This primer gives the lowdown on how to cut cabbage and what to use it for.
Economical, healthy, and versatile, cabbage is a home cook’s culinary dream come true. Cabbage can be boiled, fried, served in a salad, or added to soup. The possibilities are endless!
Types of Cabbage and How to Use Them
Cabbage comes in a variety of sizes and colors so there is an application for every cuisine! Choose heads that are clean and heavy with intact, unblemished leaves.
CANNONBALL: This basic, green cabbage is most commonly used in soups, stews, coleslaws, and the ever-popular Corned Beef and Cabbage. And don’t forget about the famous Cabbage Roll Casserole. It also makes for a dramatic side dish like these Roasted Cabbage Steaks.
CHINESE: Bok Choy and Napa Cabbage are often used interchangeably. Both are elongated in shape and have densely packed ridged leaves. This variety is best in Asian like stir-fries like Sesame Ginger Bok Choy or crispy salads like this wonderful Easy Asian Slaw. Because the leaves are elongated and not round, they work great for low-carb wraps!
SAVOY: Also known as “curly cabbage,” Savoy is smaller than Cannonball and has ornamental, crinkly leaves. Best when it’s cooked, Savoy has a zesty and rather bitter flavor. Try Savoy in Colcannon Recipe (Cabbage and Potatoes) and cut into thin strips, it’s great in a Ramen Noodle Salad.
RED CABBAGE: This bright red jewel of the cabbage family is the healthiest, most fiber-packed variety! It’s gorgeous cooked or raw, and red cabbage is a crunchy and colorful addition to a recipe or served on its own! Cook this easy Braised Red Cabbage recipe as a side dish, or try this crisp Red Cabbage Slaw.
How to Cut Cabbage
Preparing the head: Cut the head of cabbage in half on a cutting board.
Cut each half again so you have quarters, this allows for easy handling and for easy removal of the core.
Using a sharp knife, make a diagonal cut to remove the core of the cabbage. This part is hard and should be discarded.
Next use a sharp chef’s knife to slice the cabbage into strips or to chop it into pieces.
For coleslaws: Cabbage for coleslaw can be sliced into very thin strips or shredded with a cheese grater or mandoline.
- Cut the cabbage in half vertically and then slice thinly using a mandoline or a sharp knife until the core is reached.
- Separate the strips and proceed to use as needed.
For fried or roasted cabbage steaks: Keep the core in so the steaks stay together. It can be removed after cooking if desired.
- Prepare the head as above.
- Slice the cabbage in half vertically, then cut from the top to the bottom in ½” thick slices.
For braising, gratins, soups, stews, and stir-fries: Cutting cabbage into wedges keeps the structure of the vegetable intact.
- Cut the cabbage in half vertically and lay each half, cut side down on a cutting board.
- Cut each half in half again (4 pieces total) and then cut out a small triangle of the core (optional).
- Line up two pieces of quartered cabbage together and cut across them horizontally into chunks of desired size.
Our Fave Cabbage Recipes
Cabbage has been long known as a healthy, versatile veggie with a mild flavor that makes it perfect for creating so many delicious recipes! Check out these faves! Corned Beef Casserole with Cabbage is always a favorite and in this case, it can be baked instead of boiled. Cabbage and Noodles is a simple meal that kids will enjoy, and Creamy Sausage & Cabbage Soup is a tasty delight, as is Slow Cooker Cabbage Soup.
Store whole, unwashed heads of cabbage in the crisper section of the refrigerator until ready to use. Because of its density, cabbage will stay fresh for up to 6 weeks as long as it stays dry, so don’t store it in a plastic bag where moisture might develop. The best way to freeze raw cabbage is to cut it into quarters or wedges and place it in zippered bags with the date labeled on the outside. Use within 6 weeks. For extra long freezing, blanch wedges in boiling water then plunge into an ice bath. Pat dry and store in zippered bags. Blanched cabbage wedges can stay frozen up to 8 months (great if you have a garden surplus)!