I’ve lost track of the times someone’s announce to me: “I could never eat Paleo ‘cause that’s just waaay too much meat.” And I cheerily chirp back, “Great! More for me!”
But in all seriousness, I don’t eat nearly as much meat as people imagine. Sure, I went through a bacon-bingeing phase early on – didn’t we all? – but my everyday meals look pretty much like what you see in the Whole9’s Meal Planning Template. Each meal starts with a palm-sized portions of healthy protein, and then I fill the rest of my plate with vegetables. I’ll even wager that I eat more vegetables than some vegetarians, because let’s face it: some of ’em are just subsisting on hyper-processed faux food. (Quorn™ and Tofurky® don’t count as vegetables in my book.)
If you think veggies are boring, just pick up a cabbage. It may look like a humble vegetable, but there’s a myriad of ways to prepare it.
Plus, the heads are so damn cute. The French adore cabbage so much that a common term of endearment for kiddos is mon petit chou chou or “my little cabbage.”
Then again, we Americans came up with Cabbage Patch Kids, ugly cankled babies that were birthed out of fresh cabbage heads. No wonder so many of us didn’t eat our veggies while growing up in the 1980s. I’m proud to say I never owned one of those monstrosities (unlike someone I know), and happily munch on cabbages with relish.
Wanna see how you can slice and dice a cabbage into something spectacular?
Cabbage is ridiculously versatile: you can pickle it, braise it, stir-fry it, or julienne it for slaw.
It tastes just as wonderful when it’s crunchy and raw in the form of sauerkraut as it does when it’s meltingly tender in a soup or braise.
Cabbage pairs beautifully with any number of rich, fragrant ingredients, like onion, garlic, and mustard. I especially love the combination of cabbage and apple, bacon, and/or vinegar. (If you can get your hands on some Whole30-approved bacon, definitely try the Balsamic Cabbage & Bacon recipe in my iPad® cookbook app!)
Plus, it’s affordable and comes in lots of fun and colorful varieties. I prize Savoy and Napa cabbages for their crinkly leaves and subtle flavors, and red and green cabbage add a wonderful visual contrast to any dish.
It ain’t just looks, though. Cabbage has a pretty impressive ANDI Score of 481 – not as high as kale and collards, but definitely more nutrient-dense than broccoli (376) and cauliflower (295).
Is your stomach rumbling for cabbage now?
Here are 10(!) great recipes that spotlight cabbage:
- World’s Best Braised Cabbage: I posted this recipe in the early days of this blog, and it’s been a favorite ever since. Make this dish, and win over your toughest cabbage critic.
- Chez Panisse Braised Red Cabbage: The combination of sweet apples, tangy vinegar, duck fat, and cabbage is heaven.
- Red Cabbage Slaw with Tangy Carrot Ginger Dressing: A quick side for any protein.
- Health-Bent’s Unrolled Cabbage Casserole: Ingenious.
- Crankin’ Kitchen’s Polish Cabbage Rolls: A perfect weekend dish.
- Diane Sanfilippo’s Sauerkraut: So good (and good for you)!
- Russ Crandall’s Sausage and Sauerkraut (a classic combination!)
- Serious Eats’s Quick Kimchi (Asians love fermented vegetables!)
- Melissa Joulwan’s Paleo Pad Thai: Use cabbage as noodles! (UPDATE: A commenter below noted that Mel’s recipe doesn’t include cabbage; I’d forgotten that my modification – using sautéed julienned cabbage instead of spaghetti squash – wasn’t in her original recipe. The awesome Sunshine Sauce must’ve clouded my memory!)
- Paleo Parents’ Halupki Stirfry: A simple, yummy take on a traditional dish.
Tell me: How you do like your cabbage?
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® and iPhone® app, and in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel, December 2013)!6