Kitchn Love Letters

Why You Should Add Cabbage to Your Cart This Week

published Apr 3, 2023
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Cropped shot of woman shopping for fresh fruits and organic vegetables in supermarket. Putting a cabbage into an eco-friendly cotton mesh shopping bag. Zero waste concept.
Credit: Oscar Wong / Getty Images

As grocery prices soar, I find myself leaning on a sturdy, reliable, cruciferous friend: the humble cabbage. Not only is your average head of green or red cabbage a versatile shapeshifter, but it is also reliably cheap and long-lasting — a killer combo when you’re trying to make the most of your dollars at the grocery store. 

Credit: Megan Litt

What’s So Great About Cabbage?

Cabbage is one of those vegetables that can be delicious raw, roasted, braised, grilled, and tossed into stews and stir-fries. Unless I’m looking for a bright pop of color, I tend to favor green cabbage in most of these applications for its sweeter, more mild flavor (and so it doesn’t turn my dish purple). It’s available year-round (almost always at under a dollar a pound!) and can stand up to all kinds of flavors and cooking techniques. Not to mention that it is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. 

Credit: Megan Litt

However you choose to use this affordable super veg, feel free to toss any remaining cabbage right in your crisper and forget about it for a week or two. Next time you are looking for a crisp-tender sheet pan of roasted veggies, or want to add some substance and fiber to a soup, that cabbage half will still be good as new — it’s like a free vegetable! 

Credit: Megan Litt

What’s the Best Way to Use Cabbage?

One of my favorite ways to enjoy cabbage is perhaps also the simplest way to prepare it: Shred it into thin strips and dress it generously with acid, salt, and a pinch of sugar. The sky’s the limit on flavor additions here! 

Credit: Megan Litt

You can add condiments like mustard, mayo, and hot sauce; herbs like chives, parsley, and cilantro; and spices like chili flake, crushed coriander seed, and celery seed. Simply taste and adjust the seasoning as the cabbage sits, and you’ll have a zippy slaw that works as a side salad or a bright, crunchy topping for tacos, sandwiches, and more. A little shredded cabbage goes a long way, so often you’ll have leftovers, which is a good thing — unlike most leafy salads, slaw only gets better with time, so you can continue to snack on it for days. 

Cabbage is also a total flavor sponge and can stand up to some serious heat. I like to tuck some cabbage wedges along with my aromatics under and around a chicken before roasting. Those cabbage wedges will soak up all the savory shmaltz, becoming super flavorful and tender and delightfully charred and crisp in spots. 

Buy: Fresh Green Cabbage, $3.28 for 1 head at Walmart

What budget-friendly vegetables are you adding to your cart this week? Tell us about it in the comments below.