Cabbage Recipes Not Just For St. Patrick's Day

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Heads of cabbage are stacked in a basket prior to being packaged at a farm stand in Dracut, Mass., in July 2010. (Charles Krupa/AP)
Heads of cabbage are stacked in a basket at a farm stand in Dracut, Mass., in July 2010. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Cabbage gets a lot of attention around St. Patrick's Day, but Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst says the leafy vegetable makes for a wonderful meal or side dish any time of year.

In addition to being inexpensive, it's incredibly good for you.

When Kathy got the cabbage assignment, she came up with a whole pile of ideas – everything but boiled:

  1. Sherle’s Stuffed Cabbage
  2. Cabbage Salad with Blue Cheese and Honeyed Walnuts
  3. Cabbage, Pear and Tangerine Salad
  4. Greek-Style Cabbage with Carmelized Onion Dill Crostada
  5. Tangy Coleslaw
  6. Asian-Style Coleslaw

For sauerkraut, Kathy recommends ordering from Morse's Sauerkraut in Maine.

Sauerkraut from Morse's Sauerkraut in North Waldoboro, Maine. (Rachel Rohr/Here & Now)
Sauerkraut from Morse's Sauerkraut in North Waldoboro, Maine. (Rachel Rohr/Here & Now)

____Sherle’s Stuffed Cabbage

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Kathy’s Note: Sama Lawrence, a friend and wonderful cook, shared her mother’s recipe for stuffed cabbage. The sweet flavorings and hamburger filling really appeal to kids. Since the preparation time is a bit longer, you might make it ahead on a Sunday for Monday supper. It is so delicious, it’s worth every minute.

Prep time: 30 to 45 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours

1 larger head of cabbage, preferably pale-green Savoy
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced onions
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes with juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
3 tablespoons uncooked white rice
¼ cup chopped onion
1 egg
3 tablespoons cold water
3 tablespoons honey
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup raisins

Bring a large pot of water (enough to cover cabbage) to a boil. Add the cabbage and blanch for about 5 minutes, until the leaves are soft enough to remove easily. Drain and remove all the leaves. With a small knife, remove the core and discard. Trim the tough outside (the rib) from each leaf to make it soft enough to roll up. Dry the leaves with paper towels and set aside.

In a large heavy-bottomed casserole or Dutch oven, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes (juice and all), breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl mix the meat, rice, chopped onion, egg and water. Season with a couple of pinches salt and pepper, and mix until well blended. Place a generous amount of stuffing (about the size of a large meatball) in the center of each leaf. Tuck in the sides of the leaf and roll it up. Repeat until all the leaves are filled. Place the stuffed leaves seam-side down in a large covered casserole, then cover with simmering tomato sauce. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 ½ hours. (At this point, you can cover with foil and refrigerate up to 24 hours until ready to finish.) Mix together the honey, lemon juice, and raisins and pour over cabbage rolls. Simmer another 30 minutes and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

____Cabbage Salad with Blue Cheese and Honeyed Walnuts

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From "Relax, Company’s Coming!” by Kathy Gunst

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ pound Roquefort or blue cheese, crumbled
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
¾ cup olive oil

Salad Ingredients:
1 medium red cabbage, about 2 ½ pounds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 cup walnut halves
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

In the bottom of a large salad bowl, mix the mustard, salt, and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of the blue cheese and mash to create a paste. Add the ¼ cup vinegar and stir well. Whisk in the oil to create a smooth sauce.

Core the cabbage and cut in half. Cut into very thin slices and place on top of the dressing in the bowl.

In a medium skillet heat the oil and butter over moderate heat. Add the walnuts, salt, and pepper and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Drizzle the honey or maple syrup on top, stir well, and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and place on a piece of wax paper to keep nuts separate.

Sprinkle the honey walnuts and the remaining blue cheese on top of the cabbage. Add the dressing and toss well. If the cabbage is particularly large you may want to moisten it with another tablespoon or two of oil and a tablespoon of vinegar. Taste for seasoning.

Serves 6 to 8.

You could also add:
*1/2 pound bacon or pancetta cooked until crisp and crumbled.
*Thinly sliced pear or apples.
*Half a red cabbage and half a white cabbage.

____Cabbage, Pear and Tangerine Salad

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Kathy’s Note: A fresh, simple salad to welcome spring—serve with crusty warm bread.

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
1 pear, peeled, cored, and cut into quarters
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups red cabbage, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta, goat, or blue cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Juice 2 tangerines
1 tablespoon wine vinegar

In a medium skillet heat the tablespoon of oil over low heat. When hot add the pear slices and cook about 3 minutes on each side, or until just soft. Remove from the heat.

Place the cabbage in a large bowl. Arrange the pear slices around the edges of the salad. Sprinkle the cheese on top.

Make the dressing: in a small bowl, mix the mustard, salt and pepper. Add the tangerine juice and vinegar and mix well. Add the oil and taste for seasoning. Pour over salad or serve on the side.

Serves 4.

____Greek-Style Cabbage with Caramelized Onion Dill Crostada

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Kathy's "Greek-Style Cabbage with Caramelized Onion Dill Crostada." (Kathy Gunst/Here & Now)
Kathy's "Greek-Style Cabbage with Caramelized Onion Dill Crostada." (Kathy Gunst/Here & Now)

Kathy’s Note: This is my twist on a Greek spinach pie. Here you sauté onion and cabbage and mix it with eggs, crumbled feta or goat cheese, dill, parsley and fresh chives. The mixture is placed in the middle of a piece of (store-bought) puff pastry and folded up like a rustic crostada.

One 14 ounce box frozen (prepared) puff pastry
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, very thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 large green cabbage, very thinly sliced, about 7 cups
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
2 eggs
2 ounces feta or goat cheese, crumbled, about 1/ 2 cup
1/3 cup sour cream

Defrost the pastry in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or at room temperature (but as soon as it feels soft place in the refrigerator until ready to roll it out).

In a large skillet heat the oil over low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes, or until a pale brown. Add half the dill, parsley and chives and taste for seasoning. Let cool off the heat.

Meanwhile in a large bowl whisk the eggs. Add the cheese, sour cream, remaining dill, parsley, chives, salt and pepper. Add the cooled cabbage mixture and stir well.

Working on a lightly floured surface, cut the pastry in 4 equal pieces. Roll out each piece in a 7 inch circle or 7 by 7 square. Place one of the pastry squares in the corner of a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Add 1/4 of the cabbage mixture to the center of the pastry and pull the edges of the pastry up, covering almost all the cabbage mixture but leaving a small bit of the center exposed. Press down the edges of the pastry. Repeat with the remaining pastry and cabbage mixture.

Cool the crostadas in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, so the pastry isn’t too soft. The recipe can be made a day ahead of time up to this point. Cover and keep in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 22 to 28 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and slightly puffed.

Serves 4 to 8.

____Tangy Coleslaw

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Kathy’s Note: What makes this slaw unique is the addition of low-fat yogurt, instead of mayonnaise, to create a tangy, creamy sauce for the shredded red and white cabbage, carrots and scallions. The slaw can be made 2 to 3 hours of ahead of time.

1 small red and white cabbage, about 1 pound each, cored and thinly sliced, about 8 cups (or shredded on the largest hole of a cheese grater or the grated attachment of a food processor)
3 carrots, grated
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup plain Greek-style or regular yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
4 scallions, white and green part, finely chopped
2 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large salad bowl, toss the two cabbages. Add the carrots and mix. Add the mustard, yogurt, parsley, scallions and mix. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and toss.

Serves 6.

*Add 1 cup raisins, or sun-dried cranberries.
*Add 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts or almonds
*Add 1/4 cup minced fresh herbs—basil, thyme or chives.
*Add 3 slices crumbled cooked bacon.
*Add 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest.
*Add 1/4 cup olive oil.

____Asian-Style Coleslaw

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Kathy’s Note: Napa cabbage, radicchio, snow peas, sweet red pepper and crunchy peanuts mixed with a ginger-spiked sesame oil dressing give plain old coleslaw a new twist. Look for Napa cabbage for this slaw.

3 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
1/2 head radicchio, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
1 sweet red pepper, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
4 ounces snow peas, stringed, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup shelled peanuts (roasted or unroasted)

2 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons oriental sesame oil
2 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

Combine the cabbage, radicchio, carrot, pepper and peas in large bowl. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Combine vinegar, mustard and ginger in small bowl. Gradually mix in both oils and soy sauce.

Pour dressing and peanuts over salad and toss.

Serves 4 to 6.


  • Kathy Gunst, Here & Now resident chef. She tweets @mainecook.

This segment aired on March 14, 2013.


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