Monday, 23 May 2011

Cabbage, this month’s vegetable

a majestic looking cabbage

What to make with cabbage, apart from coleslaw? This question came to mind when I decided to introduce The Vegetable of the Month. As I’ve already mentioned here before, I take part in a farmer’s bag scheme from Nina’s school. The only problem is that I can end up with too much of the same thing sitting in my fridge drawer. It’s seasonality at its best. At the moment, it’s cabbage - very much in season and abundant in the bag scheme.

Cabbage is often seen as “boring”. I used to think like that, myself, until I found out that this is an amazing nutrient-dense vegetable. Cabbage is considered the king of the cruciferous family, which also includes broccoli, Brussel sprouts and cauliflower. It has been part of the regular diet in some cancer treatment institutes for many years. This is because the cruciferous family contains more phytochemicals with properties that fight free radicals and prevent its damage than any other vegetable group. Not so boring now, ay. (Read more about cabbage benefits below.)

Since my college years, when I learnt these facts, I have developed a great respect for cabbage and its relatives, and have started to include them in many recipes.
Nutritional aspects aside, I also found out over the years that there are great ways of transforming this, let’s say, not-so-excitingly-tasty vegetable into lovely, quick, and easy dishes. Here is one of them. 

some of the ingredients

shredded cabbage, carrot and a bunch of fresh coriander
Stir fry the vegetables
mash the garlic with ginger and add peanut butter and soya sauce
My noodles with cabbage and peanut butter sauce!

Noodles with cabbage and peanut sauce
Serves 4
A quick and easy nourishing meal.


2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
4 tbsp organic peanut butter
2 tbsp tamari soya sauce
Juice of 2 small limes or 1 big one
A drop of maple syrup or honey
A splash of olive oil
250g buckwheat or rice noodles or wholemeal spaghetti
1 small cabbage, shredded
2 carrots
Furikake seasoning * (optional)
A handful of fresh coriander


Mash 1 garlic clove with the ginger until looks like a paste. Add the peanut butter, the soy sauce, the lime juice and the maple syrup or honey. Add the oil to loosen the sauce. Adjust seasoning to your taste.

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.
In the meantime heat the oil in a wok or in a large frying pan and sautee the remaining garlic for a few seconds, until it releases its aroma. Toss in the shredded cabbage and carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes. 

When the noodles are ready, rinse under water, shake out excess water and add them to the stir-fried vegetables. Add the peanut butter sauce, mix gently and serve with coriander leaves and furikake seasoning.

*Furikare is a Japanese seasoning made of black and white sesame seeds and seaweeds. This is the one I use

Some of the ingredients and their healthy benefits

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea): it moisten the intestines, improves digestion and is often used to treat constipation. Cabbage soup is used to alleviate cough and treat the common cold. Cabbage juice is an excellent remedy to treat stomach ulcers (half cup full drunk three times daily for two weeks). Due to its rich sulphur content, it purifies the blood and help to destroy parasites. It is also known as the beautyfing mineral. Cabbage contains iodine, high levels of calcium, iron and eight times more vitamin C than oranges. The Romans used to drink cabbage juice as a cure for their hangovers. You can use it externally, as a poultice, to alleviate headaches, treat skin eruptions, wounds, varicose veins and arthritis. All hail, cabbage!

Peanut (Arachis hypogaea): actually, it’s not a nut but a legume which is related to pea, chickpea and lentil. It is a food high in protein and plenty of monounsaturated fat. It contains an antioxidant called resveratrol – the same you find in red grapes. Peanuts lubricate the intestines and lower blood pressure. You can add peanuts to vegetable dishes for a bit more protein. Peanuts contain biotin (or vitamin B7, used for treating hair loss), vitamin E (prevents cell damage from free radicals), and folic acid (or vitamin B9, which promotes hormonal health). It also has vitamins B1 (stimulates metabolism and promotes healthy appetite) and B3 (helps to lower high cholesterol). You’ll also find that peanuts contain magnesium (nature’s natural relaxant) and phosphorus (for healthy bones, teeth, muscles and nerves, and for stronger heart muscle).
Caution: Peanuts are often heavily sprayed with chemicals and synthetic fertilizers therefore choose the organic ones as they contain fewer chemical residues. Those suffering from candida/yeast problems; those overweight or treating cancer should avoid this legume as it slows the metabolic rate of the liver. If eaten moderately, it can benefit those with fast metabolism. Peanuts are susceptible to a fungus called aflatoxin - a well known carcinogen. Roasting peanuts is a way to provide protection against aflatoxin and also to increase digestibility. Peanuts are among the foods associated with allergic reactions. When people are allergic to peanuts or other nuts, the allergy tends to be severe.

Carrot: previously mentioned here  

Garlic: previously mentioned here

Ginger:  previously mentioned here

Till next week!

1 comment:

  1. Amei essa indumentária de gala do repolho! Que ideia genial, Margot! eu adoro esse vegetal...imagino agora, com esta receita toda sofisticada, amiga!!! Aqui em Portugal consumimos muito esse repolho "bicudinho" que tens na foto, mas com uma particularidade...este, aqui é chamdo "couve-coração"...repolho é aquele mais achatado, que forma uma bola nais fechada e consistente.
    Obrigada pela receita que tira o repolho dos bastidores e lev~-o pra ribalta!! Beijinhos!!