You might just think of cabbage as a sidekick for corned beef or the main ingredient in coleslaw, but it's much more versatile. You can eat it raw in a chopped salad. You can saute, boil, or steam it, alone or with other vegetables. And for something really different, you can even roast cabbage "steaks"!
This humble vegetable is a nutritional powerhouse. Not only is it chock-full of vitamin C and other nutrients. It’s also free of fat and cholesterol while being very low in sodium and calories.
Cabbage may look like a head of iceberg lettuce, but it’s actually in the same family as broccoli and cauliflower. And like them, it’s sturdy enough to hold up to cooking, with a mild taste that lends itself to a variety of cuisines.
What to look for when buying cabbage
Did you know that there are more than 400 varieties of cabbage? The most common one you’ll find in the produce aisle is green cabbage.
Choose cabbage heads that are heavy for their size, with tightly packed leaves.
An uncut head of cabbage will stay good in the fridge for a week or longer if it’s in a sealed plastic bag. Like most vegetables, though, the sooner you eat it, the more nutritious it will be.
Ready, set, cook!
Try one of these tasty ideas to get your cabbage fix:
- Give corned beef and cabbage a makeover. For a healthier take on this traditional dish, swap the proportions to put cabbage front and center. Mix shredded cabbage and grated carrots with a bit of salt and sugar. Let that mixture sit for 30 minutes and drain. Then, add a dash of vinegar, and sprinkle diced corned beef on top.
- Take a crack at colcannon. Combine cooked cabbage, potatoes, and onions into a mash. Shape the mixture into patties and brown them in the oven for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.
- Build a better Reuben. To make this sandwich a healthier choice, use low-fat Thousand Island dressing, reduced-fat Swiss cheese, and deli slices of turkey instead of corned beef.
- Go for slow-cooked goodness. Up your hamburger game by topping it with slow-cooked cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and light mayo.
- Leave the Emerald Isle behind. Cabbage’s naturally mild taste makes it a welcome addition to any Asian stir-fry. Or, try a variety of Chinese cabbage in these Asian-style chicken wraps.
One last tip: If cabbage tastes a little bitter to you, try adding a splash of vinegar or lemon juice. You can also bake or roast cabbage for a sweeter flavor.
Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Produce for Better Health Foundation
National Nutrition Month® is an annual campaign by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.