Healthier Irish Corned Beef & Cabbage Recipe

Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

Corned beef & cabbage is a favorite meal of ours (as it is for most Americans of Irish descent) and a tradition in our house on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve found that it’s surprisingly easy to brine my own homemade brisket too (here’s how I do it).

Brining your own corned beef makes this a much healthier dish by avoiding all of the artificial additives found in store-bought, pre-made corned beef.

Really, with these modifications, I see no reason corned beef and cabbage can’t be enjoyed any time of year!

Corned Beef & Cabbage – The Prep

Brining your own homemade brisket may sound like an extra step, but it’s worth it to avoid the added nitrites and chemicals of store bought corned beef. It does mean planning (well) ahead of time, but once you have the corned beef, the actual dish takes virtually no time to put together!

If it’s still 3-5 days before St. Patty’s Day, you have time to brine your own corned beef brisket! (See above for the recipe.)

Once the brisket is brined and ready, the remaining prep is a snap. I use a Crock-Pot to slow cook the meat but saute the veggies separately in a pan about half an hour before the meat is done for a great texture.

Hey … Where’s the Potatoes?

Corned Beef and Cabbage healthyOf course traditional corned beef is not complete without cabbage (which I definitely include lots of) and potatoes. Our family typically avoids white potatoes (here’s why) because they’re starchy and high on the glycemic index, but on special occasions we will indulge in them.

I definitely  favor more nutrient-dense options like sweet potatoes or cauliflower “mashed potatoes” on the side instead, but feel free to add a few potatoes to the Crock-Pot in honor of the Irish if you wish!

For other recipe ideas that honor Irish heritage in healthier way, check out my potato-free cottage shepherd’s pie or the always popular bangers and mash. (These are also great options if there’s no time to brine a brisket!)

Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe
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4.5 from 4 votes

Corned Beef & Cabbage Recipe

A Crock-Pot version of this traditional Irish meal that uses corned beef brined at home!
Course Main
Cuisine Irish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 681kcal
Author Katie Wells


For the brisket:

For the sides:

  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • butter or ghee
  • spices to taste such as caraway thyme, and basil


  • First, drain brine, rinse brisket under cool water, and put in Crock-Pot. Add garlic, pepper, and enough fresh water to just cover meat. (Do not use the brine ... it will be too salty!)
  • Turn the Crock-Pot on low and cook for 8 hours.
  • About half an hour before beef is done, chop cabbage, onion, garlic, and carrots.
  • Saute onions, garlic, and carrots in butter or ghee in large skillet until somewhat soft.
  • Add cabbage and spices and cook until soft. Add a little corned beef water from the crockpot if it starts to get dry.
  • Serve the corned beef over the cabbage and veggies.


Calories: 681kcal | Carbohydrates: 25.7g | Protein: 49.9g | Fat: 42.4g | Saturated Fat: 18.1g | Cholesterol: 210mg | Sodium: 3039mg | Fiber: 9.4g | Sugar: 13.1g

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Ever made your own corned beef and cabbage before? What are your tips and tricks?

Classic Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage made the healthy way, slow cooked in the crock pot.

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