Glam up this underrated veggie
Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD
Don't dismiss the lowly cabbage! Our cabbage recipes will open your eyes to its culinary possibilities and make you a cabbage believer.
Compared to other in-vogue leafy vegetables such as kale and tatsoi, cabbage is still awaiting an invitation to the hip-veg party. While it’s true that cabbage needs a new PR team, it’s also true that more of us should think beyond slaw when it comes to these humble and sustaining balls of goodness. When we apply different preparation methods, we take on a new appreciation for what cabbage can offer to mealtime. Sautéed, roasted, simmered, and, yes, even raw, cabbage is remarkably versatile in the kitchen, often with delicious results. Of course, we should not overlook the nutritional virtues of cabbage. It provides us with dietary fibre, antioxidants, and a range of vitamins for very little caloric cost. Also, few vegetables offer more bang for your buck, making these cabbage recipes economical as well as delicious. Put cabbage back on the menu with these seasonal cabbage recipes that tap into its culinary charms.
Clean out the limp lettuce from your crisper and make room for these sturdy giants of the vegetable world.
The dark, reddish-purple leaves ensure this cabbage stands out from its counterparts. Red cabbage has a slightly deeper, earthier flavour and crunchier texture than others.
Red cabbage is also the only common cabbage to boast high levels of anthocyanin antioxidants that may help in the battle against chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Research suggests that these anthocyanins are still present in red cabbage that has been cooked or fermented, although they are highest in raw red cabbage.
This tight-headed standard has a slightly peppery edge when eaten raw but is milder once cooked. It’s often the cabbage of choice when making sauerkraut. Choose heads that are tight and hefty.
Green cabbage’s nutritional claim to fame is the impressive amount of vitamin K it supplies. Research suggests that increasing vitamin K (phylloquinone) intake may offer some protection from developing type 2 diabetes.
Savoy has loose, crinkly leaves that go from dark emerald on the outside to pale green toward the centre of the head—a very fetching brassica indeed. It has a more delicate flavour than green cabbage. Because Savoy leaves are broad and pliable, they work well as wraps. Savoy cabbage doesn’t keep as long as green or red cabbage, but should last up to a week when stored in the refrigerator.
You can count on Savoy as a good source of vitamin C, a nutrient needed for the growth and repair of tissues in the body.
The ruffled, slightly sweet leaves of oval-shaped napa are tender enough to stand in for lettuce in a salad, but also sturdy enough to handle the heat of a stir-fry. This cabbage—also called Chinese cabbage—is the one most often used to make fiery kimchi.
Napa cabbage is a source of folate, a B vitamin linked with lower breast cancer risk.