Cabbage makes a crunchy, flavorful salad, as well as a hearty hot side dish. Here are a few tips on how to prepare and cook cabbage.
First, don’t wash cabbage until you are ready to use it. The interior of a tight head of cabbage is nearly always clean, but if you want to rinse it, do so after cutting or chopping the vegetable.
Use a stainless steel (not carbon steel) knife when cutting cabbage. The vegetable’s juices react with carbon steel and will turn the cut edges of green cabbage black, and red cabbage blue. To further preserve its bright color, red cabbage should also be cooked in a nonreactive (i.e., not steel, aluminum, or cast-iron) pot.
- Cabbage wedges: When cutting cabbage into wedges, trim the stem but leave part of the core intact—that will help hold the leaves together. If you want to cut cabbage into smaller pieces, however, quarter and core it.
- Shredded cabbage: To slice or shred cabbage, place a quarter-wedge on the cutting board so that it’s resting on one of its cut-sides. Slice the wedge crosswise, gauging your cuts to produce wide ribbons or fine shreds, as desired.
- Stuffed cabbage: To remove single leaves to make stuffed cabbage, cut the base of each leaf with a sharp knife, then carefully peel the leaf from the head to avoid tearing it. Blanch the leaves until they are limp, about two to three minutes. Allow the leaves to cool. Then shave off the thick part of the central rib from the back of each leaf, or it may cause the leaf to break when you stuff it.
Try these eight recipe ideas to enjoy cabbage hot or cold.
- Toss chopped cabbage with apples, walnuts, raisins, and yogurt for a crunchy variation on Waldorf Salad.
- Add shredded green or red cabbage to stir-fries.
- Cook shredded cabbage with a bit of butter, salt, pepper and two tablespoons of water for a savory side dish.
- Use cabbage leaves as edible cups for serving shredded chicken or beef salad.
- Add fresh cabbage to a vegetable or fish taco for Taco Tuesday.
- Stuff blanched cabbage leaves with a mix of ground turkey, rice, onion, tomato, eggs, thyme, salt and pepper. Top with a spicy tomato sauce and bake.
- Season raw cabbage salads or cooked green cabbage with dillweed or dill seed, caraway seeds, curry powder, or mustard.
- Make a low-fat coleslaw. Shred both red and green cabbage and toss with ingredients such as shredded apple or pear, grated raw carrots, slivered bell peppers, chopped scallions, or chopped nuts. Toss in some caraway, celery seed, ginger, mint, thyme, parsley, or cilantro. For a mayonnaise-style dressing, try replacing mayonnaise with yogurt. Or make a vinaigrette with one part oil to one part vinegar.