Crunchy Cabbage

Crunchy Cabbage

Cabbage is one of the first real staple veggies to make it into the CSA and market. Crunchy, super healthy, and easy to cook with or eat raw, we love cabbage at our farm. We grow it throughout spring, summer, and fall. 

Napa cabbage is the first to appear at market in May and June, followed by green and red cabbages in early July. We tend to have cabbage available all summer long at the market through much of fall (usually at least through Thanksgiving). We include cabbage frequently in our CSA as well: about four times during the main season CSA and 1-2 times in fall shares. Napa cabbage is included 1-2 times in spring shares, 1-2 times in summer shares, and often once in fall shares.

What we grow 

Our goal in growing cabbage is to have manageable heads that aren’t more than three pounds. We do this so that one head of cabbage feels manageable and can be easily used by a normal household of eaters. This size goes for all types of cabbage we grow, and we accomplish this by planting them close together! 

We grow three main types of cabbage:

  • Napa (above center): also called Chinese Cabbage, Napa cabbage is a variety that originated near Beijing. It has light, tender leaves, little to no core, and an oblong shape. It’s flavor is very similar to regular green cabbage, and can be used much the same way. Because of its very leafy texture, it’s very delicious raw, and because of it’s wide, broad leaves, people love to use it for cabbage rolls. 
  • Green (above left and right): inside this broad category of cabbage, we grow three subvarieties.
    • We grow a “salad type” for green cabbage that is tender, small, tastes great fresh, and stores only 2-weeks on average. 
    • We grow kraut-style cabbages which are sweet with a medium tenderness and medium storage capacity of 1-2 months.
    • In the fall, we grow storage cabbages which are drier and sweeten in storage. These are great cabbages to buy in late fall to use throughout the winter. They can easily store for 3+ months in your fridge.
  • Red: these beautiful cabbages tend to have the most issues with disease, so we tend to only grow them in the late summer and fall. Red cabbage heads tend to be small and tense, with thicker leaves that need a little more time to breakdown/wilt before eating. They are quite sweet and sweeten more with cooking.

Storage & use tips 

When we harvest cabbage, we leave extra leaves to protect the heads during packing and storing. You will want to leave these leaves on for storage, even if they look a little beaten up. It’s great for protecting the head. 

For short-term storage, full heads of green and red cabbage can be stored in the crisper. When you are ready to use them, peel off the outermost leaves as well as any that may have gotten wilty in storage. For longer storage, place heads inside a loose bag before putting them into the crisper. This will help them retain their moisture and crunch. They can store months like this.

For Napa cabbage, you will want to store the full head unwashed in a plastic bag. It is much more perishable than other varieties of cabbage, lasting only a couple weeks in the crisper. It is more leafy so more prone to wilting if not stored properly. The same rule applies with extra leaves left on to protect the head, so remove these outer leaves before use.

Photo by: Table for Two

Long-term storage

Aside from the methods listed above, cabbage is a great candidate for long-term preservation. You can preserve cabbage via fermentation (both sauerkraut and kimchi use fermentation) or freeze it in cabbage rolls or cabbage roll casserole

Those new to fermentation, can find great resources online to support them!! We love Sandor Katz of Wild Fermentation (which is a GREAT book to pick up for all things fermentation). His website has a great Sauerkraut recipe. You can find that here: There’s also a YouTube video of him making sauerkraut that you may find helpful. 

Kimchi is Korean fermented cabbage that usually uses Napa Cabbage (though any cabbage could work) paired with garlic, ginger, scallions, daikon, and other Korean flavors. Again, you can find tons of great recipes and resources online. There are even books on kimchi-style fermentation if you really want to master it. We love this blog post as a place to start. She includes both a recipe and a short video to help you learn technique. 

Photo by: Culinary Hill

How to cut a cabbage and napa cabbage 

Something we frequently hear from first-time CSA members or those new to cooking with cabbage is not understanding quite how to cut it up. The best way to cut a cabbage is to shred it into thin pieces. You can do this by cutting the cabbage in half, removing the thick triangular core near the stem, cutting in half again, and then cutting each quarter section crosswise into thin strips. This blog post has more detailed instructions (with photos). And this YouTube video shows how to do the same thing (basically), but with a Napa cabbage

These resources essentially just teach you one method, which will be great for slaws and other cabbage salads, quick sautes, etc. However, there are other ways to cut cabbage based on what you plan to make with it. 

If you are looking to make cabbage steaks, sauerkraut, or cabbage rolls, those will all require different methods. A quick google search “how to cut cabbage for…” is a great way to find the best cutting method for different preparations if the recipe doesn’t provide instructions. 

How we eat cabbage at our house

Like I said, we grow a LOT of cabbage at our farm. We seriously love its versatility and complex nutrition. Most often, we make a giant slaw with whatever other veggies we have to use up and set it on the table with bowls before dinner and it is gone before the main meal even starts! Slaws are incredibly versatile and can easily incorporate shredded root vegetables, chopped herbs, kohlrabi, onion, fennel, etc. 

Here’s a few other simple preparations we love:

  • Cabbage is also amazing because of the way it cooks down. We frequently cut up a half of a cabbage, saute it with olive oil or butter, salt and pepper for a quick side dish to any meal.
  • We love adding it to sandwiches for a generous crunch. You can toss it with a light vinaigrette first to slightly wilt or just throw it on raw. We usually go quite simple here (think turkey sandwich), but if you want to be seriously inspired, check out this Chicken Cutlet Sandwich with a Crunchy Slaw.
  • We love adding shredded cabbage into green salads. It pairs well with lettuce, kale, or whatever else is the base of your salad, adding complexity in texture without overpowering. 
  • We’ll cut up a whole cabbage the way outlined above and then just keep it in the fridge to throw it into whatever we’re eating throughout the week. I’ll add some to leftovers before reheating, throw into soups, or add to any other cold lunch for crunch. 

A lot of ways to eat cabbage- 9 great recipes!

Photo by: Bon Appetit

Classic Coleslaw

Recipe very barely adapted from: Bon Appetit
If you only have one type of cabbage, feel free to use the whole thing instead of half of a green and half of a red.

Yield: 8 servings
Time: 15 minutes


1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup whole fat Greek yogurt

1½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

¾ teaspoon celery seeds

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ medium green cabbage, very thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

½ medium red cabbage, very thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

2 medium carrots, peeled; julienned or grated


  1. Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, honey, celery seeds, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl to combine.
  2. Add green cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots to dressing and toss to coat. Cover and chill until ready to serve. 

Egg Roll in a Bowl
Recipe by: The Girl Who Ate Everything

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 15 minutes


1 pound ground beef or pork

1 teaspoon minced garlic

14 ounces shredded cabbage

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons sriracha

1 whole egg

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons sliced green onions


  1. In a large skillet, brown the pork or beef until no longer pink. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the cabbage/coleslaw, soy sauce, ginger, and saute until desired tenderness. You can add a little water if you need more liquid to saute the coleslaw down.
  2. Make a well in the center of the skillet and add the egg. Scramble until done over low heat.
  3. Stir in sriracha. Drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with green onions. Add additional soy sauce and sriracha if desired.
Photo by: Eat Well 101

Cheesy Baked Cabbage Steaks

Recipe by: Eat Well 101

Yield: 5 servings
Time: 30 minutes


1 head of green cabbage, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch steaks

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 garlic cloves, grated

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  1. To make the roasted cabbage steaks: Preheat your oven to 425°F (225ºC). Combine olive oil, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, 1/3 of the parmesan, and Italian seasoning in a small bowl. Arrange cabbage slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and brush with the mixture.
  2. Roast the cabbage steaks until tender and golden, about 20 minutes. Remove cabbage from the oven and top each cabbage steak with shredded mozzarella and another 1/3 of the Parmesan.
  3. Switch your oven to broil mode and broil cabbage steaks until the cheese is bubbly and golden for about 3 minutes. Serve the cheesy roasted cabbage steaks sprinkled with remaining Parmesan, chopped parsley, and red pepper flakes. 
Photo by: Heartful Table

Vegan Cabbage Rolls in Tomato Sauce

Recipe by: Heartful Table
Though we are not vegetarian or vegan, I have to say these cabbage rolls are something we love. You can add cheese or you can add meat in place of lentils if you like, but as is, this is a great recipe and offers a great template for meatless meals. 

Yield: 8 rolls
Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes


1 large head green cabbage


1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped

1 small red bell pepper, roughly chopped

2 medium carrots, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 can brown lentils (or 1 ⅓ cup cooked lentils)

½ cup rolled oats

⅓ cup medium-grain white rice, washed and drained

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup parsley, finely chopped

1½ teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small brown onion, finely chopped

2 small cans (14.10 ounces) diced tomatoes

2–4 cups vegetable stock, or cabbage water

2 dried bay leaves

Salt (optional)


  1. Prepare the cabbage: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Using a paring knife, cut on an angle around the base of the cabbage head and remove as much of the core as you can. Gently remove 8 leaves from the base by peeling back each leaf by the rib. As you do so, make sure that the leaf you’re peeling back is the outermost leaf so that it comes away easily. Set the rest of the cabbage aside for later.
  3. Place the leaves in the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. (I place my tongs open in the pot to keep the leaves completely submerged in the water.) Using tongs, remove the leaves from water and let them sit in a colander to drain excess water and cool. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the filling: While the cabbage leaves cook, place the onion, bell pepper and carrots in a food processor with the S blade and pulse until you have a finely chopped consistency. 
  5. In a large skillet on medium-high heat, add in the veggies and saute until all the water has evaporated. Add in the olive oil and saute for a further couple of minutes. Then add in the rest of the filling ingredients and mix well. Take off the heat and set aside.
  6. Prepare the sauce: In a large pot on medium-high heat (and one that will fit 8 cabbage rolls, I use my cast iron pot), add in the olive oil and onion, saute for a few minutes until translucent and fragrant. Pour in the cans of tomatoes, stir well and let it simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes while rolling your cabbage rolls. Stir occasionally.
  7. Make the rolls: Take one leaf, and with a pairing knife, cut the rib off. Place the leaf on a flat surface with the rib side facing you. 
  8. Scoop ⅓-½ cup (depending on the size of your cabbage leaf) of the filling mixture and place it at the end closest to you with a couple of inches left so you can roll it. Make the filling nice and compact and roll the rib side of the leaf over the filling and slightly tug it towards yourself to make it nice and compact. Bring in the sides of the leaf over the middle, and then roll it tightly. Think about how you would roll a burrito; it’s the same method. 
  9. Repeat this process for the rest of the cabbage and filling. 
  10. With the remainder of the cabbage head we set aside earlier, cut it in half and shred it nice and fine. I chop it very thinly. This step is totally optional but adds a lovely texture to the sauce. 
  11. Cook the rolls: Once the tomato sauce is done, scoop out half of it and add a generous layer of shredded cabbage to the pot. Now place the cabbage rolls in nice and snug and add the rest of the tomato sauce on top. 
  12. Pour enough vegetable stock or cabbage water just to cover the cabbage rolls and add in the bay leaves. If you’re not using stock, season with salt to taste. Slightly push a couple of the cabbage rolls to the side so that some of the stock reaches the bottom of the pot and doesn’t burn when cooking. 
  13. Cook on low for 1 hour with the lid on and then for another 30 minutes on medium with the lid off. Check on it every now and then to make sure that the liquid hasn’t completely evaporated. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
  14. Serve with bread, mashed potatoes or on its own. Two cabbage rolls are ideal per serve.
Photo by: Lindo’s

Cabbage & Celery Slaw

Recipe by: Lindo’s

Yield: 6 servings
Time: 20 minutes


1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

4 cups shredded cabbage (Napa or green both work great here)

1 cup arugula leaves optional 

2/3 cup thinly sliced celery

2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions or shallot

1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar or honey 

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a skillet on medium high heat, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden. About 4- 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Combine cabbage, arugula, celery, and green onions in a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, and ginger until sugar has dissolved. Add mayonnaise and whisk until completely combined.
  4. Gently toss the cabbage mixture with the pumpkin seeds and the dressing.

    Note: Use about half the dressing at first and toss. Season with a little freshly ground black pepper. Add more dressing until the salad is coated to your taste.
Photo by: Oh So Delicious

Cabbage Ramen Noodle Salad

Yield: 6-8 servings
Time: 20 minutes


2 (3 oz) packages of ramen noodles, crushed (discard or save flavor packets for later use)

1 cup slivered almonds

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 bunch green onions or 1/2 cup red or sweet onion, finely sliced

1 head cabbage, thinly sliced

1 cup other sliced veggies (you can use carrots grated, broccoli or cauliflower florets, grated radishes, diced celery or any combination of these)


1/4 cup sugar, honey or maple syrup

2 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce 


  1. In a heavy skillet brown the ramen noodles, almonds, sesame seeds in the oil until the sesame seeds will start popping. 
  2. When everything is toasted, mix in the scallions or onion, remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Combine the cabbage and veggies with the noodle mixture in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients. pour over the salad and serve. 
Photo by: NYTimes Cooking

Parmesan Cabbage Soup

Recipe by: NYTimes Cooking

Yield: 2-6 servings
Time: 40 minutes


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced or finely grated

⅛ teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving (optional)

1 small head of green cabbage (about 1¼ pounds), cored and coarsely chopped (about 9 cups)

1½ teaspoons fine sea or table salt, plus more to taste

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup long-grain rice

5 thyme sprigs

2 Parmesan rinds, or use another 2 tablespoons grated cheese

1 lemon

¼ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

1 cup chopped fresh dill or cilantro, or a combination


  1. In a stock pot or large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and red-pepper flakes (if using), and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add cabbage, salt and pepper, and cook until cabbage wilts slightly and begins to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in stock, rice and thyme. If using the Parmesan rinds, add them now, and bring everything to a simmer. Cook, partly covered, over medium-low heat until cabbage and rice are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Discard thyme sprigs and Parmesan rinds. Using a Microplane or other fine grater, grate in the zest from the lemon. Stir in grated Parmesan and dill.
  4. Halve the lemon and squeeze in the juice from half of it. Cut the remaining lemon half into wedges for serving. Taste soup and add more salt and pepper, if needed. To serve, ladle into soup bowls, and garnish with more grated cheese, a lemon wedge and more red-pepper flakes, if you like.
Photo by: Bon Appetit

Spicy Cabbage Salad With Chicken and Peanuts

Recipe by: Bon Appetit

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 10 minutes


½ medium head of Napa cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more

4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

4 teaspoons white miso

¼ teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal, plus ½ cup celery leaves

2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced on a diagonal

1 serrano chile, thinly sliced

1 cup cilantro leaves with tender stems

1 cup shredded cooked chicken or turkey meat

⅓ cup coarsely chopped salted, roasted skin-on peanuts

2 teaspoons black sesame seeds


  1. Toss cabbage and ½ tsp. salt in a large bowl. Massage vigorously with your hands until cabbage begins to release water and soften, about 2 minutes (this will both season and tenderize the leaves). Drain; set aside.
  2. Mix anchovies, lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, miso, and sugar in a large bowl; whisk in oil. Add cabbage, celery and celery leaves, scallions, chile, cilantro, and turkey meat to bowl and toss to combine; season with salt.
  3. Serve salad topped with peanuts and sesame seeds.
Photo by: Bon Appetit

Lemony Cabbage with Mint

Recipe by: Bon Appetit

Yield: 8 servings
Time: 15 minutes + 2-12 hours to sit


1 cup fresh lemon juice

Chopped fresh mint or other herbs

1 small head of cabbage (about 1½ lb.), halved, very thinly sliced

2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more (less can be used)


  1. Combine lemon juice and mint/herbs in a large bowl. Add cabbage and 2 teaspoon salt.
  2. Toss cabbage with your hands for a few minutes, squeezing to help soften (the lemon juice and salt will continue to tenderize it as it sits). Add ¼ cup oil and toss again to coat. Cover and chill at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.
  3. To serve, taste and season with more salt and drizzle with oil.

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