The champion cabbage

IMG_4558Cabbage boasts many properties that support our health.  It is also one of those plentiful plant foods that delivers excellent value for low cost.  Lets start with a few of the health benefits:

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 provide a steroid effect on 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 leaches most of its phytonutrients, I prefer to stir fry, steam and even roast it.

2. Rich in Nutrients

Cabbage delivers fibre and vitamins K and C, and is low in energy. 1 cup of chopped cabbage delivers more than half the daily requirement of vitamin C and 2 grams of fibre for a teeny 22 calories. Savoy and red cabbage also contain healthy amounts of the vitamin beta carotene.

3. Anti-Inflammatory

The bright colour of red cabbage comes from heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory phytochemicals called anthocyanins. All red, purple foods are rich in these guys, think plums and berries especially, blueberries. Anthocyanins are popular in the news as more and more research indicates they also play a role in reducing the risk and symptoms of conditions like Parkinson’s disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Lets look at some of the cool ways to include cabbage in your repertoire:

Add some thinly sliced cabbage to your salad, soup, steamed vege, rice dish like stir fry or pasta sauce.

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Sauerkraut…😳

With the recent increase in the interest in gut health, cabbage in the form of sauerkraut has been brought back into fashion!

It has to be one of the simplest ways to make the most of probiotics, the lactic acid bacteria, just like those found in yoghurt, on the skin of plants.

Simply slice a small cabbage (1kg), place in a bowl with 1 Tbsp salt and with your hands massage and squeeze the cut cabbage, mixing in the salt, until it wilts and releases the moisture out of the cells.  This will take around 10 minutes.  You can add a spice like caraway and a bay leaf for flavour.  Place all the cabbage and liquid into a glass jar and weight the cabbage down so its below the liquid level.  This is important to protect your ferment from unwanted bacteria (mould).  I use another jar and one of the outer cabbage leaves to ensure the liquid is always covering the cut cabbage.  The probiotic will perform it’s magic, multiplying and fermenting to form sauerkraut.  Leave out of the fridge until you try the sauerkraut and enjoy its vinegary flavour and soft yet slightly crunchy texture, about 7-14 days.  Do not put a tight lid on the jar as the gases formed during fermentation need to be released. Then remove weight and place the lid on the jar and place it in the fridge.  Continue to ensure the liquid remains covering the cabbage to preserve it.  Sauerkraut is delicious added to salads or on top of hot meals.

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Something from the new world!!
Simply slice wedges, spray with some olive, sprinkle with salt, pepper and a spice like turmeric or smear with some marmalade and roast on 200 for 40+ mins😋

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And something from the old world with a little twist of new!!!

Cabbage rolls

A little like rice paper rolls…
Ingredients

1 small head of green cabbage
For the Filling:
3/4 cup brown lentils
3 cups water
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup vegetable stock
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 capsicum, diced
4 button mushrooms, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Optional: Some mince like kangaroo

For the Sauce:
1 bottle of passata
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Instructions

Place about 3 inches of water into a large pot and add cabbage. Place over high heat. Bring to a boil, lower heat and and cover. Allow to steam until leaves peel off easily, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
While the cabbage steams, begin preparing the filling. Place the water into a small saucepan and add lentils. Bring the water to a boil, lower heat and allow to simmer until lentils are just fully cooked, about 35 minutes, adding water to the pot as needed. When lentils are finished cooking, drain any excess liquid. For a quick option use 2 cans drained lentils!!
While the lentils simmer, place stock into a small saucepan and add quinoa. Place over high heat and bring to boil. Lower heat, cover and allow to simmer until all of the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit with the lid on the pot for 5 minutes.
Coat the bottom of a large pan with oil and place over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, capsicum and mushroom and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add some mince if you’d like your rolls meaty, and leave to simmer for another 10 minutes.

Add 1 1/2 cups of the cooked lentils and 1 cup of the cooked quinoa, along with red wine vinegar, soy sauce, smoked paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine the ingredients, then remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 180°.
Stir all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl, then distribute about 1/2 cup of the sauce into the bottom of 9 x 9 inch baking dish.
Peel a leaf off of the cabbage head and place it onto a work surface with the stem side facing you. Trim any very thick portions of the leaf near the base. Spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons of filling onto the center of the leaf. Fold the base side over the filling, then wrap the sides inward over the filling. Roll the center away from you to wrap everything up. Place the roll, seam side down, into the baking dish. Repeat until all of the filling is used.
Spoon remaining sauce over the rolls, cover and bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

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