The Best Way To Prep And Boil Cabbage For The Most Tender Results

Cabbage has not yet enjoyed the hype or resurgence in popularity that its produce aisle colleagues have — we're looking at you, cauliflower and kale. Always available, inexpensive, and able to last forever in your produce drawer, we'd argue cabbage deserves a rebranding. It's been marked as decidedly unsexy or bland for too long, and relegated to unappetizing fare like the cabbage soup diet. This underrated pick deserves a second look next time you're browsing the veggie section. 

Easy-boiled cabbage with a light seasoning is surprisingly tender, delicious, and worthy of a place on your plate as a nutritious side. Become a cabbage devote with a simple yet irresistible prep method that comes together in under 20 minutes. Remove the tough, outermost leaves of a cabbage head, to start — even with organic cabbage, as it can still harbor dirt, bugs, and germs from the hands of your fellow shoppers. Cut out the root and dice the rest into thin ribbons, or slice it into several large wedges. 

Then, drop the cabbage into salted, boiling water and cook it for 5 to 15 minutes depending on preference. You're going for very tender, but not cooked to death. Once the cabbage is ready, strain away the water and dress it simply with butter and salt for a silky and surprisingly indulgent side. Or, amp up the flavor with any desired herbs, vinegar, or perhaps a splash of liquid aminos or soy sauce.

Cabbage is packed with nutrients and surprisingly flavorful

As a member of the cruciferous family (along with broccoli, kale, radish, collards, and bok choy, to name a few), a head of cabbage is packed with good-for-you benefits, in addition to its buttery, wholesome flavor. According to the National Cancer Institute, a serving offers anti-inflammatory benefits, protects cells from damage, provides antibacterial effects, and contains high levels of fiber, vitamins, folate, and carotenoids. 

Although some health foodies hype up the benefits of raw food, like many other cruciferous veggies, cabbage's health properties actually increase when prepared over the stove (via Scientific American). When boiled or steamed, its naturally occurring antioxidant levels are multiplied — just another reason to think beyond coleslaw. 

This easy prep method offers great results regardless of the type of cabbage. Try the more common green variety, grab a head of red or savoy cabbage, or use a blend for a variety of textures and colors (just note different types may not cook at the exact same rate). Cabbage is ready for its time in the spotlight just like its cruciferous cousins have enjoyed. And with a simple recipe, its comeback can begin with tonight's dinner.