I will freely admit that I was not excited when I received my first cabbage in our weekly CSA pick-up last year. In fact, cabbage was one of those foods that sort of inspired a visceral "yuk" reaction. Cole slaw was the only cabbage-based dish that I ever ate, and even then I only ate it when it happened to be on my plate in a restaurant. Corned beef and cabbage was not all that appetizing to me, nor were galumpkis. And I was pretty certain that those were the only three dishes in which cabbage was used.
Unwilling to give up on my commitment to use my share, even under cabbage duress, I skeptically searched the internet for cooking ideas. That first time, I actually tried to make galumpkis because they seemed like the lesser of two evils—I really don't care for corned beef. While they weren't awful, they also weren't awesome, but it was a start. Since then, I have been experimenting with (and perhaps even becoming to appreciate) one of my more dreaded vegetables.
Let's get cooking…
It turns out there are a lot of things one can do with cabbage. I found a really helpful collection of recipes pulled together by Cherie Stihler, author of the children's book "The Giant Cabbage: An Alaskan Folktale." The website isn't fancy, but Ms. Stihler has over 200 recipes sorted into easy to navigate categories. It is a nice compilation without a lot of repeats (i.e. 45 galumpki recipes).
Here are a few other things to keep in mind when thinking about incorporating cabbage into your meals:
Cabbage absorbs flavor, so cook it with strong flavors. I have discovered that I can include chopped cabbage in roasted vegetable dishes or in stir fries and not receive a single complaint because it really absorbs the flavor around it. We made—and loved—Cooking Light's Roast Pork with Apples Cabbage and Turnips this week. The cabbage tasted like the bacon, pork loin, and apples it was cooked with. While neither Ben nor I would call ourselves cabbage fans, we are both looking forward to making this recipe again.
When chopped, a head of cabbage becomes a behemoth mound of cabbage, so buy conservatively. For example, the pork recipe called for 3 cups of finely chopped cabbage, which seemed like a lot, but we only used half of our head of cabbage. I would suggest finding your cabbage recipe in advance and then choosing your cabbage accordingly—otherwise, you will be looking for a second cabbage recipe (which is what I had to do).
Consider cabbage soup. If you are anything like me, the phrase "cabbage soup" just isn't enticing. However, there are an abundance of cabbage soup recipes out there incorporating flavors from around the world. I haven't tried them all (yet), but I have collected cabbage soup recipes incorporating flavors from all over the world—from Thai Chicken Cabbage Soup to Sweet Russian Cabbage Soup. You can also incorporate cabbage into your own chicken noodle or minestrone recipes—it adds nice texture.