The humble cabbage is one of the most underrated vegetables in our western culture. It is more highly regarded in Eastern cuisines. Part of the reason it is not valued is because it has an association with being a poor man’s staple. I think that is what makes it so much more intriguing. It is the foods that the upper classes have historically discarded that are becoming centerpieces on the farm to table menus right now.
The common green or red cabbage is easy to grow, available all year round, and very inexpensive. A head of cabbage will store well for weeks in a root cellar or refrigerator without spoiling. And, its versatility in dishes is vast. Cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked in a variety of ways. I happen to love cabbage and enjoy cooking it on my George Foreman Grill.
Nutritional Value of Cabbage
Fresh cabbage is extremely low in calories and has zero cholesterol. It is also a great source of dietary fiber. You won’t out on weight eating cabbage. In fact, the once popular Scarsdale Diet consisted of eating cabbage almost daily to assist in weight loss.
This cruciferous vegetable is loaded with antioxidants to help protect us from diseases. It is also a good source of the B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Vitamin K plays an important role in brain and bone health.
Cabbage is rich in minerals, especially manganese and iron. Manganese helps the body to create enzymes for building strong bones. Iron supports blood cell formation.
Most of us associate cabbage with three preparations: coleslaw, sauerkraut, and the traditional St. Patrick’s Day boiled cabbage with corned beef and potatoes. In Japan, cabbage is the base for a popular pancake or “pizza” called okonomiyaki. Cabbage is also a main ingredient in stir fries and used to make kimchi. It is terrific stuffed and baked, or used in gratins, soups, stews, and flatbreads.
But, the way I like cabbage the best is grilled. The outer leaves get charred and crispy, while the center becomes tender and buttery. While cabbage does have a strong flavor, it will take on seasoning and sauces really well when cooked. Cooking cabbage mellows its inherently sulfuric notes.
I have grilled cabbage on a flame grill with mixed results. I recently decided to try it on my smaller George Foreman Grill. I admit that I feared it would steam and not char. I was expecting so-so results. Well, I was wrong. Here is a super simple recipe that yields the best grilled cabbage all year round.
- 1 head of green or red cabbage (green is a little less bitter)
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Sea salt and pepper
- Dried herbs: choose from thyme, rosemary, or caraway seeds
Total time:20 min – Prep time:10 min – Cook time:10 min – Serves:2 people
1. Heat the grill to high.
2. Slice the cabbage into one inch thick rounds or steaks. You can cut the head in half down through the core first and then slice. Coat both sides with EVOO, salt & pepper, and the dried herb of choice.
3. Place the cabbage slices on the grill and close the top. Cook for 10 minutes until edges are crispy and inner leaves are tender. Depending on the size of your grill, you will likely have to do this in batches. Keep cooked slices warm in a low oven.
4. You can serve as is or rough chop the cabbage and top with an Asian inspired glaze drizzled over the it. See the glaze recipe below.
Asian Inspired Glaze
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 TBS raw honey
- 1 TBS tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tsp ground ginger
Start this approximately 8 minutes before grilling the cabbage.
1. In a small saucepan, mix the vinegar, honey, tamari, and ginger. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a slow simmer. Cook until reduced to the point where the glaze coats the back of a spoon, stirring occasionally. This will take approximately 18 minutes.
2. Drizzle the warm glaze over the chopped, grilled cabbage and serve.
This cabbage side dish pairs nicely with thinly sliced and grilled pork and grilled fruit, such as peaches or figs. The glaze can go over all components. This is a lovely summer dinner to enjoy outdoors with a glass of prosecco.
Tips for Vegans
If you are someone who doesn’t eat any animal products, try the Foreman grilled cabbage recipe as the main attraction. Leave the rounds of cabbage whole and serve them as a “steak” centerpiece. For the glaze, substitute pure maple syrup for the honey. The fruit is still a good side. Other sides you might consider are corn or onions prepared on the Foreman Grill.