Don’t just boil cabbage and conjure that aroma of wet, dirty socks. Instead, roast, grill, steam, sauté, microwave, or do it raw. Here’s how. First you have to prepare the cabbage to be cooked.
- Remove the outer leaves and rinse the head under water.
- With the largest knife you have (usually a chef’s knife), cut the head in half through the core. Then cut the halves into quarters.
- Remove the core from each of the quartered wedges, using your knife.
- If you’re not cooking your cabbage in wedges, coarsely chop it to 1/4-inch thick slivers by slicing perpendicular to the cabbage’s lines.
- To sauté (one of our favorite methods) the chopped cabbage, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (canola, corn, avocado, coconut, whatever has a high burn point) in a large skillet on medium-high heat.
- Add the cabbage.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Cook and stir the cabbage until it’s a bit tender yet still a little crisp, usually between five and seven minutes. Season as you like.
Sautéed cabbage is delicious with apples and sausage, it’s great in soup, in a slow cooker, and roasted with potatoes. Experiment with it as a side and as a main dish. Cabbage is filled with fiber, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. At the store, pick a cabbage that is bright with no brown spots or withered leaves, and heavy for its size. You can refrigerate your cabbage for up to five days if it’s sealed, with hardly any spoilage.
The most common variety in American supermarkets, green cabbage is inexpensive and hardy enough to take well to all cooking methods. Red cabbage, not as much. It can turn a funky (in an uncool way) color when cooked, so eat it raw or make sure to add an acidic element, like lemon juice or vinegar, when cooking it. Savoy can be treated like green cabbage, bok choy is great stir-fried, and Napa cabbage is best raw but can be lightly stir-fried.
If you’re eating your cabbage raw, like in coleslaw, try salting the shredded cabbage and letting it sit for an hour. Then squeeze out the liquid. You’ll have a less soggy end result. Try some a few of our cabbage recipes, a select five of our dozens of cabbage recipes on Chowhound:
1. Slow-Cooked Stuffed Cabbage (Cabbage Rolls)
Cabbage stuffed with meat, rice, and spices is a great wintry comfort food. Also called cabbage rolls, they’re kind of like the dolma, or stuffed, rolled grape leaves in Greek, Baltic, Middle Eastern, and Russian cuisine. It’s also a traditional way to prepare cabbage in Eastern Europe. Get our Slow-Cooked Stuffed Cabbage recipe.
2. Basic Napa Cabbage Kimchi (Kimchee)
Make this at least a week before you want to eat it because kimchi needs time to ferment. Besides a head of Napa, you’ll need daikon radish and Korean red pepper powder, fish sauce, Korean salted shrimp, as well as more widely garnered ingredients such as garlic, ginger, and scallions. Get our Basic Napa Cabbage Kimchi recipe.
3. Kimchi and Shrimp Fried Rice
If you want to learn how to cook fried cabbage, here’s one way: In a kimchi blend, stir-fried with rice and shrimp. Now that you have your kimchi already (see above), make this dish for dinner, especially when you have a bunch of leftover rice from another meal. It’s quick enough to be a convenient weeknight meal. Get our Kimchi and Shrimp Fried Rice recipe.
4. Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon
How to cook cabbage with bacon? It’s important to know. Anything with bacon is better, true. But there are onions and mustard in this take on braised cabbage. You don’t even have to use red cabbage. Any cabbage variety will do just fine. And you can even do it without the bacon (gasp!) if you want a vegetarian version. Get our Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon recipe.
5. Chicken Larb Cabbage Cups with Sriracha, Lime, and Green Beans
Think of this dish as a low-carb taco of sorts, although it’s a traditional Thai recipe. Remember lettuce wraps? Well, these are green cabbage wraps with ground chicken inside, and all sorts of other goodies, like mint cilantro, lime, fish sauce, green beans, and Sriracha plus a minced Thai chile for some heat. Get our Chicken Larb Cabbage Cups with Sriracha, Lime, and Green Beans recipe.
— Head Photo: Chowhound’s Easy Coleslaw recipe.
Amy Sowder is the assistant editor at Chowhound in New York City. She loves cheesy things, especially toasties and puns. She’s trying to like mushrooms. Her running habit is the excuse for her gelato passion. Or is it the other way around? Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and her blog, What Do I Eat Now. Learn more at AmySowder.com.