Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

Regular, or lower-carb? Here are 2 ways to make Corned Beef and Cabbage. Try one out for your St. Patricks Day celebration. 

St. Patrick's Day in the United States is a time to come together dressed in green to drink beers and eat foods we think are traditional in Ireland (corned beef and cabbage isn't a traditional Irish meal, but its historical ties to Irish people make it a great dish for your St. Patrick's Day traditions). One thing's for sure though. Ireland has history with potatoes. 

While potatoes are totally fine to eat if you have diabetes, it must be done mindfully and with consideration for how it will affect blood sugar. Learn more about eating potatoes with diabetes here. If you'd like to skip the potatoes to keep total carbohydrates down, replace the potatoes in this recipe with turnips. The upside is the decrease in carbohydrates because it will reduce the blood sugar impact of this meal. The downside is the decrease in nutrients like vitamin K and phosphorous. Whichever you choose, you'll love it just as much! 


To make 6 servings:

  • 3 lbs. corned beef brisket (including seasoning packet)
  • 1/2 tsp crumbled bay leaf
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 9 small red potatoes (or 2 medium turnips)
  • 1 small head of cabbage 
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • Parsley for garnish


Prep: Cut carrots into smaller pieces (about 2 inches in length).  Cut each potato in half. Chop the cabbage into 6 wedges. If you decide to use turnips instead of potatoes, try cubing the turnips instead of halving them. Here's how to cook the meal:

  1. Place corned beef into a large pot and sprinkle with the whole seasoning packet and bay leaf. Fill the pot just to the top of the meat. 
  2. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer for 3 hours. 
  3. Add carrots, onions and potatoes to the pot, and increase heat back to boil. 
  4. After boiling for 5 minutes, add the cabbage and continue boiling for 5 additional minutes.
  5. Remove everything from the pot immediately and serve.


Slice up the beef as thick or thin as you'd like and divide evenly into 6 servings. Place 3 potato halves on each plate with carrots and a cabbage wedge. Lightly brush melted butter on the vegetables and lightly pepper for some extra flavor. Garnish with parsley. 

Nutritional Information

If made with potatoes: 

  • Calories: 795
  • Fat: 45g
  • Cholesterol: 152mg
  • Sodium: 1743mg
  • Carbohydrates: 54g 
    • Fiber: 8.5g (subtract fiber from total carbohydrates to get 45.5g net carbs)
  • 44g Protein
  • Vitamin D: 13% daily value (DV)
  • Calcium: 9% DV
  • Iron: 45% DV
  • Potassium: 34% DV

If you switch out potatoes for turnips:

  • Calories: 628
  • Fat: 45g
  • Cholesterol: 152mg
  • Sodium: 1754mg
  • Carbohydrates: 16g
    • Fiber: 4.5g (net carbs reduced to 11.5g)
  • Protein: 39g
  • Vitamin D: 13% DV
  • Calcium: 8% DV
  • Iron: 35% DV
  • Potassium: 11% DV

Corned Beef and Cabbage: Tips and Fun Facts:

  • Choose lean cuts of beef. People living with diabetes should be mindful of unhealthy fats. Choose a leaner cut of beef brisket or trim the fat as needed if using a more fatty cut of meat.

  • Corned beef and cabbage is a good source of iron, and the high level of Vitamin C helps your body absorb the iron from your food – a bonus!

  • When beef is “corned” it can take on lots of salt. As you know, salt doesn’t affect blood glucose levels, but too much salt can increase blood pressure, and people living with diabetes are already twice as likely to have high blood pressure, so be mindful of extra salt. The good thing is, using this recipe, you can enjoy delicious corned beef and cabbage without a lot of added salt, especially if you opt to not add any yourself while cooking. 

  • You can substitute rutabagas for potatoes. Rutabagas have less than half of the calories when compared to potatoes and rutabagas are low in carbohydrates. Rutabagas have more sodium (salt) than potatoes so that is also something to keep in mind — though it does make for a natural way to add salt into the dish!

  • Fresh is best! Food prepared with fresh ingredients is always best because you are in control of what is added to your food. The benefit of this recipe is it is easy to make, is delicious, and uses fresh ingredients — kick those canned foods to the curb if you can for other recipes, too!

Cabbages: The Overlooked Underdog Vegetable

Cabbage is an often-overlooked vegetable that has lots of benefits! Cabbage is: 

  • Low in starch which makes it a great choice for people living with diabetes. Starchy foods can raise blood sugar, so choosing vegetables low in starch (like cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, kale, and broccoli) provides about half the carbohydrates as starchy vegetables like potatoes. Plus, these low starch vegetables are delicious!

  • Low in calories, which is particularly important for people managing weight. Excess body fat is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

  • Packed with key nutrients including protein, fiber, and essential vitamins. Cabbage provides about 85% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin K and 54% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C (1 cup serving).

  • A good source of antioxidants (like all cruciferous vegetables; think cauliflower and broccoli). Antioxidants help keep inflammation in check which can be a problem for people living with diabetes. When someone is living with type 2 diabetes, their body becomes less sensitive to insulin. Insulin resistance leads to inflammation, which can cause additional insulin resistance, a cycle to definitely avoid.

  • Is a good source of fiber. Fiber helps manage blood sugar by slowing digestion of carbohydrates and sugar absorption into your blood, which helps avoid spikes by promoting a more gradual rise in blood sugar.

  • Comes in many shapes and colors. If you want to spice up your corned beef and cabbage, use red or purple cabbage instead. It also comes in white and green, and either smooth or crinkled leaves. Have fun with it!


Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes | NIDDK ( 

Role of Antioxidants and Natural Products in Inflammation | NCBI 

Shaking the Salt Habit to Lower High Blood Pressure | American Heart Association 

Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet | Mayo Clinic 

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