The humble cabbage is an economically important plant with European origins.1 While eaten all over the world, it has a reputation of being boring because it’s often used as a simple side dish for gatherings such as backyard barbecues.2 However, ignore it and you’ll miss out on its culinary potential and health benefits.
Different Ways of Cooking Cabbage
Before learning how to cook cabbage, it’s important to first prepare cabbage properly, and that starts from choosing the best cabbage possible. The Spruce Eats recommends that you “look for heads with plenty of outer leaves, and check the bottom to make sure the leaves are not pulling away from the stem.”3
Inspect the leaves to make sure they are fresh and have minimal wilting, and look for those that have tight groupings. Here’s another useful tip: If you’re at a farmers market, ask the producer when the cabbage was harvested — cabbages are sweeter after a frost.4 The next step in cooking cabbage is to prepare it. Better Homes & Gardens has outlined easy-to-follow steps on how to ready the vegetable before cooking:5
- Remove the loose outer leaves and rinse the head with water.
- Slice the head in half, then slice further into quarters.
- Remove the core from the wedges.
- If you want to coarsely chop a wedge, simply slice a wedge perpendicular to the knife and cut into one-fourth-inch pieces.
Now that you know how to prepare cabbage, it’s time for you to cook it. But the question is, what is the best way? The answer depends on what you want, as there are several ways to cook cabbage. These ideas adapted from EatingWell magazine provide several methods you can try at home:6
How to Cook Cabbage on the Stove
- Heat coconut oil in a large pot on medium heat.
- Add quartered cabbage (with the core taken out), stirring occasionally for five minutes until the leaves wilt.
- Add organic chicken or vegetable broth into the pot, with a dash of salt, pepper and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot and lower heat until cabbage becomes tender.
- Add a splash of apple cider vinegar and increase temperature to medium high. Continue to cook until most of the liquid evaporates.
- Place a steamer inside a large pot, then add enough water to fill the bottom of the pan. The water level must not reach the steamer basket.
- Let the water boil, then add cabbage slices to the steamer. Cover the pot until the cabbage is cooked thoroughly, around 10 to 12 minutes.
- In a pan, heat coconut oil over high heat.
- Add chopped cabbage, stirring occasionally for seven to 10 minutes until the leaves wilt.
- Season the cabbage with salt and pepper, then add fennel seeds (optional).
- Fill a large pot with water until it reaches a height of half an inch. Slightly salt the water.
- Bring the water to a boil and add cabbage slices. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn the slices once.
- Remove the water and continue to boil until the remaining liquid evaporates. Add organic grass fed butter and toss the vegetables.