If you had asked me a couple of years ago what my favorite foods were, I doubt the list would have included cabbage. I have to admit I had a bit of prejudice against this crunchy fellow, but after discovering its true tastiness and health benefits, I couldn’t help but change my head on this nutritious vegetable.
Health Benefits of Cabbage:
Cabbage is a low calorie food rolling in antioxidant polyphenols and vitamin C, along with the important clotting agent vitamin K, but this is just the beginning. Although it has been revered for centuries for its anti-inflammatory properties and versatility in food preparation, what has really added to cabbage’s credit in the last decade is its potential as a cancer-fighting food.
Cabbage is part of the Brassica or Cruciferous family of vegetables (Kale, broccoli, collards, etc.) All vegetables in this group contain glucosinolates, which may block the growth of certain types of cancers, and boost cells’ ability to repair DNA. Cabbage has also been used to treat stomach ulcers and other cases of imbalance within the digestive system.
So you can see why including this delicious veggie in your weekly salads, soups and stir-fries is a great idea.
In one cup of chopped and steamed cabbage (33 calories) you receive 91% of your daily recommendation of vitamin K, over 50% of your vitamin C, and around 14% of your fiber needs.
It is also a good source of manganese, B6 (pyridoxine), folate, omega 3 fatty acids, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), calcium, potassium, vitamin A, tryptophan, protein (over 3 grams) and magnesium.
Worried you might get bored with steamed cabbage? Don’t be – There are a million ways to prepare and enjoy this vegetable. I’ll be posting some of my favorite recipes soon! And don’t be fooled by the common green cabbage; there are plenty of varieties to choose from.
A Cabbage for Every Occasion:
Each type of cabbage has its own unique flavor and nutrient profile, but all contain the cancer-fighting glucosinolates and good levels of vitamin C and K.
1. Green Cabbage
This is the most common variety. Pale in color and with tight leaves, it is great for slaws, salads and stir-fries.
Varieties include: Grenadier, Charmant, and January King.
2. Savoy (Curly Cabbage)
Savoy cabbage has looser, crinkled leaves. It is a great addition to your regular green salad, or as the wrapping for a raw burrito.
Varieties: Salarite, Savonarch, Promasa and Wivoy.
3. Napa (Chinese Cabbage)
This popular variety has light green, narrow, crinkled leaves. The leaves are more delicate than those of its green cousin, so they cook much more quickly. It is delicious in salads, curries or just very lightly steamed.
4. Bok Choy
Bok Choy has dark green leaves and white stems and a much different shape than the cabbage you may be used to. Wonderful both raw and cooked, the stems have a sweet flavor when fresh. Other varities: Michihli, Pe-Tsai, Tai-sai, Lei-choi and Pakchoi.
5. Red Cabbage
If I had named this group, I probably would have called them purple rather than red, but don’t let the color deter you. You can use red cabbage in pretty much the same way as the common green variety, and it has a higher lever of protective phytonutrients then its green counterpart. Other varieties of red cabbage: Meteor, Red Rodan, Ruby Ball and Scarlet O’Hara.
6. Brussels Sprouts
Yes, Brussels Sprouts are a variety of cabbage, albeit a tiny one. Perfect for a light steam with a savory sauce. Don’t let their bad reputation among children deter you — they are delish!
Aramé & Cabbage Salad*
2 cups dry aramé
4 cups water
2 cups green cabbage, shredded
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
sea salt or substitute, to taste
1 Tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. tahini, mixed with 3 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1. Rinse aramé and soak in water for at least 15 minutes. Rinse and drain all water.
2. Place soaked aramé in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well and serve.
Optional ~ Add 1/4 sweet onion or scallion, diced.
Look for my next post on Incredibly Delicious cabbage recipes coming soon!
* This recipe (including the photograph) has been reproduced from Incredibly Delicious: Recipes for a New Paradigm by Gentle World, which includes over 500 recipes and all sorts of tips to help make the transition to veganism easy and delicious.