Ethiopian Nej Gomen (White Cabbage)

Today, we are moving on to the second side dish to go with our Ethiopian Bayaynet—Nej Gomen (also known as white cabbage). When we say “white cabbage”, we just mean plain old cabbage. They also have another dish called “Habesha gomen”, which is basically a kale side dish, and we will cover it in a couple of weeks.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a big fan of vegetables, aka. rabbit food.  I am a sucker for peas and corn, but to say that I don’t like leafy greens is an understatement.  That being said, I do try to be a responsible adult and get some of that healthy fiber into my system.

Despite my dislike of vegetables, I do enjoy this cooked variety (plus it has potatoes, and I’m sorry, but who can say no to potatoes!). 

There aren’t too many special aspects to this dish, it’s just a simple, yummy, vegetable side with a gentle kick of Jalapeños on top (don’t worry, it’s very mild).

Here are just a couple of things to keep in mind as you make this at home:

  • Try not to overcook the potatoes and carrots.  If they are overcooked, they will just fall apart when you are mixing them with the cabbage at the end.
  • ¼ cup of oil may seem like a lot (because, lets be honest, it is…).  You can use less if you’d like, but in my experience, the less oil that you use, the more the texture and consistency seem to change.  If you don’t like how much oil we use here, then just play around with it and figure out what works for you. 
  • I don’t remove the seeds from the Jalapeño peppers when I make this dish. If you are a fan of more mild flavors, then remove the seeds, otherwise, leave them in for a little added kick.

Ethiopian Nej Gomen (White Cabbage)

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  • 1 large Carrot
  • 1 medium Russet Potato
  • 8 oz Yellow Onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 TBSP Garlic, minced (3 large cloves) +1 additional Clove, minced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Fenugreek, ground
  • ½ cup Water
  • 4 cups Cabbage, chopped (12 oz)
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper, chopped length-wise


Peal and chop the carrots and potatoes. Cook them in a separate pan until they are soft (I like to pressure-cook them for 2-3 minutes in my Instant Pot).  Drain the water and set them aside until the end of the recipe.

Slice (not dice) the onions, and sauté them in the oil for 15-20 minutes.

Next, add the initial TBSP of garlic, salt, and Fenugreek, stirring until it is well combined.  Next, add the water and cabbage, and let it simmer for 20 minutes. 

When the cabbage cooked is through, add the cooked potatoes, carrots, jalapeño slices, and 1 more crushed garlic clove.  Mix it well so that everything is evenly combined. 

Let it simmer for about 5 more minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat.  Nej Gomen is best with Injera–can be served warm or cold.

I’ll go over making Injera in a few weeks so that we can create a full Bayaynet with all of the different sauces we’ve been making.  However, if you are making this sauce before we go over the Injera, I would recommend either finding a local Ethiopian restaurant that you could buy some freshly-made Injera from, or check out this awesome youtube video with a very detailed, step-by-step on creating your own at home.

This particular recipe yields just under 3 cups.

Amharic/English Translations for this Recipe:

  • Bayaynet = an assortment of sauces/sides adorning a round platter of Injera
  • Nej = White
  • Gomen = Cabbage