Cabbage – A Winter Wonder

By Carol Taylor, MCN, RDN, LD Registered Dietitian and Journalist

This green vegetable is money when it comes to nutrition. Cabbage is a member of the Brassica genus of vegetables, also called cruciferous vegetables, which also includes kale, broccoli, collards, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and more.

Cabbage shows up in a few denominations — green, red, savoy, napa and others. For most meals, I want a great return on investment, and cabbage pays out well.

One medium head of cabbage, raw (yes, the whole head) is only 227 calories with 11 g protein and a gram or less of fat and 52 g carbohydrates. But 22 grams of that is fiber.

It has 363 g of calcium more than the daily recommended amount; 109 mg of magnesium, nearly 1.5 times the RDA; 236 mg of phosphorus, nearly the RDA; 1,549 mg potassium, nearly double the RDA; 332 mg vitamin C, way more than the RDA (push off winter crud). Plus, cabbage has good amounts of zinc, manganese, B6, folate and vitamin K (yes bones!).

Cabbage also has phytonutrients called sulforaphane that help protect the body from free radicals, which have been linked to cancer.

But you don’t have to eat the whole head all at once to cash in on the nutrition. Diversify your diet by mixing in other vegetables and fruits.

Though especially plentiful in winter months, cabbage is available year-round. It’s also fairly inexpensive compared with other leafy greens. It’ll be even cheaper in early March as stores lure shoppers looking to make corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day.

Cabbage adapts to a variety of uses and recipes. Eat it raw, steamed, roasted, or sautéed; add cabbage to soups or stews, stir fries or use to top fish tacos. Here’s a new favorite recipe of mine. It’s adaptable, so tweak the spices to your taste. Mix in other vegetables such as diced carrots or green beans. Or make it vegetarian by swapping beans for the ground beef.




  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, avocado oil, or canola oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 small head of green cabbage, chopped
  • 1 14.5 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup broth or water



  1. Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onions and sauté until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add chopped peppers, and sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the spices and ground beef, breaking up the beef. Sauté until meat is no longer pink.
  3. Add the cabbage, tomatoes and broth or water and stir to combine. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes until cabbage is wilted. Uncover and simmer over medium heat until sauce thickens. Eat it on its own or serve with rice.

FOR A CASSEROLE: Mix in 2 cups cooked rice, pour into a casserole dish, top with breadcrumbs and or cheese. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes or until heated through and cheese or breadcrumbs are brown.

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