12 Delicious Ways to Cook Cabbage

Can you name ten recipes that feature cabbage that aren’t coleslaw? Many people can’t. It’s not surprising. The humble cabbage is often overlooked in the produce section where it has to compete with more colorful attention-grabbing foods like ruby-red beets or pretty curled greens like kale. But it shouldn’t be. This cruciferous vegetable has a lot of great qualities.

Cabbage is packed with nutrition.†Just one half cup of cabbage contains nearly 50 percent of your daily required dose of vitamin C, and it’s full of vitamin K and anthocyanins that help with mental function and concentration. Looking for a low-fat, high-fiber vegetable? Cabbage is itóit only has 33 calories per cup. It’s also high in sulfur, which is essential for creating the protein keratin that keeps our hair, nails and skin healthy. Plus, it’s brimming with the†cancer-fighting, cholesterol-lowering, ulcer-curing compounds lupeol, sinigrin and sulforaphane.

Related: 9 Surprising Health Benefits of Cabbage

Cabbage is also extremely budget friendly. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cabbage is the second most economical cooked vegetable in terms of the price per edible cup. The low cost in comparison with most other vegetables makes cabbage a nutritional bargain.

Weird cabbage fact: Interestingly, cabbage soup makes a great†acid rain test. Because cabbage soup is an acid-base (pH) indicator, if you add acid it will change color. For acids, it turns pink, and for alkaline (base) it turns blue. It it stays the same it means that the rain is neutral.

Cabbage Varieties

How to cook cabbage - Care2

Green cabbage grows in round heads with smooth, dark to pale green thick outer leaves. It has a crisp and mildly peppery flavor with a slight bitter note. Its sturdy leaves hold up well to cooking and stuffing. And it makes great coleslaw, of course.

vegan cabbage recipes - Care2

Red cabbage is similar to green cabbage in both flavor and the way it grows. It grows in round heads with smooth, dark purple-red thick outer leaves. It has a bit of a tougher texture than green cabbage, but it also has more vitamin C per serving. †It’s perfect for roasting, pickling, fermenting or eaten raw in slaws or salads.

vegan cabbage recipes - Care2

Napa cabbage is an elongated Asian cabbage variety. It has crisp stems and curly greenish yellow leaves. It’s sweeter and softer than either green or red cabbage. It is often used as a filling for dumplings but it is just as delicious raw, drizzled with a little bit of olive oil and lemon juice.

vegan cabbage recipes - Care2

Of all the cabbage varieties there are, Savoy cabbage might just be the most beautiful. The deep green crinkly leaves turn yellow towards the base. It has a mild, earthy flavor making it a perfect accompaniment to stir-fries. It’s also a great choice for fermented foods like kimchi.

vegan cabbage recipes - Care2

It may not look like it, but Bok Choy is part of the cabbage family. Bok Choy develops thick, white watery-crisp stems and pretty, delicate leaves that are deliciously tender. It makes an excellent addition to stir-fries, vegetable side dishes and soups.

How to Buy, Clean and Store Cabbage

Getting the perfect cabbage dish to the table starts with picking out the right cabbage at the market. A head of cabbage should feel heavy and dense for its size. Choose small or medium-sized cabbage heads that are firm with shiny, crisp outer leaves. Be sure to inspect the leaves for damageóavoid ones with cracks, bruises or blemishes. Severe damage on the outside outer leaves suggest damage may be on the inside as well.

Like celery root, don’t wash cabbage when you bring it home from the market. Don’t remove the outer leaves either. The outer leaves of the cabbage will protect the inner more tender ones, which helps with moisture retention. Store unwashed cabbage in the fridge sealed in plastic. It’ll last from three weeks to up to two months when properly stored.

Cleaning and trimming cabbage doesn’t require much skill, but it does require a sharp knife and a cutting board. To clean, pull off the thickest outer leaves and rinse the entire head of cabbage. Next, remove the bottom of the cabbage stem and put the cabbage on the cutting board, flat side down. To remove the core, carefully slice the cabbage into half and then in half again, you’ll end up with four wedges. Remove the core by cutting diagonally across each wedge and discard. Here’s a helpful visual guide on†how to prepare cabbage if you’ve never done it before.

To get the biggest nutritional bang, don’t cut cabbage until just before you need to use it. Cabbage begins to lose its valuable vitamin C content once it’s cut. You’ll want to avoid buying precut cabbage, either halved or shredded, for the same reason. If you do need to store a partial head of cabbage, be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic and place it in the fridge. You should use the remainder within a couple of days.

Ways to Cook Cabbage

Cabbage might not be the first vegetable you think of when you think of amazing vegetable staples, but it should be. From soups to stews, to wraps and rollsówhether it’s roasted, braised, fermented or pickledócabbage is quite versatile. Cabbage even makes a surprisingly delicious addition to juices.

If you’ve never worked with cabbage before, there are a few tips you should know. Slicing cabbage very thin before cooking and letting it sit†for 5-10 minutes helps accentuate its flavor. To keep red cabbage vibrant, only slice it with a stainless steel knife and cook in nonreactive pans (no cast iron or aluminum) with an acid like lemon juice. Keep shredded cabbage fresh and crisp by soaking it in cold water prior to use.

Ready to get cooking? These 12 recipes†will get you inspired!

vegan cabbage recipes - Care2Salty- Sweet Roasted Red Cabbage | Photo: Eve Fox

Is cabbage one of your fridge staples? Do you have a favorite cabbage recipe? Tell me in the comments!†

122 comments

Lisa M
Lisa M2 months ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M2 months ago

Thanks.

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Lindsay K
Lindsay K2 months ago

Thanks for sharing. Helpful info.

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Tanya W
Tanya W5 months ago

Thank you

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Tanya W
Tanya W5 months ago

Only really like the Chinese cabbage wombok

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill8 months ago

thanks

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Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla9 months ago

Love it in soups

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Siyus C
Siyus Copetallus9 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Lisa M
Lisa M10 months ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M10 months ago

Thanks.

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