Thanks to inflation, the price of lettuce has been creeping up alarmingly over the past few months. At my grocery store, it’s now $3, so I’m done with lettuce for the foreseeable future. It’s a sad situation. I love tossed green salads. What to do?
Cabbage to the rescue. I realize it’s not anything like lettuce. It has a distinctive stronger flavor, more like broccoli, which is a cabbage cousin. Reasons to add cabbage to your shopping list:
- Cabbage is in season
- It’s affordable.
- Cabbage keeps longer than lettuce.
- Unlike lettuce, leftover cabbage salads aren’t wilted and mushy the next day.
- Less waste in general. So much of a head of lettuce can be spoiled before it’s even used.
- Cabbage can be used raw or cooked.
- Several varieties, such as green, red, Savoy, Chinese, Napa
- Cabbage is loaded with nutrients.
Here’s a comparison of romaine lettuce and green cabbage. It’s not exactly a fair comparison, since a cup of shredded lettuce weighs less than a cup of chopped cabbage, but you get the picture. The most significant difference is that cabbage is notably higher in vitamin C.
|1 cup chopped||calories||fiber||potassium||vitamin C||folate||RAE* (vit.A)||vitamin K|
|romaine lettuce||8||1 gram||116 mg||2 mg||64 mcg||1220 RAE||48 mcg|
|green cabbage||24||2.8 grams||210 mg||28 mg||72 mcg||270 RAE||62 mcg|
*RAE refers to “retinol activity equivalents“. Foods contain many different substances that can be converted to active vitamin A, from carotenes to retinol. RAE shows how much active vitamin A could be derived from that particular food.
Added health benefit of cabbage: it’s a member of the Brassica family of vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower), which contain unique bioactive compounds linked to reduced cancer risk.
Cabbage has many uses, such as:
- slaw or chopped salad
- added to other salads — vegetable, grain or pasta.
- in soups
- in stir fry or vegetable sautes.
- add to homemade fried rice
- stuffed cabbage leaves
My current favorite easy use is for a quick chopped salad/slaw. It’s crispy and refreshing and keeps well. You don’t need fancy equipment, just a good sharp knife. Experiment by adding other vegetables or even fruit if you like. I added a chopped ripe tomato, which added a new flavor dimension. Pears or diced fresh pineapple are other possibilities.
Crispy Chopped Cabbage Salad
Start with finely sliced cabbage (your choice of variety). Then add other crispy finely chopped or grated vegetables. See the list for optional ingredients.
- 1/4 wedge of cabbage, more or less depending on cabbage size
- 6-8 broccoli flowerets
- 4-6 radishes
- 1/2 sweet pepper
- 1-2 carrots, grated
- 2-3 TB olive oil (or half mayo, half olive oil)
- splash of apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- OPTIONAL: peeled chopped apple, 3 chopped scalliions or 2 TB minced red onion, 3-4 flowerets finely minced cauliflower
- Step 1 Chop/mince/grate all the vegetables and put into a large mixing bowl.
- Step 2 Add the oil/mayo and mix thoroughly.
- Step 3 Add vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.