All About Cabbage

purple and white chopped cabbage

Cabbage is a healthy and inexpensive vegetable choice. It also tastes great and can be used in many different ways. You can enjoy the spicy taste and crunchy texture of raw cabbage or the sweetness of cooked cabbage. Here are five great ways to have cabbage more often.

Nutritional profile of cabbage

Here are some good reasons to choose cabbage more often.

Try something new

A variety of cabbages grown in Ontario are available all year round in the grocery store. Try these in your favourite dishes.

  • Green cabbages are great for soups and stews.
  • Purple cabbages are used often for pickled dishes and salads.
  • Napa cabbage (also called Chinese cabbage) is light green and has crinkled leaves. It’s great for stir-frying.

Buying local cabbage

You can buy local Ontario cabbage almost all year long. Look for the Foodland Ontario logo or ask your store manager when shopping to know if your cabbage is locally grown. When you buy local food, you support farmers so they can keep producing high quality, affordable food we can all enjoy.

Buy cabbage at it's best

Here are some tips for buying cabbage.

  • Pre-bagged. Cabbage that is already bagged and shredded can save you time but it can also be more expensive. Remember that even if the package says that the cabbage is “pre-washed,” you should rinse it with cold water before eating.  Use by the best before date.
  • Head of cabbage. Choose cabbage that seems firm and heavy for its size, with fresh, crisp-looking leaves that are tightly packed and aren’t wilting or blemished.

Tips for storing cabbage

  • Wrapped tightly in plastic, a head of cabbage will keep for about two weeks in the crisper.
  • Once cut, use cabbage within 2-3 days.
  • Cover and refrigerate cooked cabbage within two hours of cooking and use within 3-5 days.
  • If the cabbage is part of mixed dish like cabbage rolls, store covered in the fridge and use within 3-4 days.
  • Freeze fresh or cooked cabbage in airtight containers or freezer bags for 10-12 months.

Tips for cooking cabbage

  • Remove outer leaves and rinse cabbage well.
  • To keep cabbage fresh, don’t cut it until just before you use it. 
  • To shred cabbage, cut the head into four quarters and cut out the hard stalk in the middle. Cut each quarter into fine shreds.
  • You can microwave, shred, pickle, bake, steam, stir-fry or boil cabbage.

5 things to do with cabbage

1. Basic steamed cabbage

Here’s how to make a basic side dish of steamed cabbage.

  1. In a wide pan, add 2 tbsp (30 mL) each butter or non-hydrogenated margarine and water. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add 5-6 cups (1.25 to 1.5 L) shredded cabbage. Cook for a few minutes. Serves 4.

2. Coleslaw with a twist

Coleslaw is an easy, make-ahead salad with shredded cabbage and a vinaigrette or creamy dressing. The variations are endless. Try these tasty additions to your favourite coleslaw recipe:

  • Add fruit: orange segments, julienned (matchstick size) apple or pear, canned pineapple tidbits, or grape halves.
  • Mix in other vegetable combinations. Try shredded jicama, peppers or beets.
  • For lower-fat creamy coleslaw, replace mayonnaise with low-fat yogurt. 

Coleslaw will keep for about 3 days in an airtight container stored in the fridge. It’s great for packed lunches!

3. Fresh spring rolls

Enjoy tasty restaurant-style “fresh” (not fried) spring rolls at home. Use cabbage leaves as your wrapper or look for egg-roll wrappers in the grocery store freezer section.

1. Prepare the fillings. One quarter-cup of filling is enough for each 22-cm (8 inch) spring roll wrapper. Try a combination of:

  • Shredded cabbage and carrots
  • Leftover meat and alternatives like cooked chicken or tofu, cooked shrimp, sliced omelette
  • Cooked rice noodles tossed with a small amount of rice wine vinegar
  • Herbs like chopped mint, cilantro or basil

2. Add filling to wrappers and fold up like burritos (follow package instructions).  

3. Serve with peanut sauce.

Make-ahead tip: Wrap fresh spring rolls in a dampened paper towel and place in an airtight container for up to 6 hours. Cut in half before serving.


4. Quick veggie-noodle salad

Enjoy this salad in the winter when crispy fresh greens are not in season. It’s also great when you need to feed a large group or use up leftover pasta.

  1. Toss cooked whole-wheat pasta with prepared peanut sauce.
  2. Add broccoli florets, shredded cabbage and carrots.
  3. Add lean protein (tofu, leftover cooked meat, poultry, sliced omelette, and cooked shrimp).
  4. Top with chopped cilantro or green onions.

5. Soup

Chunky vegetable soup is a delicious and satisfying way to warm up on a winter day. It’s also great for using up leftovers. Try diced cabbage in almost any soup recipe.

Try these:

Red Cabbage and Pasta Soup with Beans

Minestrone Soup

Cabbage recipes:

My Grandma’s Beet Soup

Ontario Winter Vegetable Soup

Warm Cabbage and Turkey Salad, Foodland Ontario

Cabbage Rolls, Cookspiration

You may also be interested in:

All about leafy vegetables

Fall Harvest Vegetables

Vegetable and Fruit Challenge: Are you getting enough each day?

Last Update – June 8, 2020

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