Cabbage Recipes

Why cabbage? It is a healthy and inexpensive vegetable that’s in season in the fall and winter. It contains polyphenols, cancer-preventive plant nutrients. It’s packed with Vitamins A & C to boost immunity. It helps reduce inflammation and heal stomach ulcers.

Purple Cabbage Soup

You will need:

  • 1 head purple cabbage

  • 1 rutabega

  • 2 yellow onions

  • 3 tablespoons olive, grapeseed or sunflower oil

  • 1 tablespoon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon each: thyme and coriander

  • salt and pepper to taste

Chop onions into thin crescent moons.

Heat oil in the bottom of a soup pot. Add onions, stir briefly with spatula, turn burner down to medium-low, and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add mustard and spices and simmer for 15 more minutes.

Meanwhile, chop rutabega and turnips into small chunks. Chop 1 medium red cabbage into threads, removing the hard inner core.

Add vegetables to the pot and add enough water to cover vegetables. Bring both to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook with the lid on until vegetables are soft.

Purée with a blender or immersion blender.

Enjoy with a dollop of unsweetened yogurt or sour cream.

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Comforting Cabbage and Noodles

This is adapted from a traditional Slovakian recipe, Haluski.

You will need:

  • 1 package wide egg noodles or gluten-free noodles

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 1 yellow onion

  • ½ head green cabbage, chopped (about 5 cups)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the egg noodles according to the package directions (boil until tender) and then drain in a colander.

While the noodles are cooking, thinly slice the onion. Remove any dirty or damaged outer leaves of the cabbage.

Cut the cabbage into wedges, remove the core, then slice thinly.

After draining the noodles, add 1 tablespoon of the butter and the sliced onions to the pot used to cook the noodles. Sauté the onions over medium heat just until they begin to soften (about 3 minutes). Add the cabbage and continue to cook until the cabbage is tender (5-7 minutes).

Return the drained noodles to the pot with the cabbage and onion. Add the remaining butter and stir until the butter is melted and everything is evenly coated. Season the cabbage and noodles liberally with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Serve warm.

You can scramble an egg and serve that over it to add protein to your meal!

Savory Cabbage Fritters

This is adapted from a traditional Japanese recipe, Okonomiyaki.

You will need:

  • 2 eggs

  • ½ cup water

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or wheat-free tamari

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 4-5 cups shredded green cabbage

  • 1 carrot

  • 3 green onions

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce or sriracha

Cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Thinly slice the cabbage until you have 4-5 cups.

Peel the carrot and shred it using a large-holed cheese grater.

Slice the green onions.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, soy sauce, and sesame oil until smooth. Begin whisking in the flour, ¼ cup at a time, until it forms a thick, smooth batter.

Add the cabbage, carrots, and green onion to the batter and stir until the vegetables are mixed and everything is evenly coated in batter.

Heat ½ tablespoon of oil in a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add ¾ cup of the vegetable and batter mixture. Press it down into the hot skillet to form a circle, about 6 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick. Place a cover on the skillet to hold in the steam, which will help the cabbage soften as it cooks.

Cook the pancake until golden brown on the bottom (about 5 minutes), then flip and cook until golden brown on the second side.

Pile the cooked pancakes on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm until ready to eat. Add more oil to the skillet as needed as you cook the pancakes.

To prepare the spicy mayo, mix together the mayo and hot sauce. Drizzle over each pancake just before serving.

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Stuffed Cabbage Dumplings

By popular demand, here is my version of Holiskes, Galumpkies, or cabbage leaf dumplings, which came through to me from my Polish ancestry. I offer this recipe in tribute to my maternal grandfather, John Witkowski, whose life story and gifts are an inspiration to me.

STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice

  • Sea salt, to taste

  • 1 large head green cabbage, cored

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons red wine or apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon each: ground black pepper, paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, coriander*

  • 2 cups whole peeled tomatoes with juice - if tomatoes cause ulcer or reflux, you can make this "no-mato" sauce recipe

  • 1 pound grass-fed, local ground turkey (substitute cooked kidney beans for vegan recipe)

  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard

  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

  • 1/4 cup raisins or prunes, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt, ground black pepper, cumin, coriander, and paprika

*This Eastern European spice blend has the capacity to dispel the onset of a virus and expedite healing from the cold or flu.

Cook the rice in 1 cup water.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat; add cabbage, and cook, pulling off each outer leaf with tongs as it becomes tender, about 2 minutes per leaf. Transfer leaves to a baking sheet and continue until you have 20 leaves.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat; add onions and carrots, season with wine / vinegar, salt and spices.

Cook until just caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add a bit of water if the vegetables stick to the pan.

Add tomatoes, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, partially covered, until reduced, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a bowl, combine turkey / beans, cooked rice, mustard, flax, raisins / prunes and spices. 

Place 2 spoonfuls of this mixture in center of each cabbage leaf, fold sides over filling, and then roll up. Transfer rolls, seam side down, to a glass baking dish. 

Pour tomato sauce over rolls; bake for 45 minutes. 

Enjoy and be well!

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Chicken and White Bean Stew

As Autumn Equinox comes near, I am gathering the abundance of the harvest and making basil and nettle pesto, elderberry syrup, tomato sauce, and blanched vegetables for the freezer.

The evenings are almost frosting and the mornings are misty and cool.

It feels like time for some warming, comforting soup

A food’s energetic quality is inherent to it. Cooking can modify it, but only to a certain extent. A cooling food like fruit, even when cooked, is still relatively cooling. Ginger or cinnamon can be added to an apple to increase its warming quality, but the fruit’s original cooling effect remains. As we prepare for winter, we can eat warm and warming foods to prevent illness and strengthen ourselves for the colder months to come.

Foods rich in protein and fat have more calories and thus are more warming. Vegetables that grow more slowly are also more warming. For example, cabbage is more warming than lettuce and root vegetables are warmer than peppers or tomatoes.

The fire element is related to heat in the body. Metabolism and circulation depend upon this stimulating quality to transform food and body chemicals into functional substances and circulate them throughout the system. Foods that are hot, both in temperature and spice level, increase metabolism and circulation.

CHICKEN AND WHITE BEAN STEW

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 2 onions, chopped

  • 1/4 pound free-range chicken, boneless (omit for vegetarians)

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 cups purple cabbage, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon each: coriander and cumin

  • ½ teaspoon each: oregano, chili flakes, and salt

  • 2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed, or 4 cups

  • cooked canellini beans

  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

  • Parmesan cheese as garnish if desired

In a soup pot, saute onions for 15 minutes on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown.

Splash with apple cider vinegar.

Add the chicken and saute on medium high heat, stirring constantly with a metal spatula, until chicken is cooked through - about 5 to 10 minutes depending on the cut.

Add the celery, carrots, garlic, cabbage, and spices. Stir well.

Add the other ingredients (except the cheese) and bring to a boil.

Reduce to simmer, cook for 15 minutes, and serve.

Garnish with Parmesan if you like.

Enjoy with sourdough bread or your favorite whole grain.

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Gut Healing Salad

As September makes itself known and we prepare for the wonderful and melancholy decay of autumn, we can make double batches of bright, fresh, colorful dishes and set some aside for the colder months.

Do this with any dish by freezing half of it.

I just did so with quinoa cakes.

Alternately, you can also prepare a vegetable-rich shredded salad and lacto-ferment half of it by placing it in a mason jar and covering it with saltwater brine.

LACTO-FERMENTED SALAD

You will need:

  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped

  • 2 cups Napa or Savoy cabbage, shredded

  • 2 carrots, shredded

  • 1 inch daikon radish, shredded

  • 3 large stalks celery, thinly sliced

Double these quantities and set half aside for fermenting.

I like to use the shredding blades on my food processor to make quick shredded vegetables.

Then, toss with the dressing below and serve over cooked quinoa as a hearty lunch.

For the dressing:

  • 3 teaspoons sunflower or olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons tahini

  • one generous handful cilantro, chopped

  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I like walnuts or almonds)

To ferment the vegetables above, just stuff them into a quart-sized mason jar.

Fill another mason jar with 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons salt.

Pour over vegetables and mash down with a wooden spoon continuously until the veggies generate enough juice to cover themselves.

You can step away from pounding and tend to other tasks in the kitchen, too.

Cover with a cloth and press down once a day for a week.

Then, refrigerate and save for up to 2 months.

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