Red or green, Napa or Savoy, raw or cooked, pickled or fermented. However you slice or dice this cruciferous vegetable, chew on this: Cabbage contains loads of fibre, is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C and vitamin B6, and is a very good source of manganese, potassium, folate and copper, while also providing cholesterol-lowering and digestive health-supporting benefits. Plus, it can be pretty tasty too.
Healthy, budget friendly, easy to store and available year-round, versatile cabbage should be kept cold in a perforated plastic bag stored in the vegetable crisper drawer of the refrigerator or in a cold cellar. At the market or grocery store, choose whole cabbage heads (rather than pre-cut) that are heavy and dense, with tight, crisp leaves that are from free of cracks or blemishes.
Savoy and Napa cabbage will last at least a week, while green or red cabbage can keep for months under the right conditions. Once cut, cabbage quickly begins to lose its vitamin C content, so plan accordingly.
From slaw to sauerkraut and cabbage rolls to kimchi, read on to find your new favourite ways to cozy up to cabbage.
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This traditional one-pot dish finds corned beef or brisket simmered with chunks of carrots, celery, onions, and green or Savoy cabbage, along with fresh herbs and seasonings. Braised until tender, slice meat and serve with vegetables and some of the cooking liquid, along with boiled new potatoes tossed in butter and parsley … and plenty of grainy mustard.
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As a savoury side dish, braised cabbage pairs perfectly with rich cuts of meat like duck, mashed potatoes and crisp parsnip chips. To make, fry chopped bacon and onion in a large pot, then stir in sliced green or Savoy cabbage, some caraway seed and white wine. Cook slow and low until wilted. Or, try this apple-infused red cabbage version, Blaukraut German Red Cabbage
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Enjoy cabbage rolls but can’t find the time to make from scratch? While they do make for a wonderful assemble- and freeze-ahead meal, try this weeknight version … in soup form. Brown ground beef in a large pot along with diced onion and garlic, plus seasonings like thyme and ground cloves. Stir in chopped green or Savoy cabbage, sliced carrots and celery, and tomato paste, then add chicken stock (or beef stock) plus the same amount of water – about 8 cups liquid to 1 lb (500 g) of beef. Simmer until vegetables are tender, then stir in a cup or so of cooked white or brown rice (or try cooked quinoa or barley.) Add a splash of lemon juice and check seasonings before ladling into bowls.
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Got 20 minutes? Then you’ve got a unique and tasty side dish to go with everything from roast pork to seared salmon and stir-fried shrimp and scallops to broiled lamb chops. Simply cut a head of Savoy cabbage lengthwise into 8 wedges, leaving core intact, then fit snugly in a large saucepan along with a couple of inches water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and steam until cabbage is tender, about 10 minutes. In the meantime, melt some butter in a skillet; add chopped fresh sage, thyme or rosemary, or a combination of all three. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in finely grated lemon zest. Season to taste, then pour all over cabbage wedges that have been arranged on a platter.
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In picturesque Portugal, Herdade do Esporão
is a world-class winery and education centre
boasting a lovely restaurant on the terrace overlooking vineyards and olive groves. On the lunch menu, elegant little bundles of wilted Savoy cabbage leaves are wrapped around sautéed garden vegetables, and served with crispy fried calamari and a deep, dark red wine and caramelized onion marmalade.
A fantastic party-time appetizer, try crispy fried spring rolls stuffed with a combo of thinly sliced and cooked Napa cabbage, green onion, sweet red pepper, shiitake mushroom, shredded carrot and glass noodles, and served with Thai chili garlic plum sauce for dipping. Don’t want to fry? Instead, brush assembled rolls all over with a combination of sesame oil and vegetable oil, then bake in a hot oven until golden and crisp.
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There’s nothing quite like barbecue served with creamy coleslaw piled right on top. To make coleslaw at home, shred green cabbage, carrot and green onion, then toss with a blend of mayonnaise, vinegar, a touch each of sugar and celery seed. For a vinaigrette-based version, try this Cabbage Slaw
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Coleslaw is conducive to a number of flavour combinations and add-ins. To the aforementioned classic creamy coleslaw base, add dried cranberries and crumbled blue cheese. Or, shredded Cheddar cheese and toasted chopped walnuts. Or, chop and stir a spoonful of canned chipotle in adobo sauce into dressing before tossing, then stir in cooked corn kernels, diced sweet red peppers and cooked black beans. Or, stir a touch of soy sauce and sesame oil into dressing before tossing, then stir in sliced snow peas and crunchy chow mein noodles … you get the idea.
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A hearty, Alsatian one-pot dish best enjoyed in colder months, Choucroute Garnie is based on slow simmered sausages, pork and fermented cabbage, AKA: sauerkraut. Cook a slab of smoked bacon, sliced onions, garlic and carrots in a Dutch oven until softened, then add equal parts dry white wine and water, along with spices, such as caraway seed, juniper berries, cloves and bay leaf. Add a smoked ham hock, about 6 smoked pork sausages (knockwurst or bratwurst work well) and enough drained sauerkraut to cover meat – about 6 to 8 cups for 10 servings. Cover and braise until ham hock is tender, about 3 hours. Slice the meat and serve a bit of everything with boiled potatoes and cornichons or gherkins on the side. For a lightened up weeknight version, try Chicken Sausage with Potatoes & Sauerkraut
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Fiery, garlicky, salty, sour, zesty and piquant, Korean-based kimchi is a fermented vegetable pickle with flavours that embrace all these descriptors, and more. Usually made with cabbage (though turnip, radish and other veggies can replace or accompany), kimchi contains healthy bacteria and probiotics that aid in digestion. A staple at most all Korean meals, versatile kimchi can be added to everything from fried rice to omelettes and dumplings to traditional seafood pancakes, and for more of a fusion cuisine fix, it’s delicious on beef tacos, pizza, hotdogs and grilled cheese. Here are 6 top-notch ideas for topping your fave foods with kimchi
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