You don’t have to look great in green to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day. And if you’re a fan of this colorful holiday, chances are you look forward to pulling out a time-tested corned beef and cabbage recipe each year and treating friends and family to this ultimate Irish-American comfort food. The challenge is getting around the crazy-high sodium level found in commercially prepared corned beef. Some versions may have as much as 1,260 milligrams per serving—that’s more than half the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 2,300 milligrams per day!1

If you opt for traditional corned beef, try trimming the excess fat and then rinsing the brisket under cool water to remove the brine before cooking the meat. You can also use only half the seasoning packet that comes with the brisket. Try adding other herbs and spices (typically bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mustard seed, nutmeg, peppercorns, and maybe some fresh garlic) but don’t add salt. You can also substitute alternative flavorings such as a dry stout (beer) for part of the water.

Here’s a tasty take on beef and cabbage, courtesy of, that uses less salt but doesn’t skimp on hearty flavor. Each serving has about 350 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 700 milligrams of sodium. (Fun fact: Since the beef has not been corned—soaked in brine—it won’t turn pink.)

Slow-cooker beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots

Serves 8

  • 1¾ teaspoons salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 pounds beef brisket, trimmed (not corned)
  • 1 cup unsalted beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 medium onions, cut into wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 head Savoy cabbage, halved
  • 2 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 pound trimmed baby carrots
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  1. Combine 1½ teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon ground pepper, the brown sugar, ground mustard, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a small bowl. Rub mixture over all sides of brisket.
  2. Place brisket in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add stock, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, onions, garlic cloves, and bay leaves. Arrange cabbage halves over top.
  3. Cook on low 8 hours or until beef is very tender. When pierced with a cooking fork, the meat should separately easily. Transfer beef to a cutting board; discard bay leaves.
  4. Place potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan; add cold water to cover potatoes by 1 inch. Bring to a boil; cook 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Drain.
  5. Toss potatoes and carrots with butter and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of ground pepper.
  6. Cut brisket across the grain into thin slices. Cut each cabbage half into 4 wedges. Serve brisket with onions, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and jus.

Regardless of how you celebrate St. Paddy’s Day, remember that if you get caught up in a cabbage-eating competition and end up with an upset stomach, Teladoc is here to help. Our board-certified physicians can diagnose and recommend treatment for a wide variety of non-emergency conditions, from indigestion and heartburn to seasonal allergies and sinus infections. Download the app and keep us within arm’s length 24/7 wherever you are. Here’s wishing you sláinte—health!


1American Heart Association

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