Simply Fresh by Julie Wern

This week I am offering up an addendum to Joe’s post about cabbage.  Enjoy!!!

Featured Item—Cabbage

Cabbage, part of the cruciferae family along with broccoli, cauliflower and kale, is we’ll known, but possibly under-appreciated. Cabbage is most familiar as sauerkraut or coleslaw, and maybe even stuffed cabbage rolls and St. Patty’s Day corned beef; but beyond that, many are unsure of how to use it.

Even its health benefits are a bit surprising for something so humble and inexpensive. Red cabbage may have a slight nutritional advantage over green cabbage as a result of its pigmentation. However, both are low calorie, fat free and high in fiber, as well as high in vitamin A, C, K, B6, calcium, magnesium, and folate. Like broccoli and kale, it has high antioxidant properties which means it might have cancer-fighting properties

There will be two new types of cabbage featured at the CSA this week, Caraflex and Alcosa. Caraflex is an interesting cabbage. It is shaped like a cone with a flattish body and pointed end. Like regular green cabbage it is considered great for raw salads, slaws, and cooked dishes. For some reason, the variety and unique shape of this cabbage leads to softer, sweeter inner leaves that have a milder cruciferous flavor than other types of cabbage. Alcosa is a type of Savoy cabbage with deep, blue green leaves and crinkled leaves. It is prized in cooked dishes but can also be eaten raw.

Since I have not yet had the chance to try these varieties myself I found a few recipes on the internet that might be of interest this week.

Lebanese Cabbage Rolls (click here for recipe)

Meat Stuffed Cabbage Cakes (click here for recipe)

Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (click here for recipe)

Penne with Cabbage and Potatoes (click here for recipe)

Spaghetti with Sweet Sausage and Cabbage (click here for recipe)

Caraway Cabbage Chips with Dill Yogurt (click here for recipe)

Raw cabbage is often wonderful in salads, wraps, and on burgers, sloppy joes, pulled pork, reubens, and other meat sandwiches. I always use cabbage mixed with a bit of cilantro, lime juice and green onion as a tasty substitute for lettuce in tacos and burritos. Shredded cabbage also makes a great fresh and crunchy condiment atop chilis, soups, and stews. Of course, it is wonderful in creamy mayonnaise-based or tangy vinaigrette-based coleslaws that can include any number of accompanying vegetables—the combinations are endless!

Another great way to use the smaller cabbages we have seen from the farm is in cabbage wraps. Here, raw cabbage leaves act as “cups” or “wraps” for a filling, usually meat-based. However, it can be difficult to remove whole cabbage leaves from a head to use as the cup. I have found that immersing the head in boiling water for a minute or two will allow you release individual leaves. If you find leaves are tough to get off as you work your way to the center of the head, just keep immersing it in the water and it will release the outermost leaves. I have also heard that heating the head briefly in the microwave works as well. See below for a recipe I love to use for Thai Beef Cabbage rolls.

Of course, fermentation is another a great way to use up raw cabbage. Try lacto-fermenting your own sauerkraut or kimchi. Here is a recipe from the fermentation Guru himself, Sandor Katz  (click here).

As for cooked cabbage, cabbage can be stewed for long periods or can be quick cooked until just crisp tender. While I adore stewed cabbage dishes (see my recipe below), many like it cooked within 5-10 minutes to retain a nice crunch and avoid the release of smelly compounds. Stir-frying is a great medium for cooking cabbage, as is quick braising. However, cabbage is also great in soups and stews and in long simmered meat dishes (like corned beef) where other ingredients help it shine. I particularly love cabbage on pizza and in pasta dishes or frittatas. See below for a great pizza recipe.

For some specific ideas and recipes, take a look at this article that lists 15 ways to use cabbage (click here)

Choose cabbages with tight packed leaves that are heavy for their size. Store unwashed cabbages in plastic in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. They can last for a few weeks. Once cabbage is shredded or cut it begins to lose its nutrient value so it is best not to cut it until you are ready to use it. If you do end up with cut pieces, wrap tightly in plastic and try to use as soon as possible.

According to Janet Chadwick in The Beginner’s Guide to Preserving Food at home, chopped cabbage can be frozen, unblanched, for up to 4-6 months to be used in soups/stews and casseroles. See the following method for freezer coleslaw

(click here)


I came up with this recipe to use up some cherry tomatoes and to serve with an Indian spiced salmon dish. It was easy to whip up in the morning and let cook all day until dinner-time.

Crockpot Curry Braised Cabbage and Tomatoes                                 Serves 4


– 1 small cabbage, shredded

– 2 cups chopped tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes

– 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

– 1 small onion, thinly sliced

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

– 1 teaspoon ghee, butter, or coconut oil

– 1 teaspoon coconut vinegar or vinegar of choice

– 1 teaspoon Palm sugar or brown sugar

– 1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds


Place cabbbage, cherry tomatoes, ginger, onion, salt and curry powder in a crockpot insert. Mix well. Cook on low, stirring every couple of hours, for 6-8 hours or until cabbage is soft and tomatoes have disintegrated, releasing all their juices. Remove from heat and stir in ghee, vinegar, sugar and cumin seeds. Serve.


 This recipe is a light but satisfying summer meal. It was slightly adapted from Cooking Light, October 2011.

Thai Beef Cabbage Cups                                                                 Serves 4


– 2 1/2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

– 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

– 3 garlic cloves, minced

– 4 scallions, sliced

– 2/3 cup shredded carrots

– 1 pound ground sirloin

– 1 tablespoon sugar

– 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

– 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

– 1 tablespoon water

– 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

– 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

– 3 ounces rice stick noodles, cooked

– 8 large cabbage leaves

– 2 tablespoons finely chopped dry roasted peanuts


1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add ginger, garlic, scallions, and carrot; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add beef, cook until browned, about 5 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add noodles and cook a few moments to warm noodles.

2. Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil with sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, water and crushed red pepper. Pour over beef mixture and mix well. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Serve meat mixture in cabbage cups topped with chopped peanuts.


Cabbage adds a lot of style and texture to this classic pizza….

Hawaiian Pizza with Cabbage                                                       Serves 6


– pizza dough or pizza shell

– pizza sauce of your choice

– canadian bacon, roughly chopped

– 1 6 ounce can crushed pineapple, well drained

– leftover Pineapple Braised Cabbage

– 2 cups grated fontina cheese


Prepare pizza dough or shell acccording to your preferred method.

If using dough and you prefer a crispier crust, place all ingredients on crust but the cheese and bake at 500 degrees for about 7 minutes or until crust begins to get golden on bottom and edge. Top evenly with cheese and return to oven for about 5 more minutes to allow cheese to melt and crust to crisp up further.


If you don’t eat pork, try leaving it out. The pineapple chunks and tangy braised cabbage will still taste great together with the Fontina cheese.

2 thoughts on “Simply Fresh by Julie Wern”

  1. Hi Susan,
    You will have some liquid released when you defrost cabbage rolls. My recommendation would be to make the sauce extra thick to counteract that. I know that folks freeze cabbage rolls all the time so it isn’t a disaster!

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