Creating with Cabbage


Cabbage, a big head of cruciferous yumminess, just waiting for you to get into the cooking creative flow. How many dishes do you make with cabbage by thinking outside of the usual veggie box of options: slaws, sauerkraut, borscht soups, and cabbage rolls?

What is in cabbage that makes it so conducive to health and well-being? Let’s take a peek into the inner workings of cabbage before we go on to explore yummy ways of creating something different.

Cabbage is a brassica veggie and eaten in almost every country and culture of the world. It’s history, in written history awareness, dates back at least 4000 years. The Romans recommended it for hang-overs. I am visualizing a wild toga party with cabbage juice served in the AM.

Cabbage became popular as it has high yields, grows well in cooler climates (head varieties), and stores well in cool cellars. This made it easy for cabbage to become a staple in cooler climate for winter survival.

It is high in water content, 90%, and in fiber… think intestinal cleansing and keeping the digestive wastes moving efficiently and effectively. Cabbage is not particularly high in protein or fat. These attributes are probably why it got caught up in the cabbage soup diets of the 70s and beyond.

Cabbage does have mentionable amounts of Vitamin A, B-complex, and C as well as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Keep in mind, for some nutrients to be present in foods, they have to be strongly present in the soil grown in. Here’s my segway into saying that soil cared for organically will be higher in nutrients and therefor the food grown there will also be higher in nutrients. Yes, this is proven info but let’s get back to the virtues of cabbage. Red cabbage has more vitamin C in case you were curious. Many of the nutrients are more available when raw, think sauerkraut and slaw, while some of cabbage’s nutritional virtues shine brighter with cooking. Heat makes some nutrients more bioavailable.

A joke in my family, because my kids think I am nuts, is chopped veggies are losing their nutrients to the air. I am a huge advocate of cutting up veggies just prior to eating them. Yes, that means no pre-packaged chopped veggies. Every cut edge is an avenue for water soluble vitamins to move on out. When we chew food well, we make the digestive process easier as there is more exposed surface area. Same idea here but let’s get back to cabbage…

Hey, did you know that wild cabbages grow in England and the Mediterranean area? Imagine hiking along and out pops a cabbage path.

Cabbage is a cooling veggie in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and it is used to have an impact on inflammation and conditions of overheating and dryness (think dry throat). In Vedic medicine it is used to balance Pitta and Kapha. In TCM it is used to nourish the spleen and pancreas. Cabbage regulates the digestive tract from constipation and the fiber also helps balance gut microbial health.

In Traditional Herbal Medicine, cabbage is used as a blood purifier, to remove parasites, and to eliminate intestinal yeast (my comment above about gut microbial balance fits in here). Cabbage is a source of many phytonutrients known to deter cancer cells. John Heinerman, James Green, and Dr. Christopher, all respected Herbal Practitioners in their time here on Earth, promoted cabbage to prevent and work to heal cancers.

Other traditionally known uses of cabbage are: lowering cholesterol, regulating healthy blood pressure, healing ulcers, protection against radiation, and *relieving aches and pains. Cabbage supports alkalizing the body, is antimicrobial to bacteria and viruses, boosts the immune system, and its cleansing effects on the blood support its use in healing skin conditions such as acne.

*In the aches and pains category:  I have used leaves of cabbage, Herbal Medicine here, as a treatment for back pain. The leaves are ironed with a hot flat iron and immediately placed on the back and covered with towels to keep the warmth in. Remove when leaves cool a bit, re-iron to heat up, and replace on the back.

Quick ideas for eating more cabbage:

  • Thin slice and stir fry quickly to enjoy with breakfast bacon and eggs
  • Thin slice and stir fry and add to mashed potatoes or use as a base for the pile of buttery, mashed potatoes on your plate
  • Same idea but add to rice
  • Add it raw or quickly stir fried to sandwiches not normally associated with cabbage
  • Eat it raw, with other grated Winter veggies with fun homemade dressings: oil & vinegar Italian, Spiced Tahini or Peanut Butter, Sour cream versions, or try making a horseradish vinaigrette.
  • Asian noodles (see recipe here) with stir fried or raw strips depending on your likes and what you are doing with the noodle dish, yeah – yeah, I know, you are planning on eating it.
  • Add grated, cooked or raw, to tacos
  • Add to curries
  • Grate very fine and add to bread recipes
  • Add to tomato fennel soup (find recipe here)

Cabbage Au Gratin:

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrot (cheese grater works well)
  • ½ cup chopped green onions or bulb onion of choice, if your bulb onion provided more than ½ cup… just use it all
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • ½ cup shredded cheese of choice
  • 1 – 2 eggs depending on size, if small eggs use 2

  1. Sauté veggies in butter or olive oil, quickly to just tenderize
  2. Add sautéed veggies to baking casserole dish and stir in pressed garlic
  3. In separate bowl, beat egg into milk and stir in cheese
  4. Add to casserole and blend evenly
  5. Sprinkle top with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  6. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes
  7. Top with chopped fresh parsley, oregano, rosemary, cilantro… any of the above OR all of the above. Be creative, dig in, & enjoy.

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