Published on March 12, 2018

Cabbage, Reubens and more!

By Teresa Farrell, Licensed and Registered Dietician at Essentia Health.

With all the fun and celebrating associated with St. Patrick’s Day often comes a Reuben sandwich. Did you know a Reuben sandwich of corned beef, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, thousand Island dressing on Marble Rye bread at Arby’s has 680 Calories, 31 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, .5 grams trans-fat, 62 grams carbohydrate and a staggering 2,420 milligrams of sodium! That’s a pretty hard hit for one sandwich. Though it’s not a sandwich there is a great cabbage and beef hot dish listed below you may want to try. This hot dish has less than 1/3 of the Calories, total fat, saturated fat, and only 200 mg of sodium. That’s a big savings!

Let’s talk cabbage. Cabbage is a versatile vegetable with many redeeming qualities that make it worthy of eating year-round. In fact, one cup of cabbage only contains 25 Calories and is an excellent source of vitamin C-which is important for healthy skin and a strong immune system, is an excellent source of vitamin K which supports bone health and has 2 grams of fiber to support a healthy digestive system and satisfy hunger. It is also fat free, saturated fat free, very low sodium, cholesterol free and low calorie!

Cabbage is a “cruciferous” vegetable, along with Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, kale and other leafy greens. Cruciferous vegetables are packed with phytochemicals which may reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.

There are many different types of cabbage with two of the most commonly used being green and red/purple. When choosing a cabbage choose one that is heavy for its size. The leaves should be tight and firm, loose leaves indicate an older cabbage. Cabbage may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Cabbage is very versatile, it can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted, sautéed, or stuffed.

Quick tips for using cabbage:

  • Drizzle steamed or roasted cabbage with olive oil, cracked black pepper, and minced garlic
  • Add shredded cabbage to a fresh green salad for a nice crunch and added flavor
  • Add chopped cabbage to soups and stews near the end of cooking
  • Use cabbage to make a variety of coleslaws

When cooking cabbage, it can become strong in a sulfurous odor which happens when it has been overcooked. The longer a cabbage is cooked, the stronger the odor becomes. The solution: a brief cooking time. Cook just until tender.

Some people have trouble digesting cruciferous vegetables and may have digestive symptoms. Eating small portions and cooking the cabbage well may help.

A note of caution: if you are taking blood-thinners, such as Coumadin (warfarin), it is important that you do not suddenly begin to eat more or less food containing vitamin K, which plays a large role in blood clotting. Keep your intake relatively constant.

If you want to add more cabbage to your eating plan we’ve provided some recipes below to get you started.

Enjoy a great low-sodium alternative to corned beef and cabbage.

Cabbage and Beef Hot Dish

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound 90 percent lean ground beef or ground turkey breast
  • 1 ½ cups onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium carrots (about 2 cups), grated
  • 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 3 cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 3 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger or 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes or hot sauce (optional)

Add olive oil to large skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and brown. Add onions, carrots and garlic. Cook until vegetables are starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add ginger, salt, pepper and

hot pepper. Cook until cabbage is soft, about 15 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings.

Nutrition facts

Serving size, 2 cups; calories, 215; total fat, 10 grams; saturated fat, 3 grams; cholesterol, 50 milligrams; sodium, 200 milligrams; potassium, 640 milligrams; carbohydrates, 15 grams; fiber, 4 grams;

protein, 17 grams.

These recipes are a lower sodium alternative to sauerkraut. Sauerkraut has about 750 milligrams of sodium in one-half cup.

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1 small head (8 cups) red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large (1 ½ cups) Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Put oil, cabbage, apples, onion and sugar into a large pot. Pour in the vinegar and water. Add salt, pepper and cloves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes. (If you want it thicker, mix 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 2 teaspoons

cold water in a cup until smooth.)

Add to cabbage mixture and simmer on medium heat for 2-3 minutes until liquid thickens.

Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition facts

Serving size, ½ cup; calories, 120; total fat, 3.5 grams; saturated fat, 0 grams; cholesterol, 0 milligrams; sodium, 90 milligrams (if you added optional salt); potassium, 200 milligrams; carbohydrates, 22 grams; fiber, 2.5 grams; protein, 1 gram.

Celery Seed Coleslaw

  • 14-ounce package classic coleslaw mix (or 4 ½ cups shredded
  • fresh cabbage and 1 cup shredded carrots)
  • 2 stalks (¾ cup) celery, diced
  • 1 small (¾-cup) green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons distilled vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/3 cup olive oil mayonnaise

Combine all vegetables in a large bowl. In separate small bowl, combine sugar, vinegar, olive oil, celery seed and mayonnaise. Mix well with a wire whip. Add dressing to vegetables and mix well.

Yield 10 servings.

Nutrition facts

Servings size, ½ cup; calories, 55; total fat, 3.5 grams; saturated fat, 0 grams; cholesterol, 0 milligrams; sodium, 65 milligrams; potassium, 110 milligrams; carbohydrates, 5 grams; fiber, 2 grams; protein, 1 gram; and calcium, 25 milligrams.

This soup is a great low-calorie, low-sodium vegan option.

Cabbage Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • ½ pound carrots, sliced
  • ½ bunch celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • ½ pound frozen green beans
  • 28-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 8-ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • ½ head green cabbage
  • 6 cups unsalted vegetable broth
  • ¼ bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano<
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

Add garlic and onion to a large soup pot along with the olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent. Add carrots, celery, bell pepper and frozen green beans. Add diced tomatoes (and their juices) and tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Allow the vegetables in the pot to heat while you chop the cabbage.

Chop the cabbage into 1-inch strips or squares, then add to the pot. Add the vegetable broth, chopped parsley, paprika, oregano and thyme. Stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot and bring it up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the pot to simmer until the cabbage is tender (about 20 minutes).

Finish the soup with lemon juice. Start by stirring in one tablespoon of lemon juice and add more to your liking. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition facts

Serving size, 2 cups; calories, 120; total fat, 2 grams; saturated fat, 0 grams; cholesterol, 0 milligrams; sodium, 200 milligrams; potassium, 730 milligrams; carbohydrates, 22 grams; fiber, 6 grams; protein, 3 grams.