Cabbage: the sturdy brassica that could quite possibly outlive a cockroach — well, almost. Stored in the refrigerator, wrapped tight, cabbage will last for months on end. Additionally, almost every country has a signature cabbage dish: the Irish have corned beef and cabbage, bean curd and cabbage are a Chinese staple and the British make bubble and squeak.
So why has cabbage been mostly limited to pickle and slaw duty? Practically speaking, its hearty nature is sensible for pickling purposes but, in for similar reasons, its robust build makes it perfect for almost anything. A sparse flavor profile also allows cabbage to become an attribute to pretty much any dish.
Like most winter vegetables, look for a cabbage with weight and heft. A few blemished leaves on the outside? Don’t fret — peel away until a supple layer is revealed. All things considered, save the slaw for summer picnics and the braise for St. Patrick’s Day. Here’s a list of some of the best non-coleslaw-driven recipes from around the web to keep you thriving through the winter.
Hungarian stuffed cabbage — Saveur
Numerically speaking, Hungarians and Russians eat the most cabbage per capita (roughly 44 pounds!). Needless to say, thy’ve gotten quite good at preparing it. This recipe fills thanks to ham and corn meal. Don’t want ham? Your meat substitute of choice will also work.
Weeknight pasta — Food52
Like the title suggests, this bowl of delightful carbs will greet you after a long day at work (and not judge you for watching that fourth episode of The Great British Bake-off). Also, caramelized cabbage is simply brilliant. Ideally, prep the cabbage when there’s a little free time to spare and whip up the rest when you’re in a rush. Don’t overcook the pasta on this one — you’ll want the bite of al dente to complement the softness of the other ingredients.
Salted red cabbage — Bon Appétit
A beautiful starter recipe. Try it with roast pork or tossed in a salad with blue cheese. Cut thicker ribbons instead of shredding it to retain some texture.
Pork pierogi — Lucky Peach
I was raised with many Polish overtones in the kitchen. One of my best memories growing up was making an assembly line of twenty-plus family members to churn out thousands of pierogis to last us all winter. These babies freeze nicely and make for a great quick appetizer or weekend snack.
Japanese cabbage pancake — Food52
Any recipe that has kewpie mayo (a Japanese-style mayo made with rice vinegar) and bacon is sure to be a wonderful recipe. Stack them high and tote these fluffy savories to the office.
White kimchi — Bon Appétit
Though kimchi is typically done with gochugaru (Korean red pepper), white kimchi is a little less pungent and tangy. Perfect for first-time eaters or doubters. Salt works to draw water from the cabbage, so no extra water is needed for this recipe.
Pesto and cabbage pizza — Sweet Paul
Use the salted cabbage recipe above for this recipe to get an added tang. If this seems like a lot of preparation, use basil leaves and crushed pine nuts as garnish instead of making a whole separate pesto.
Spicy Indian cabbage-and-potato curry — Saveur
A spicy Indian potato curry that gives us the perfect excuse to eat more roti (because leftover curry in the bottom of the bowl is just a shame).
Pickled French fries — Bon Appétit
Cabbage isn’t the main ingredient here, but its versatility makes it work here. The combination of salt and cabbage also dry out the potatoes, yielding a crispier and lighter fry.
Meaty Cabbage and Rice Stew — Food52
This recipe makes me want to sit in front of an open fire while cleaning fur pelts. Well, at least curl up with a blanket and the latest edition of “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” Instead of rice, farro can lend a heartier and nuttier hand to the stew. Use up any tough cuts of meat that are hiding in the freezer — long, slow cooking takes the chew out of them.