Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pick of the Week: Cabbage

I am so happy that cabbage made Everyday Health's list of the 13 most powerful super foods because it truly is one of my favorite vegetables.It's always part of my noontime mix of greens, along with spinach and arugula, adding just the right amount of crisp snap to my salad.

I decided three weeks ago to begin exploring this list of 13 in my weekly Pick of the Week blog, simply because I am trying to eat better. We've already looked at avocados, apples and blueberries. So far, this list is extraordinary.

Everyday Health chose cabbage because of its nutritional value. It is a member of the Brassica genus, and according to the Web site, of all the members of this family, cabbage is the most impressive.These vegetables, which also include broccoli and bok choy, contain compounds called indoles, which have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer. Want more reasons to eat cabbage? It also stimulates the immune system, kills bacteria and viruses, and is a good blood purifier. And if you eat red cabbage, you'll also get a healthy does of anthocyanins -- the same pigment molecules that make blueberries blue -- which is another powerful antioxidant.

For me, cabbage screams comfort and my mom. Her red cabbage and sauerkraut recipes graced our dinner table at least once a week. Stuffed cabbage rolls and sekule goulash. a pork, sour cream and cabbage concoction, were two meals I would beg her to make. It was the food from her childhood, and she made sure it was the food of mine as well.

When I am feeling really lazy, I buy already shredded cabbage, but recently I stopped that nonsense and cut it up myself. It takes mere minutes, and it has a fresher taste and definitely more crunch. I happen to be a big fan of crunch.

Choose: Like just about every other vegetable, pick it up. You're not looking for a lightweight here, but a cabbage that feels heavy for its size. The color should be a nice bright green or red.

Storing: At home, wrap it in plastic wrap or place in a bag and refrigerate up to a week. I've been known to keep some heads a tad longer with no bad results.

Today's recipe is not one from my childhood, because honestly none of them qualify as healthy. Too much butter, bacon grease, sour cream and sugar. So I chose a recipe I make all the time, quite often for guests, and I've never had any complaints yet.

2 lbs. cabbage, shredded (and yes, you can use already shredded cabbage)
2 carrots, peeled
4 scallions with green tops, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 8-oz. can water chestnuts, drained, rinsed, dried
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
2 Tblsp. light soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup unsweetened rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup orange juice
  • Place already shredded cabbage in bowl, or shred cabbage with thin or medium slicing blade of food processor.
  • Shred carrots with thin or medium slicing blade of food processor.
  • Add carrots, scallions and water chestnuts to cabbage. For longer storage, cover and place in the refrigerator.
  • Dressing: Place garlic and ginger in food processor fitted with metal blade. Mince. Add remaining ingredients; process until blended.
  • Toss dressing into into cabbage mixture. Refrigerate at least one hour.
  • Dressing can be made a day in advance and stored separately until an hour before serving, when it should be mixed with vegetables. Makes 10 servings.


  1. Wow, my mother never made cabbage! She said it smelled too much. But Ed and I love cabbage and I buy it frequently. One of my favorite ways to make it is so simple that I can't believe how easy it is. I shred half a green cabbage. Then I heat some vegetable oil in a wok and add some garlic slices and about a dozen Sichuan peppercorns. I cook them until they brown and flavor the oil. Then I discard the garlic and peppercorns and stirfry the cabbage, sprinkling in some sea salt. YUM-O. Try it sometime. I have done this using dried red chili peppers too. That's good but I prefer the Sichuan peppercorns.

  2. LOVE cabbage - in all its forms, from sauerkrat, to steamed to fresh!
    Of course, my grandmother's old fashioned cole slaw with its cider vinegar/mayo dressing is a favorite of mine, tho it's not something you'd want to have every day (calories & fat!).
    Here's a bit of a different take on your Asian Coleslaw recipe - it's more of a meal as it includes chicken:

    Mandarin Salad

    1/2 C. thawed pineapple or orange juice concentrate
    1/3 c. good rice wine vinegar
    2 T. toasted sesame oil
    1 T. soy sauce
    1/4 t. ground ginger or 1/2 t. fresh minced ginger

    Blend all together and set aside. Refrigerate up to 4 days.

    2 pounded chicken breast halves, sautéed (Pam) & cut into thin strips
    3 C. sliced fresh mushrooms (9 oz.)
    3 C. shredded cabbage (6 oz.)
    1 C. bean sprouts, rinsed
    4 whole scallions, thinly sliced
    2 C. raw snow or sugar snap or combo peas, rinsed and trimmed (4 oz.)
    1 can sliced water chestnuts
    1 large head romaine lettuce, cleaned, dried and torn into bite-size pieces (do NOT cut in strips)

    Combine all.

    Toss salad with dressing and serve.

    (I've cooked the chicken a day before and then stored in in the prepared dressing - just toss all salad ingredients together before serving)

    From: Deb Vis (an old friend of mine.

    Bet this would be good with toasted chow mein noodles on top!