2 Recipes that Give Humble Cabbage Center Stage

Savoy cabbage in the PEAS Farm fields.

Savoy cabbage in the PEAS Farm fields.

Dave Victor is the Farm Director at the PEAS Farm. As cabbage come into season, he shares some thoughts and recipes on the humble cabbage. Dave is no stranger to farming in Missoula, he’s farmed at our River Road Farm, Orchard Gardens Farm, and now the PEAS Farm. He also guides our seed saving program.

If someone were to ask me what my favorite vegetable is, I’d almost always say, “Well, it depends”.  Picking a favorite vegetable is akin to picking a favorite child.  I know this may sound a bit crazy to some of you, but honestly, the point I’m trying to make is that I love all vegetables for the uniqueness they bring to the table.

But if I were to pick one, cabbage ranks at the top of the list as my favorite vegetable and here’s why: it’s a nutrient powerhouse, tastes delicious, is very versatile in the kitchen (think raw, sautéed, roasted, fermented, and boiled), and has a very long storage life.  Come winter, when there is two feet of snow in the valley and temperatures are flittering below freezing, enter the humble cabbage to save the day by bringing in that lively bit of freshness and crunch; it’s easy to taste the summer and sun in every delicious bite.

While cabbage might be a workhorse in the kitchen, I often feel that it goes unrecognized and underappreciated.  Let’s face it, in the kitchen cabbage seems to take on a supporting role rather than as a star of the dish.  However, here are two of my favorite dishes where cabbage takes the stage front and center.

Indian Spiced Cabbage

Green Cabbage.

Green Cabbage.

2lbs green cabbage, shredded

1/3 cup oil

2tsp yellow mustard seeds

2tsp ground turmeric

2tsp ground masala

1tsp salt

½tsp ground cayenne

5 cloves garlic, diced

Heat oil over high heat in large skillet.  When the oil starts to smoke, add mustard seeds and immediately cover with lid.  When the seeds begin to stop popping, carefully add garlic, masala, and turmeric.  Lower heat to medium to prevent burning and cook a minute or two.

Add cabbage, salt, and cayenne and give a stir to coat cabbage in spices and oil.  Cover and cook until cabbage is tender-crisp or completely softened.

Roasted Cabbage Wedges

1 head of cabbage

salt and pepper, to taste

2TBSP oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice cabbage into ½ inch wedges.  Brush oil on both sides and place on baking sheet.  Roast for 17-20 minutes or until caramelized.

Fun facts about cabbage

Same species as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, collards, and kale (Brassica oleracea).  Over time and with traditional breeding and selection techniques, this malleable species has taken on many different forms, shapes, and flavors. 

There are a variety of types available from red and green head cabbages, to savoy cabbage with their emerald-green crinkled leaves and tight head, and napa cabbages with their lime-green elongated oval shaped leaves (think lettuce cabbage). 

Full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help prevent certain cancers. 

Long before refrigeration, sailors relied on the storage ability of head cabbage to provide them with a nutrient-rich food source.  Being high in vitamin C, cabbage played a big role in preventing sailors from getting scurvy.