Lighter coleslaw & 4 more recipes with crunchy cabbage

The other day we needed cabbage for a photo shoot here at EatingWell. We bought a few heads at the grocery store and I picked some from my mom's garden. (Here's me with a head of Napa cabbage.)

The difference between the store-bought cabbage and the garden heads was striking. Here's a shot of two heads of Savoy:

Not hard to tell which one was from the garden, right? Of course, the big beautiful one. That garden cabbage was so gorgeous and massive that when my co-workers saw it sitting in the Test Kitchen, they rushed in to check it out. The excitement got me thinking about my favorite cabbage recipes. I was so inspired that I went home with a head of Savoy and made Roasted Savoy Cabbage with Black Bean-Garlic Sauce.

There was still a lot of cabbage to use, so I decided to start cooking my way through some of my other favorite recipes for cabbage. As a health bonus, cabbage is a nutritional powerhouse. It's rich in vitamin C and fiber and supplies isothiocyanates-chemicals that amp up the body's natural detoxification systems. Studies suggest that cabbage may help fight breast, lung, colon and other types of cancer.

Here are some of my favorite summertime cabbage recipes:

Hot & Sour Slaw (see recipe below) - It would be inexcusable not to mention at least one coleslaw. I happen to prefer an oil-and-vinegar-based recipe. With a balance of tang and sweet and some hot red pepper, this version fits the bill perfectly.

Chinese Chicken & Noodle Salad - A healthier version of this classic salad comes with crispy ramen noodles. The dressing is an addictive orange, sesame, ginger and soy combination-you may want to double the dressing and save some for a salad the next day.

Quick Kimchi - I love spicy foods, so Korean food and kimchi are right up my alley. This isn't traditional kimchi (which is buried and fermented). This is a nonfussy quick method and it sure is delicious.

Napa Cabbage & Carrots with Rice Wine-Oyster Sauce - A quick stir-fry for an easy weeknight side. Throw in some tofu or shrimp and serve with brown rice to make it a meal.

Hot & Sour Slaw
This slaw, a combination of cabbage, red bell pepper, scallions and bamboo shoots, is tossed with a dressing full of the classic flavors of Chinese hot-and-sour soup. Serve with grilled pork tenderloin and a glass of Riesling.

3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
3 cups shredded napa or green cabbage
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/3 cup sliced scallions
1 8-ounce can bamboo shoots, drained and thinly sliced

Whisk rice vinegar, reduced-sodium soy sauce, oil, ginger, white pepper and crushed red pepper in a large bowl. Add napa (or green cabbage) bell pepper, scallions and bamboo shoots; toss to coat.

Makes 4 servings, generous 1 cup each.

Per serving: 62 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 2 g fiber; 112 mg sodium; 189 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (85% daily value), Vitamin A (18% dv).

By Jessie Price

EatingWell deputy food editor Jessie Price's professional background in food started when she worked in restaurant kitchens in the summers during college. She started out testing recipes for EatingWell and then joined the staff here full-time in 2004 when she moved to Vermont from San Francisco.

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