How to Cook Cabbage the Right Way: Cue Up the Crunch!

How To Cook Cabbage

Learning how to cook cabbage is an essential for all chefs. This cruciferous vegetable is affordable and easy to work with. Cabbage’s crunchy texture and neutral flavor lends itself perfectly to a variety of dishes.

Cabbage Season

Cabbage is readily available year-round but its peak season is late fall through winter. Cabbage ranks fourth on the Environmental Working Group’s Clean Fifteen list so you can skip the organic and buy conventional without the worry of heavy pesticide residue. While there are more than ten varieties of cabbage, red or green cabbage is easily found at most stores.

Cabbage Nutrition

While green cabbage is great for classic dishes and offers its own set of health benefits, red cabbage not only adds vibrancy with its bright purple hue (despite being called red), but other benefits as well. Red cabbage contains anthocyanins which have antioxidant benefits. Green cabbage, on the other hand, is rich in sulfur and vitamin C and has detoxification properties. Both are nutritional and are nearly identical in taste.

How To Select Cabbage

When buying cabbage, look for heads of cabbage with leaves still vibrant and unblemished. It should be firm and without browning or wilting. Cabbage should be stored in the fridge until ready to use.

How To Prepare Cabbage

Before using cabbage, peel off the outermost leaves and then rinse the head of cabbage under water. Shake out the cabbage over the sink and then pat dry. Cut off the stem from the bottom and then cabbage is ready to use.

How To Cook Cabbage

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Raw Cabbage Recipe

1. Raw

Skip the store bought shredded cabbage and make your own to enjoy raw. Simply cut the cabbage in half and then cut each half into thin strips. Use in salads, sauerkraut, or in coleslaw.

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Boiled Cabbage

2. Boil

Boiling cabbage is an easy way to enjoy it without spending extra time in the kitchen. Bring a large pot of water and ½ teaspoon sea salt to boil. Cut the cabbage into quarters (removing the core by slicing each quarter diagonally) if you would like your boiled cabbage wedge style or slice into thick strips.

Add to the boiling water and boil, uncovered, for about ten minutes, until just tender. Drain and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Pro Tip: For added flavor, try boiling the cabbage in vegetable broth.

How To Steam Cabbage

3. Steam

To steam cabbage, add just enough water to a large pot to reach the bottom of a steamer basket. Heat over medium-high heat. Cut cabbage into quarters, cut again diagonally along the core to remove it, and place in the basket. Cover and steam for 10-12 minutes or until fork tender. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other desired seasonings.

Image of braised cabbage via Shutterstock

How To Boil Cabbage

4. Sauté

Cut cabbage into half then slice each half into thick long strips, stopping once you reach the dense core. Chop cabbage strips into smaller pieces by cutting horizontally. Add cabbage to the pan and cook over medium-low heat for 6-8 minutes, until lightly wilted. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Image of cabbage in bowl via Shutterstock

How To Steam Cabbage

5. Fry

This healthy fried cabbage recipe skips the bacon grease in favor of nourishing coconut oil. To fry cabbage, heat a deep skillet with 3 tablespoons coconut oil. Cut cabbage into quarters then, remove the core by slicing the center of each wedge diagonally. Slice each quarter horizontally until you are left with thick strips. Add to the skillet. Fry over medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned at the edges. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Image of cabbage in potvia Shutterstock

How To Cook Cabbage in Crockpot

6. Crockpot

When you cook cabbage in the crockpot, the flavors meld together and you are left with a comforting, warm dish. To make cabbage in a slow cooker, you’ll need two minced garlic cloves, one chopped yellow onion, one head of cabbage, one cup chopped carrots, and one cup low-sodium vegetable broth.

Cut cabbage into quarters then, remove the core by slicing the center of each wedge diagonally. Slice each quarter horizontally until you are left with thick strips. Add all the vegetables to the crockpot. Pour in one cup of vegetable broth. Cook over low heat for about five hours or until cabbage and carrots are tender.

Cabbage Recipes

Now that you know how to cook cabbage, put your skills to the test! These delicious cabbage recipes will transition the staple vegetable from winter through summer.

Image of coleslaw via Shutterstock

Vegan Coleslaw Recipe

Vegan Coleslaw Recipe with a Tahini-Ginger Dressing
This vegan coleslaw is the perfect side to accompany a plate full of barbecued goodness. The tahini-ginger dressing is a yummy vegan alternative to the traditional mayonnaise dressing.

Image via Karissa Bowers

Vegan Sushi Bowl with Cabbage Recipe

Springtime Sushi Bowl
This fresh and healthy sushi bowl is topped with fiber-filled red cabbage which provides a tasty crunch. Plus, the red cabbage adds the perfect touch of vibrancy and antioxidants!

Image via Kate Gavlick

Autumn Glow Salad Recipe

Autumn Glow Salad
This autumn salad with cabbage, pomegranates, and persimmons will truly leave you glowing. It’s chock full of heart healthy nutrition thanks to pomegranates and cabbage.

Image via Kate Gavlick

Spicy Black Bean Tacos with Jicama Mango Slaw

Spicy Black Bean Tacos with Jicama Mango Slaw
These healthy and refreshing tacos will spice up your summer evenings. The cabbage is shredded and melded with mangoes and jicama for a fun twist on traditional slaw.

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Images via Karissa Bowers