It may not be the most popular vegetable, but it definitely is one of the healthiest. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable in the same family as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, arugula, bok choy, collard greens, horseradish, kale, rutabaga, turnips, and wasabi.
Cruciferous vegetables belong to the Brassica genus of plants.
They are part of the dark-green and “other vegetables” subgroups and provide a variety of essential nutrients and are high in fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Research has shown that eating a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables may have a protective affect against some cancers.
While there are hundreds of cabbage varieties produced throughout the world, the most common grown in the United States are green, red, and savoy. Cabbage is very low in calories and provides folate, fiber, potassium, and vitamins A and C, which makes it a healthy addition to many meals. It is most famous as the major ingredient in coleslaw, Reuben sandwiches, corned beef and cabbage, and sauerkraut. However, there are so many more ways to enjoy cabbage. It can be boiled, steamed, stuffed, or stir-fried; added to soups, stews, sandwiches, wraps, and salads; and as side and main dishes.
Choose heads with tight leaves that are heavy for their size. It will stay fresh for up to 7 days in the refrigerator. Remove the thick fibrous outer leaves and rinse under cool tap water to remove any surface residue before cutting and eating. Click here for more information about cabbage from the USDA Household Fact Sheet series.
If you are a fan of coleslaw but don’t want all the added sugar and sodium of pre-made, packaged types, then try the recipe below for confetti slaw.
¼ large head green cabbage (can combine green and red)
2 medium carrots
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup dry roasted peanuts (unsalted)
1 tablespoon yogurt
½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1. Slice and cut cabbage into thin strips. Place in a large mixing bowl.
2. Peel and grate carrots. Add to mixing bowl.
3. Add raisins and peanuts to mixing bowl.
4. Mix all ingredients together.
5. Combine yogurt and orange juice in a small bowl.
6. Add yogurt mixture to cabbage mixture, stirring to combine ingredients.
Yield: 8 – ½ cup servings
Nutrition per 68 calorie serving: 3 grams fat; 10 grams carbohydrate; 3 grams protein; 2 grams fiber; 41 milligrams sodium; and 201 mg potassium.
Recipe Source: Cornell Cooperative Extension, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cooking Up Fun – A Pyramid of Snacks. Click here to access this recipe.