Hearty Cabbage

Cabbage was a last resort in my house growing up. It was almost a green vegetable, so it was hard to convince us kids to eat it. Mom had to chop it up into tiny pieces. It’s cheap compared to other veg, and lasts a long time in the fridge. It’s hearty and filling, and a sponge for seasonings. Many American families bust it out only on St. Patrick’s Day with corned beef, but it has so much more potential! If you get really into cabbage, try kimchi. A staple in Korean cuisine, is a famous traditional side dish of salted and fermented vegetables, such as Napa cabbage and Korean radish.

Cabbage is packed with nutrients and low in calories, high in vitamin K and C, and even has some fiber and protein. And best of all, one head of cabbage goes a long way. In terms of price per edible cup, a report by the Economic Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has shown cabbage to be the second most economical cooked vegetable in terms of price per edible cup. Only potatoes came out slightly less expensive.

In this era of Covid-19, I’ve only grocery shopping once a week. I’m never quite sure what will be on the shelves. But there is always green, red, and Napa cabbage because not many people even know what to do with it. And bonus, I can afford it and use it in a few dishes over a couple of weeks. Enjoy the following two recipes featuring cabbage as the star of the dish. 


Cabbage and meatball soup

Serves 4-6


2 teaspoons olive oil

1 onion finely diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

4 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage

2 carrots peeled, quartered and sliced

4 cups broth

1 24 ounce can crushed tomatoes

18 small frozen meatballs, plain or Italian

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons brown sugar

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons parsley


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the cabbage, carrots, broth, crushed tomatoes, meatballs, bay leaf and brown sugar to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until cabbage is tender. Remove bay leaf and discard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

-adapted from The Wholesome Dish

Coconut curry over cabbage

Serves 4


1/2 head of Napa cabbage (a lengthwise quarter), thinly sliced

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil

8 ounces ground pork, turkey, or chicken (or shredded rotisserie)

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, grated

1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced (leave seeds in if you like spice and remove if you don’t)

1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 poblano pepper, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 15-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

Steamed rice (optional), lime wedges, Greek yogurt, toasted coconut flakes, and cilantro leaves (for serving)


Toss sliced cabbage with a sprinkle of salt in a bowl. Use your hands to massage leaves. Sweat peppers and onions with coconut oil in a deep saute pan or skillet. After 5 minutes, add garlic, ginger, and curry. Stir and cook for a minute. Add ground meat if using and cook until no longer pink. Add coconut milk, stir, and bring to a simmer. Add rotisserie chicken now if using instead of ground meat. Cover and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes or until curry is thickened. Put a layer of rice in a wide shallow bowl (if using). Add a layer of the sliced, salted cabbage. Spoon on the curry mixture. Add toppings and serve.