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Cabbage: Inexpensive & Most Nutritious Vegetable

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  • carmen_cebs
    December 8, 2008 RECIPES FOR HEALTH Cabbage, an Inexpensive Nutritional Powerhouse By MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN An article last month by Tara Parker-Pope about the
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 9, 2008
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      December 8, 2008
      RECIPES FOR HEALTH
      Cabbage, an Inexpensive Nutritional Powerhouse
      By MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN
      An article last month by Tara Parker-Pope about the challenges of
      eating fresh food on a tight budget got me thinking about cabbage.
      It is a very economical vegetable that is easy to find in any
      supermarket and it gives you a huge nutritional bang for your buck.
      This humble food has always been a mainstay for the poor and in cold
      climates people of all classes have relied on it to feed themselves
      through many a winter. (The vegetable is at its best during the fall
      and winter months, when it is in season, and it stores well for
      weeks).
      The family of vegetables that cabbage belongs to is called the
      Cruciferae family or the Brassica family and related vegetables
      include kale, broccoli, collards and Brussels sprouts. Johnny
      Bowden, a nutritionist, calls cabbage "the most important
      [vegetable] in the world from the point of view of nutritional
      benefits and cancer-fighting ability." Cabbage possesses
      phytochemicals including sulforaphane, which studies suggest
      protects the body against cancer-causing free radicals, and indoles,
      which help metabolize estrogens. It's also an excellent source of
      vitamins K and C, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin
      B6, folate, manganese and Omega 3 fatty acids.
      The sulfuric compounds in cruciferous vegetables are the source of
      many of their nutritional attributes, but they also lead to bad
      smells if the vegetables are overcooked. When it's cooked properly,
      cabbage develops a sweet, fragrant flavor and aroma.

      Stewed Lentils with Cabbage
      This humble and hearty combination makes a satisfying main dish,
      especially on a cold night. Lentils are an excellent source of
      folate and molybdenum and a very good source of dietary fiber,
      protein and manganese. Any type of lentil will work in this recipe.
      2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
      1 medium onion, half of it chopped, half sliced
      3 garlic cloves, minced
      1/2 pound lentils (brown, green, or beluga), rinsed and picked over
      3 1/2 cups water (more as needed)
      1 dried red chile
      1 bay leaf
      Salt to taste
      6 ounces waxy potatoes, scrubbed and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
      1 1/2 pounds green cabbage (1 medium head), cored and cut crosswise
      in 3/4-inch wide ribbons
      1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
      Freshly grated Parmesan for serving (optional)

      1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 3-quart saucepan or
      casserole over medium heat. Add the chopped half of the onion and
      cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add 2 of the
      garlic cloves and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a
      minute. Add the lentils, water, chile, and bay leaf, and bring to a
      simmer. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer over low heat for 15
      minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the potatoes and continue to simmer
      gently for 30 minutes, until the lentils and potatoes are tender.
      Add more salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
      2. While the lentils are simmering, cook the cabbage with the
      remaining onion and garlic in a wide lidded skillet. Heat the
      remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the
      sliced onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes.
      Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the garlic and stir together until the
      garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cabbage and turn the
      heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until the cabbage begins to
      wilt. Add 1/4 cup water, turn the heat down to medium, cover and
      simmer 10 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender and sweet,
      stirring from time to time. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to
      taste.
      3. Spread the cabbage over the bottom of the pan in an even layer.
      Top with the lentils and potatoes. Sprinkle on the parsley, and
      serve in wide soup bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan if desired.
      Yield: Serves 4 to 6
      Advance preparation: You can make this dish up to a day ahead and
      reheat on top of the stove.
      Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving (based on 4
      servings): 346 calories; total fat: 7.6g; saturated fat: 1.1g;
      cholesterol: 0mg; sodium: 39mg; total carbohydrates: 54.0g; dietary
      fiber: 23.1g; sugars: 8.3g; protein: 18.0g; vitamin A: 5%
      Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) based on a 2,000 calorie diet;
      vitamin C 129% RDA; calcium 12% ; iron 30%
      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/08/health/nutrition/08recipehealth.htm
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