I feel like cabbage is one of those highly overlooked vegetables. It’s mild color doesn’t necessarily jump out at you from the produce section and it’s flavor doesn’t exactly pack a punch. But, what I love about cabbage is the texture and the health benefits. Think of it as lettuce but so much more resilient that it actually carries it’s own weight in a recipe. And, because of it’s anti-oxidant and cancer-fighting properties, this vegetable blows away the competition just by being so nutrient-dense. I started to love cabbage a few years ago when I learned about it’s health benefits and how simply substituting it for other leafy greens in a salad added fiber and fullness to an otherwise light meal. While keeping calorie counts low, cabbage helps satiate your appetite so you feel full, which helps you maintain healthier eating habits, too. I was hooked!
Although I love to eat cabbage raw, say in salads, slaws or as a taco topping, they say that steaming or sauteing cabbage slightly, helps optimize the absorption of all it’s great nutrients. Well, that’s ok too. I happen to love the traditional Irish dish of potatoes Colcannon which combines mashed potatoes and sauteed cabbage (or kale) together in a crunchy yet creamy dish. As well as braised cabbage to create slight tenderness while amping up the flavor punch.
Cabbage also happens to be inexpensive, and yet it stores beautifully. So don’t fret when you chop up half a head of cabbage only to realize how much volume it produces, while still leaving another half a head leftover. Wrap it up tightly and store it in the fridge for weeks. It will be as crisp and crunchy as ever, even if you just peel back a few of the outer leaves.
When shopping for cabbage, look for heads that feel heavy and dense, with tightly bundled leaves. Don’t buy wimpy-limpy cabbage, in other words. And for those big, round heads, here is a quick photographic demo on how to chop them up.
If you are surprised to hear all this versatility, check out some of our cabbage recipes here and explore this ultra-healthy vegetable yourself one of these days. With an open mind, I have a feeling you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how it can transform not only the texture of your favorite dishes, but the flavor as well.