Cabbage has a bad rep. And unfairly so. Sure, you might know it from coleslaw, slathered on sandwiches or served as a side to pulled pork or fried chicken. But you might also remember the limp, insipid boiled mush served at special occasions or piled on your plate by grandparents. “Eat your greens!” they’d bellow. Yuck. However, cabbage needn’t be like this.
A leafy vegetable from the brassicas family, cabbages can grow up to 4 kilograms in weight. Rich in minerals and vitamins, they also contain lots of fibre and almost no fat, making them extremely healthy. No wonder then they’ve been cultivated for over 4,000 years, and had become a staple of European diets by the time of early Rome.
Cabbage is a vegetable best cooked simply, and without fuss. Sautéing works perfectly – simply shred one small cabbage, add butter and olive oil to a frying pan, and gently brown the cabbage for 15 min. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in half a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar 5 min before the end. Simple, yet delicious, it’s the perfect side dish for roast meats.
For something a little more substantial, fry with onion, garlic, and bacon. Be sure to brown everything nice and gentle, and let the cabbage soak up plenty of those delicious juices – makes for tasty, quick lunch, or a light dinner. Alternatively, braise some cabbage with onion, apple, juniper, caraway seeds, cider, and red wine for a hearty, filling, winter side dish.
It needn’t be eaten on its own, either. Thinly sliced cabbage leaves are great in a stir fry – add them for the last couple of minutes only – and add a crunchy texture and hearty flavour to soups, stews, and one-pots. Again, just be sure to add them add the very end of cooking – any longer and the leaves will go soggy and limp!
Cabbage can be eaten raw too. Take some thinly shredded cabbage and sprinkle over salads, tacos, or open faced sandwiches for a delicious crunchy topping. Or use the leaves whole in place of rice paper for Vietnamese spring rolls, or in place or tortillas for mini tacos or burritos.
For a filling veggie dinner, slow cook whole cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and a selection of your favourite vegetables – carrots, all types of beans, peppers, zucchini, and egg plant work great for this – in the oven. Add a splash of white wine to the pan halfway through for added flavour, aroma, and a touch a decadence!
And, of course, cabbage is perfect for pickling and fermenting! It’s easy to make your own sauerkraut and kimchi, and you can add all sorts of flavours and ingredients. Best of all, you can make large batches and freeze them, meaning you’ll always have some to hand.
Healthy, tasty, and versatile – cabbage really is great. So what are you waiting for? Stick some in your cart today and see for yourself how delicious it can be.