Despite cabbages involvement in a variety of traditional dishes as well as its many health benefits, it doesnt get the credit it deserves.
Despite cabbage’s instrumental involvement in a variety of traditional European dishes as well as its many health benefits, it just doesn’t get the credit it deserves.
The good, the bad, and the ugly
Dubbed “poor man’s food,” lowly cabbage gets a bad rap for being cheap, stinky, and inducing indigestion. And while we’re not going to complain about cabbage’s affordability, the stinky and upset stomach factors are unfortunate, yet easily addressed.
A pungent odour when cooking cabbage is usually the result of overcooking, so reducing cooking time is key for a smell-free kitchen. Cutting the cabbage thinly and flash boiling it is an excellent way to reduce cooking time. Ensure the water is at a rolling boil before adding the cabbage, so that it begins cooking immediately.
To avoid gassiness that is often associated with eating cabbage, season cabbage with caraway seeds, or chew on a few post-meal, as they are thought to tame tummy troubles. Further, regular supplementation with a high quality probiotic may help to reduce gas and digestive problems caused by a variety of foods and other factors.
Why eat cabbage?
When cooked properly cabbage is actually quite delicious: added to soups or stews, sautéed with caraway seeds, or stuffed with meats and other fillings and rolled up. In addition, it’s quite nutritious. Just one cup of cooked shredded cabbage contains nearly our entire daily recommended intake of vitamin C and more than double the daily requirement of vitamin K. Further, fermented cabbage, as in sauerkraut, is a powerful probiotic, aiding with digestion, immune function, and even cancer protection.
The following recipe was featured in our “Meatless Proteins” article and comes from cookbook author Tosca Reno’s Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook. Serve cabbage rolls with Crunchy Sweet Potato Salad or Sesame Lime Soba Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Snow Peas.
Tofu Cabbage Rolls
1⁄2 red onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (240 mL) carrot, grated 1 rib celery, chopped fine
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 block tofu, medium firm
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) fresh basil, chopped
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) fresh parsley, chopped
3 Tbsp (45 mL) low-sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
4 quarts (3.8 L) water
6 large green or Savoy cabbage leaves (Keep a few extra leaves handy in case any get damaged while cooking.)
In large nonstick skillet sauté onion, garlic, carrot, and celery in olive oil. Crumble tofu into skillet. Add herbs. Cook a few minutes more until heated through. Add soy sauce or tamari and mix well. Remove from heat and set aside.
In medium saucepan bring 4 quarts (3.8 L) water to boil. Place cabbage leaves in boiling water. Reduce heat and let cabbage cook briefly just until it changes colour. Remove from water immediately and run under cold water. Set on paper towel to drain.
Divide tofu mixture among 6 cabbage leaves. Roll cabbage carefully so tofu mixture doesn’t fall out and leaves don’t split. Place cabbage rolls in steamer basket and steam for 10 minutes. If you don’t have a steamer you can use a grill pan to grill the rolls, or bake them in the oven at 350 F (180 C) for 20 minutes. Serve hot.
Each serving contains: 158 calories; 13 g protein; 9 g fat (1 g sat. fat., 0 g trans fat); 9 g carbohydrates; 3 g fibre; 488 mg sodium