I’ve been on a cabbage kick lately, partly because it’s winter and cabbages still abound, fresh and tasty, but also because of this inspirational quote from Johnny Bowden, a nutritionist, who claims that cabbage is “the most important [vegetable] in the world from the point of view of nutritional benefits and cancer-fighting ability.” For more healthy benefits of cabbage see below and explore here. This recipe comes from Martha Rose Shulman’s Eating for Health column for The New York Times.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, half of it chopped, half sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 lb lentils
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 dried red chile
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 oz waxy potatoes, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
- 1 1/2 lbs green cabbage (1 medium head), cut into 3/4 inch wide ribbons
- 1 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Freshly grated Parmesan (optional)
- Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the chopped half of the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender (about 5 minutes).
- Add 2 of the garlic cloves and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds to a minute.
- Add the lentils, water, chile, and bay leaf, and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add 1 tsp salt and the potatoes. Continue to simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils and potatoes are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- While the lentils are simmering…
- In a wide skillet heat the remaining olive oil over medium and add the sliced onion. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes.
- Add 1/2 tsp salt and the remaining garlic. Stir and cook about 1 minute.
- Add the cabbage and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until the cabbage begins to wilt.
- Add 1/4 cup water, lower the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the cabbage is tender and sweet, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve: spread the cabbage over the bottom of the pan, top with lentils and potatoes, sprinkle with parsley (Parmesan optional), and serve in soup bowls.
- Cabbage protects the body from cancer-causing free radicals and helps metabolize estrogens.
- Cabbage is also an excellent source of vitamins K and C and a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, folate, manganese, and Omega 3 fatty acids.
- Lentils are high in fiber and protein-rich.
- Lentils are an excllent source of manganese, iron, phosphorous, copper, vitamin B1, potassium, and molybdenum (a mineral important in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and iron.
Source: Martha Rose Shulman, The New York Times, Recipes for Health
This is now a go-to recipe. It’s quick, easy, and (a very big plus in my book) it reheats really well. You can make it as a light meal or a side dish and my husband is always after me to add a little meat to it (bacon or ham would probably pair beautifully). The cabbage offers a sweetness, the potatoes provide texture, the entire plate is insanely healthy (we’re talking nothing but beans and veggies here with 4 ounces of white potato), it’s just a great dish. That said, I have yet to make it look even relatively appetizing. Heidi Swanson uses a photo of it on the cover of her book, Super Natural Every Day, but mine always looks bleached out, a tad crispy brown, and rather unappealing. Don’t serve it to anyone who will judge their food before they taste it.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 oz potato, unpeeled, cut into tiny cubes
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 can white beans, rinsed
- 3 cups cabbage, shredded
- salt, sprinkle liberally at appropriate intervals
- [optional] Parmesan cheese on top
- Heat the olive oil in a large skilled over medium-high heat.
- Add the potatoes and a pinch of salt. Toss, cover, and cook until the potatoes are cooked through, 5 – 8 minutes.
- Stir in the shallots and beans. Let the beans brown a bit in a single layer without tossing too frequently. Toss, brown, repeat; this takes a few minutes.
- Add the cabbage and cook for another minute or so. Done!
True confession: I haven’t actually cooked this dish yet. It’s (another) snowy day here in New York and I want to try something new, but writing out a recipe helps me once I start chopping and cursing (err, I mean cooking), so I thought I would organize it here first. I’ll follow up with feedback on my level of success. The plan is for the pilaf to accompany a well-tested roast pork with dry rub.
UPDATE: Both my husband and I ate this pilaf and we both had seconds. That said, I’m not sure I would cook it again. The pickling spice was a bit intense for both of us, but perhaps that could be countered by adding a bit less.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- a small leek, chopped
- 1 cup cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup bulgur
- salt and pepper
- 2 1/4 cups vegetable stock or water
- 2 tsp ground pickling spice (see below)
- a squeeze of lemon
- a dash of Worcestershire Sauce
- Heat the oil in a medium skillet, then add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cabbage and bulgur and cook, stirring, until coated with oil.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper, add the pickling spice, and the pre-heated stock. Be sure that the stock is boiling.
- Turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let sit until the bulgur is tender, about 15 minutes.
- Adjust season. Sprinkle with lemon juice and Worcestershire Sauce. Serve.
Pickling Spice (for 1/2 a cup)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 bay leaves
- 1/2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1/8 cup mustard seeds
- 1 Tbsp allspice berries
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
- 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cardamom seeds
- 1 Tbsp dill seeds
- Break the cinnamon stick and bay leaves into pieces.
- Roughly chop all the other ingredients, leaving most of the seeds whole.
- Stir to combine the spices and store in a tightly sealed container for several months.