Lentils and Cabbage: Hearty & Healthy

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)


  1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped half of the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add 2 of the garlic cloves and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds to a minute.
  4. Add the lentils, water, chile, and bay leaf, and bring to a simmer.
  5. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. 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.
  7. While the lentils are simmering…
  8. In a wide skillet heat the remaining olive oil over medium and add the sliced onion.  Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes.
  9. Add 1/2 tsp salt and the remaining garlic.  Stir and cook about 1 minute.
  10. Add the cabbage and turn the heat to medium-high.  Cook, stirring, until the cabbage begins to wilt.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

Nutrition Information

  • 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