until char marks appear and the down facing side is beginning to soften, about 8 minutes. Using a flipper and tongs, carefully flip all of the cabbage, fennel and red onion pieces over. Close the lid and grill for another 7-8 minutes, or until char marks appear and vegetables have softened.
- Transfer grilled vegetables to a platter. Drizzle with the maple mustard cream. Scatter the reserved golden garlic chips over the top. Garnish with nigella seeds, chili, and fennel fronds if you like!
- I can’t lie, flipping these vegetables on the grill can be challenging! I recommend using a flipper to get underneath with one hand, and then securing the vegetable with tongs in the other hand. Then carefully using both to flip it over.
- I use Artisana cashew butter.
- You could use tahini instead of cashew butter if you like. The sesame flavour will of course be a bit stronger than the mellow cashew butter.
- The maple mustard cream also makes a great raw veggie dip and a versatile sauce for grain bowls and roasted vegetables.