I mean, it’s not like I stepped in to the supermarket with a whole blog post dedicated to cabbage in mind. It just…. kinda… happened?
As I was swooping down the veg aisle to load the trolley with my usual leafy picks (that’s organic kale, spinach, watercress), I saw that they had, in fact, sold out of pretty much everything that was on my mental shopping list. Ugh! I know, I know… The utter liberty of it, right? So in times of out of stock greens, a girl’s just gotta do what a girl’s gotta do: Compromise.
Just as I got to the end of the aisle, I saw a fresh batch of organic seasonal cabbages being loaded on to the shelf – so I picked one up, gave a little shrug and thought ‘Meh, I guess it’ll do… Just for tonight’.
You see, I’ve never been a fan of cabbage (like, at all) – purely because I just cannot get past the not-so-appealing image of the infamous cabbage soup diet out of my head: A sad, tasteless and down right boring way of ‘detoxing’ the body after a perhaps over indulgent phase that’s been used by desperate dieters for decades. Jeez, even my old Gramps was a fan of making the vile concoction whenever he needed to lose a few pounds as instructed by the docs – and that pungent smell whenever I walked in to his kitchen is still firmly haunting me in my memory to this very day. Thanks for that, Big G. *Shudders*
Anyways, I got home and began with the cooking. Before long I realised how much you can do with just the one cabbage. Let’s just say that considering it only set me back by a little over a quid – I definitely got my moneys worth!
I also realised how good it can taste. Really! Each of these recipes are packed with flavour and you don’t need any major cooking experience behind you or fancy shmancy ingredients to make them – which makes them the ideal contenders for those speedy week night wonders.
I think that it’s real easy to get stuck in a rut for quick but healthful dinners or decent working day lunches – so I’ve been trying to experiment with sexed up side dishes that will make sweet love to whatever protein I choose on the day. The 3 recipes I’m about to share with you are definitely not boring, and a total world away from the cabbage soup you may also associate with this adorably humble leafy green. Nope, these bad boys are loaded with ALL the lip smacking flavours to bring your bowl to life and serve you just as good as leftovers in the following days. Trust!
The beauty of cabbage is that it’s kinda like a blank canvas ready for you to pimp it up however you want. You can simply roast it, LIGHTLY(!) steam it, sauteé it in fragrant oil and SPICE it with all you got. The only rule? Don’t be afraid to just go for it. No overcooked, bland and cold cabbage allowed in your kitchen, ‘iiiite?
I’m pretty sure I could have gone on and made a whole menu using just cabbage (there’s something I never thought I’d say!), but the first three I made were pretty strong contenders… Ya know, if I say so myself. 😉
INDIAN SPICED WARM CABBAGE + PEA SLAW
Aesthetic wise, this is probably the least appealing to the eye. But let me let you in on a little secret… A lot of the less ‘photogenic’ foods are also coincidentally the most tasty. So don’t judge a dish by it’s ability to ramp up the Instagram likes… This is a winner and so damn easy to make!
To serve 2 generously:
1/4 cabbage, shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp avocado, olive or coconut oil
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 handful fresh peas
Salt and pepper
Wash the cabbage and lightly steam for a few minutes until slightly tender. Heat the oil in a pan and sautee the garlic in a pan for a minute before adding in the fennel and cumin seeds, turmeric and salt. Throw in the steamed cabbage and sautee for a few minutes to allow the flavours to come out. Just before you serve, add in the peas, the lemon and season to taste. Once the peas are defrosted, you’re all set!
ROASTED CABBAGE WEDGES
Oh my, oh my, OH MY! Why had it taken me this long to discover the revelation that is roast cabbage? This reminded me a lot of roasted sprouts (probs because sprouts are a member of the cabbage family… Duh), but with a little more ‘pow pow’ drama. These are a show stopping but oh so simple side dish that you can prep in a matter of a minute and serve up nice and hot. The result? A crispy edge, a tender centre and one hell of a way to use up that last half of the cabbage in your fridge.
To serve 2:
1 tbsp avocado or olive oil
salt and pepper
Just cut the cabbage in to wedges, place on a lined baking tray, drizzle with oil, season and roast in the oven for half an hour (or until nice and golden) at 160 degrees. Serves up!
CABBAGE WRAPS WITH TAHINI SAUCE
The outer leaves of cabbage are unquestionably the most beautiful. They don’t want you to change them too much, and quite rightly – they’re kinda perfectly elegant just the way they are. Here you can steam them lightly and stuff them with crunchy carrots for an insanely flavourful snack or starter. And that tahini sauce? One word: DREAMY!
Makes 3 wraps:
3 large cabbage leaves
3 carrot sticks
1 heaped tsp tahini
1 tsp tamari
Sesame seeds, to sprinkle
Wash the leaves and steam for just a few minutes until slightly softened. Chop up the carrot sticks and place inside the leaves before wrapping up. Make the dressing by combining the tahini, lemon juice and tamari in a small glass and drizzling on top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and you’re GOOD. TO. GO!
So, yah.. There we haves it.
If your perception of cabbage was similar to mine before reading this post (in other words, you shared those similar cabbage soup nightmares, in which case I hope you can one day recover) then I sure hope I may have helped to take away some of that hate and replaced it with a little love, hope for the cabbage and some new side dish inspiration. Remember, it’s all in the way you prep it!
Go ahead and let me know if you end up trying any of these – and also if you end up making something new yourself. Cabbages are in season right now and tasting better than ever… So enjoy them while they’re coming in HOT.