Quick and Healthy Cabbage Recipes

Cabbage is king of the cruciferous vegetable family. Sadly, many think of cabbage as an odoriferous and unpleasant vegetable. Cooked cabbage has been wrongfully accused of smelling-up kitchens and hallways everywhere. But don't blame the cabbage, blame the cook. The notorious odor problem is a result of over cooking.

Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Cabbage

There are literally hundred of varieties of cabbage. The most popular varieties in the United States are green cabbage and bok choy. As with broccoli, cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable and may reduce the risk of some forms of cancer including colorectal cancers. Cabbage is also high in beta-carotene, Vitamin C and fiber. Other substantial nutrients in a half cup cooked cabbage include the following.


Nutrition Facts

1/2 cup cooked green cabbage

  • Calories: 16
  • Dietary fiber: 2.9 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3.6 mg
  • Vitamin C: 18.2 mg


Preparation and Serving Cabbage

Cabbage contains isothiocynates that break down into smelly sulfur compounds during cooking. The reaction is even stronger in aluminum pans. The longer the cabbage is cooked the more smelly the compounds become. The solution; a brief cooking time. Cook just until tender and use stainless steel pots and pans.

There is another adverse effect associated with cabbage — gas. Bacteria that live naturally in the intestinal tract degrade the dietary fiber (indigestible carbohydrates) in cabbage, producing gas that some find distressing. In spite of this unpopular side effect, cabbage offers huge benefits that cannot be ignored.

One medium head (2-1/2 pounds) of green cabbage yields 9 cups shredded raw and 7 cups cooked. The top portion of the cabbage head is more tender and shreds easier than the bottom. If it is practical, cut the head horizontal and use the top, raw in salads and slaw and use the bottom half in cooked recipes.

Read more on using, storing, and preserving cabbage from Michigan State University Extension.


Home Preservation

The most popular and successful method of preserving cabbage is pickling. Kimchee and sauerkraut are fermented, pickled products which take days to make. Both are made by immersing shredded cabbage in a salt solution strong enough to kill off pathogens while allowing beneficial bacteria to grow. Follow the instructions precisely. If too little salt is used, the cabbage spoils; too much salt prevents fermentation.


Flavor Enhancements

Cabbage flavor is compatible with many herbs and spices. Steamed cabbage can be seasoned with anise, basil, caraway and celery seeds, dill, mustard, fennel, nutmeg, oregano, black pepper, savory and tarragon.


Cabbage and Leeks