An easy how-to for an often overlooked vegetable; here’s how to cut cabbage and add delightful crunch and loads of nutrition to all your favorite recipes.
Reading: how to cut up cabbage for stir fry
No matter what type of cabbage you pick, it’s going to be really, really good for you. After all, it’s in the brassica family, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and kale.
A one-cup serving of cabbage has a low, low 22 calories, but is loaded with vitamins and minerals: folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Cabbage is also packed with digestion- boosting fiber, anti-oxidants (which fight inflammation), and phytosterols, which help keep cholesterol levels low.
If you need to decide between red or green, red cabbage is higher in vitamin C than green; one cup of red cabbage contains 85% of RDI of vitamin C.
The cabbage family is vast and broad, but here are some commonly found varieties that are often used interchangeably in recipes where sliced or shredded cabbage is called for.
- Green cabbage. The one that’s most commonly found at just about any supermarket. Green cabbage has smooth, darker green outer leaves, and paler green to white inner leaves.
- Red cabbage. This beautiful cabbage has vibrant purple-red leaves and white veins inside. Its shape and flavor is similar to green cabbage, but its color is infinitely more vibrant.
- Savoy cabbage. This round head of cabbage resembles green cabbage but has loosely packed, crinkly, yellow-green leaves and a very mild flavor.
- Napa cabbage. This oblong head of ruffled cabbage belongs to the Chinese cabbage varieties, which also include bok choy, baby bok choy, and choy sum. It has a slightly more tender texture than head cabbage, but it shreds well and is delicious raw in salads.
How to cut cabbage for slaw:
This method for shredded cabbage works for coleslaw, stir-frys, soups, salads, you name it.
- First, remove any damaged or browned outer leaves and give the head a thorough rinsing under cold water.
- Place the head of cabbage on a cutting board or clean work surface with the stem side down. Locate the stem, or core, of the cabbage.
- With a chef’s knife, cut in half lengthwise, all the way through the core.
- If you’re making shredded cabbage, you need to remove the triangular core. To do this, cut into the core at an angle where the stem meets the leaves of the cabbage, and remove it from each half.
- Place the halves, cut side down, on the cutting board. Starting at the end opposite the stem, cut crosswise from top to bottom into thin slices.
How to cut cabbage into wedges:
- If you’re braising the cabbage for a recipe like corned beef and cabbage, or need cabbage in wedges for roasting or braising, you will want to leave the core and stem in tact to hold the leaves together.
- Trim the tough end of the stem to leave a fresh cut, then make wedge-shaped slices through the core.
How to shred cabbage using a mandolin:
A mandolin is a handy kitchen device that slices, shreds, and juliennes firm vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and potatoes efficiently. If you’re excited about using a mandolin to slice cabbage, it’s easy to do, as long as you’re careful. It also works well for making large quantities of shredded cabbage for parties and big groups.
- First, place your mandolin on a sturdy work surface and set the flat blade to the thickness you prefer. There should be a knob or dial that adjusts the blade’s thickness. Most likely, you will need to cut the cabbage in quarters to fit on the cutting surface of the mandolin.
- Very carefully, using the guard that came with the mandolin to protect your fingers, move the cabbage wedge across the blade in one clean motion, from one end of the vegetable to the other. As you do this, the sliced cabbage will fall under the mandolin. You can transfer it to a bowl as you work.
- For safety’s sake, don’t feel compelled to slice the entire wedge on the mandolin. When it gets close to the end, slice the remainder using a chef’s knife and start again with a new wedge.
You’ve shredded all that cabbage…now what?
- Coleslaw. Creamy or vinegar-y, but always wonderfully crunchy, a good slaw is gobbled up. Better make extra.
- Tacos. Mix some shredded cabbage with Pico de Gallo and serve it with homemade tacos. Or sprinkle it raw on fish tacos.
- Stir fry. Quick cook raw cabbage over high heat with some sesame oil, chili paste and garlic for a quick midnight snack. Add a fried egg and you’re in for a real treat.
- Soup. The Best Cabbage Soup is magical for getting rid of a few pounds and feeling great while doing it.