health · recipes

Cabbage- The Cheap And Healthy Super Food Favorite And Bonus Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe


Cabbage isn’t always as popular as its cruciferous cousins kale and broccoli, but it should be. Cabbage is a rockstar vegetable: it’s cheap, versatile and packs a seriously healthy punch. If you’re trying to save money, cabbage is practically a steal at an average of $0.58 per pound for green cabbage (that’s $0.25 per cup!).

You can store red, green and Savoy cabbage in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 10 days. Napa cabbage can be stored for up to 5 days. If cabbage is cut, the edge may dry out and brown. You can simply cut off the discolored area and use the rest.
So why is cabbage a super food?

1. Fights Cancer

Studies suggest that cabbage may help fight breast, lung, colon and other types of cancer. Cabbage contains potent anti-cancer compounds called isothiocyanates—chemicals that amp up the body’s natural detoxification systems. Like all cruciferous vegetables, cabbage contains phytochemicals that can help remove cancerous compounds from the body, scavenge free radicals and increase programmed cell death of cancerous cells, among other functions. Since boiling strips away most of its phytonutrients, I like to sauté, steam and even roast it.

2. Rich in Nutrients

Cabbage delivers fiber and vitamins K and C, all for very few calories. 1 cup of chopped cabbage delivers 54% of the daily value for vitamin C and 2 grams of fiber for only 22 calories. Savoy and red cabbage also boast healthy amounts of beta carotene.

3. Anti-Inflammatory

The vibrant purple hue of red cabbage comes from heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory phytochemicals called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins may also help reduce risk of Parkinson’s disease and improve eyesight.
One of my favorite cabbage recipes is traditional stuffed cabbage rolls. I grew up on these and boy did my mom make some good ones! It’s an easily adjustable recipe to suit your health needs and personal tastes.


  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup short-grain brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 1 large Savoy cabbage (2-3 pounds)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • ½ teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper plus ⅛ teaspoon, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes (see Tips)


  1. To prepare cabbage & filling: Combine water, rice and 1 teaspoon oil in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain the barest simmer, cover and cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is just tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, half fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Line a baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel and place near the stove.
  3. Using a small, sharp knife, remove the core from the bottom of the cabbage. Add the cabbage to the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. As the leaves soften, use tongs to gently remove 8 large outer leaves. Transfer the leaves to the baking sheet and pat with more towels to thoroughly dry. Set aside.
  4. Drain the remaining cabbage in a colander for a few minutes. Finely chop enough to get about 3 cups. (Save any remaining cabbage for another use.)
  5. Heat 1½ tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, sage, rosemary and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper; cook, stirring, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add a little splash of water and cook, stirring, until evaporated, about 3 minutes more. Add the mixture to the cooked rice.
  6. Heat the remaining ½ tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high. Add the chopped cabbage, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring, until the cabbage is wilted and just beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add to the rice mixture.
  7. To prepare sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, 2 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes; bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  9. To stuff cabbage: Place a reserved cabbage leaf on your work surface; cut out the thick stem in the center, keeping the leaf intact. Place about ¾ cup filling in the center. Fold both sides over the filling and roll up. Repeat with the remaining 7 leaves and filling.
  10. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Place the stuffed cabbage rolls, seam side down, on the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
  11. Bake, uncovered, basting twice with the sauce, until hot, about 45 minutes.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 10, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.
  • Sodium amounts vary widely among brands of plum and crushed. And although it can be hard to find any labeled “no-salt-added,” for the best tomato flavor I use brands that have little or no added sodium. Compare nutrition labels and choose one that has 190 mg sodium or less per ½-cup serving.

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