An Old Time Favorite: Red Cabbage

Its winter in the Northeast and, like many other years, its cold, snowy and miserable (especially if you’re not a fan of cold and snow!) Despite the usual inclement weather, winter is also a time to return to comfort food and hearty meals. I have to admit that I completely forgot about red cabbage as the perfect side dish to accompany any protein, or as a simple lunch or light dinner to eat on its own. I stumbled across it while at the local farm stand and realized that there was so much I could do with this versatile gem.

Many women fear cabbage. It has gained a bad reputation as a gas-producing food that should be avoided during pregnancy. In truth, all foods produce gas so cabbages in any color are not the sole culprit. Cabbages are actually great sources of nutrition. Red cabbage, with its rich purple color, is in the same family as broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts. Red cabbage, because of its color, contains plant compounds that are linked to several health benefits. Its one vegetable that can be eaten raw (like in a salad), cooked (like in this recipe) or fermented. In fact, one cup of red cabbage provides 1 gram of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and is high in vitamins A, B6, C and K, and high in potassium. Its a powerful antioxidant that is thought to relieve swelling and body discomforts. Its an inexpensive vegetable to buy and one head of red cabbage can provide multiple servings.

This recipe combines simple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry. The apple cider vinegar contributes great flavor and also its own health benefits. I added an extra apple for another layer of flavor. Want it more sweet? Decrease the amount of apple cider vinegar and increase the brown sugar. Want more savory taste? Add in seasonings like a teaspoon of fennel, mustard seed or even a bay leaf while cooking. Craving more tart or acidic flavor? Increase the amount of apple cider vinegar or try adding dashes of other vinegars like white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or even a few sprinkles of balsamic vinegar. This dish is great served hot but its even better reheated. Try it with pork- chops, pork loin, or a beef roast. It goes great with chicken, eggs, or even tofu. The best part is that it cooks quickly and in one pan- and you can customize it however you like. The possibilities are endless!

Sauteed Red Cabbage

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 head of red cabbage, sliced into thin pieces

1 apple (Granny Smith, Red Delicious, or Macintosh), peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

1 small onion, sliced

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1-2 teaspoons fennel seed (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the red cabbage, apple and onion. Saute until the red cabbage and apple are soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and fennel seed if using. Saute another 3 to 5 minutes until the red cabbage is tender and most of the apple cider vinegar has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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