10 Reasons Cabbage Is Your Best Friend

It's versatile, affordable, delicious — should we go on? Yes we should.

By: Alexis Pisciotta

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Photo by: Con Poulos

Con Poulos

If you approach the cabbage bin at the grocery store with trepidation, we're here to ease your fears about giving it a try. Though cabbage often peaks as a "trendy" ingredient from time to time, we always think of it as a staple. Here's why you should reach for it over a wimpy lettuce or plain ol' cauliflower. It's easy to tire of some ingredients — but we'll never tire of cabbage.

It lasts a long time.

The USDA says that you can store cabbage up to two weeks in the refrigerator. And Farmers keep cabbage heads on their stalks in cold storage up to 3 months during the winter! Cabbage will still be good, raw or cooked, when your spinach and cucumbers are long gone.

It’s packed with nutrients.

Just 1 cup of raw green cabbage contains 85% of your recommended daily value of vitamin K and 54% of the vitamin C you need. It’s a great source of folate and B6 which support metabolism and the nervous system. Plus, it's high in fiber and antioxidants. If that's not a superfood, we're not sure what is.

It’s really so easy to cook.

If the thought of lots of slicing and sauteeing makes you want to lie down, cabbage is here to make you feel better: You can just cut it into wedges, put it in the oven, and forget about it. The edges will crisp up while the inside becomes tender. Try it by making this quick and easy side, Charred Caraway Cabbage (pictured above).

Weeknight Cooking

Photo by: Ryan Dausch

Ryan Dausch

It’s a great low-carb substitute.

Cabbage is high in fiber, so it can be a filling stand-in for carbs. Use blanched cabbage leaves as a wrap for burgers or falafel, cook sliced cabbage in tomato sauce and top with cheese instead of pasta, or try swapping shredded cabbage for rice in fried rice (like you would with cauliflower rice!). Or wrap it around steak like we did in these Thai Steak Cabbage Wraps.

It’s fun to ferment.

Cabbage has wild bacteria on it that lends itself to fermentation. Fermented foods have many health benefits, and they preserve your veggies so you can have crunchy vegetables to eat for a long time. Sauerkraut and Kimchi aren’t the only versions of fermented cabbage out there. Japan’s has garlic, chiles and yuzu in it, China has a version with ginger, and El Salvador adds carrots and oregano to theirs.

It’s versatile.

Does your family love the traditional foods they grew up with? We bet one of th favorite dishes has cabbage in it; many cultures around the globe love it. West Africa stews it with ginger, ground nuts and herbs, the Dominican Republic cooks it in a spicy tomato sauce. Thailand stir fries it with fish sauce and Creole cabbage has ground beef and cheese in it.

Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm
Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin


Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin

Photo by: Antonis Achilleos Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin 917 751 2855

Antonis Achilleos Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin 917 751 2855

It plays nice with other vegetables.

Cabbage’s neutral flavor lends itself well to pairing with other veggies. Cook it until sweet, then mash with potatoes or use up the rest of your leeks with this sautéed leek and cabbage side.

It’s inexpensive.

Ranging from under a dollar to less than two dollars a pound, cabbage is cheap compared to many tender lettuces and some of its brassica cousins like Brussels sprouts. A little goes a long way, so you get a lot of bang for your buck!

Green bites on a green plate


Green bites on a green plate

Even your kids will love it.

Cabbage takes on the flavors that you cook with it, and is delicious both crunchy and soft. It’s easy to make something your kids will eat. My kids love it in a colorful tropical slaw with pineapple, carrots, red bell pepper and vinegar. Or sweat it on a low burner until soft and puree into a soup with bacon bits. Or make these kid-sized roll ups stuffed with corned beef and rye bread.

You can even regrow it.

When you soak the stem in water, cabbage roots and regrows. You can eat the regrowth or plant it in the ground. Think of it as food that keeps on giving.

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