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 also 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 meal 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 into the crockpot 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

4 votes


Corned Beef & Cabbage




Yield 4


  • For the brisket:
  • 3-4 lb. corned (preferably brined at home) beef brisket
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • pepper to taste
  • For the sides:
  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 2 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 carrot
  • butter
  • spices to taste


  1. First, Drain brine, rinse brisket under cool water, and put in crock pot for 8 hours on low heat. Add garlic, pepper, and enough water to just cover meat. (Do not use the brine ... it will be too salty!)
  2. About half an hour before beef is done, slice carrots, onion, garlic, and cabbage with a medium chop.
  3. Saute onions, garlic, and carrots in butter or ghee in large skillet until somewhat soft.
  4. Add cabbage and spices and cook until soft. Add a little corned beef water from the crockpot if it starts to get dry.
  5. Serve the corned beef over the cabbage and veggies. Serve with cauliflower "mashed potatoes" if desired.

Courses Main

Cuisine Irish

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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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Reader Comments

  1. Thank you for the mention! I just discovered your blog. It’s a wealth of great information!

  2. Should I use fresh water or the brining solution in the crock pot? Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    • Fresh water… the brining solution will be super salty! Just rinse the brisket well in cool water and then use water in the crock pot.

  3. spices to taste? like salt and pepper?? 🙂 

    • Salt and pepper and caraway, thyme and basil are good but not needed…

  4. Must. Try. Love corned beef but not all those yucky nitrates.

  5. I never join conversations, but this is my first because your recipe gave me the most outstanding, gorgeous meat! its very juicy, its not salty and everyone has complimented me, so i thought i would pass on the compliments. The only thing I did change was that i reserved all the spices from the brine and kept re-using them (i.e. added them when I soaked the meat in fresh water, and then I added them in the pot when I boiled the meat together with a tomato and onion). Its very yummy, thanks so much for sharing such a wonderful recipe.

  6. Hi, I see that you cook it in fresh water, but do you keep the spices? My mom and I love the peppercorns and mustard seeds.

  7. Looking forward to cooking this this weekend – only, do tell, a comment mentioned “brining solution.” I see no brining solution – or soaking – indicated in your directions. What am I missing?

  8. You forgot the taties! I know the carbs aren’t healthy but you can’t celebrate an Irish holiday without taties.

  9. Thank you for ALL your blogs and recipes. I’m delighted to find this one which I try to make this weekend (I think I will keep Friday meatless and celebrate St Joseph and St Patrick on Sunday (so I will also look for any spaghetti / Italian recipes you have posted ! HOWEVER, I cannot find a way to “join the conversation” for your Healthy Mayonnaise which is how I found your website and I really want to add to that discussion and comment on your wonderful recipe and what I’ve done with it … but I cannot find a way to do so. I am new so perhaps I’m not up to speed. Is that discussion closed? Could it be reopened? I noticed there were also some comments with stars on the Healthy Mayo page but I’ve not found a way to “rate” or “Join” / reply on that Mayo subject (thank you for ALL the OTHER Mayo recipes which I will look into but meanwhile — where do I comment on this fundamental Healthy Mayo subject as Corned Beef is probably NOT the right section !!!

  10. I’m a big fan of plantain. It’s a yummy way to get healthy carbohydrates into my diet. Typically, I’ll slice up some plantain (green or ripe) and sauté it in coconut oil for a few minutes. Quick and easy plantain chips! You won’t miss potatoes. Easy to digest too!

  11. I do not have a crock pot… Can this be done in a heavy cast iron pot and lid on the oven? I found a general guide that says the low setting is about 200 degrees… Think I could set it at 200 for same time?

  12. I grew up on a farm – Irish grandfather. We alsways made out own brined beef.

    Boil water and add salt until you can float an egg (in its shell)
    get the meat and put it in a large bowl or crock and cover it well with the brine. I have a stone I use to keep the meat from floating.
    Cover and put in the refrigerator for 3 days – take it out and rinse it off and put it in the pot to cook.
    That’s it!!
    it contains nothing but the meat salt and water so it will not be red but grey and a very tasty grey at that,

  13. If I wanted to freeze half the beef, as prepared as feasible, which stage would you recommend?

  14. I’ll never buy a store bought brined brisket(even from the healthier markets) ever again! It came out awesome & delicious. My deepest gratitude for sharing the recipe & making it healthier!!! My family enjoys root veggies, so I also added gold turnips & parsnips to the cabbage, potatoes & carrots medley. Your site is awesome & I look forward to changing classic recipes into your healthier version…THANK YOU WELLNESS MAMA!!!

  15. I liked this article it talks about corned beef. Corned beef is one of my favorite meal. I pair it with a bread and a rice. This recipe will take me to a new style of cooking a corned beef and pair it with a potato or cabbage which I never did before. Thanks for this great article!

  16. I love the recipe but to make it even healthier instead of potatoes why not mashed cauliflower as a side just a tough I really don’t like that much starch with the food. But love the recipe anyway. thanks

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