Cabbages and Kale

To say these are trying times is more than just an understatement. It's nearly laughable. Between wondering where all the toilet paper went and attempting to work from home (if you're lucky) while getting your kids to do something beyond look at screens (again, if you're lucky), there's that ever-nagging question that somehow doesn't manage to take a break even during the throes of a global pandemic. What do I do with all these green things?

In an admirable effort to keep fresh vegetables in menus and on the table, many of us have wisely turned to the members of the plant Brassica Oleracea. Everything from cabbages and cauliflower to kohlrabi and kale are in the family and they store well, cook beautifully, and work well in fresh items like salads as well. But ... sometimes we're not sure how to use them even though we know they are good for us. That's where this guide (and even more recipes to be found by keyword search) come in. You knew about cole slaw, but if you fire up your grill and work some chicken into the mix, you'll have an amazing main dish meal. And kohlrabi, while crunchy and sweet almost like apple, is amazing in crispy fried fritters.

Below, we've shared ten of our favorite recipes involving the family Brassica Oleracea. Find a few and add them to your menu plans. You'll be adding lots of great nutrition to your table and using vegetables that can truly carry us through this challenging time.

Kohlrabi-Carrot Fritters

  • 2 kohlrabi
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp. coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (you can also use chipotle pepper or, if you prefer less heat, smoked paprika)
  • ½ c. canola oil (enough for ¼-inch depth in your skillet)

Prepare the vegetables by cutting the leaves off the kohlrabi and peeling the bulbs. Peel the carrot. Shred the vegetables using a food processor or a box grater. Squeeze the shredded vegetables between 2 sheets of paper towels to remove the moisture, then add them to a mixing bowl with the egg, salt, and cayenne pepper. Mix to combine.

Place the oil in a large skillet (enough for ¼-inch depth). Heat it over medium high heat, then place small patties of the fritter mixture into the oil. Fry the patties on one side until they are browned, then carefully turn them and fry them lightly on the other side. Remove the patties and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain away the excess oil.

Serve the fritters hot. They are wonderful when topped with fresh chopped tomatoes & herbs or spicy mayonnaise.

  • Yields: 2-3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cider Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

  • 4 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
  • ¼ c. apple cider

Fry the bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until nearly crisp. Add the sprouts and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes until the bacon is crisp and the sprouts are tender.

Carefully add the apple cider and cook, stirring constantly, until the cider is thickened and the sprouts and bacon are coated. Serve warm.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Bang Bang Shrimp & Broccoli

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 3 -5 drops hot chili sauce, just a few drops
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/2-3/4 cup cornstarch
  • Peanut or canola oil, for frying
  • 1 lb. broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces

Mix the mayo and sauces to make a thick sauce. Set aside.

Bread the shrimp in cornstarch.

Pan fry the shrimp until lightly browned, using peanut or canola oil. Once shrimp is nearly done, add the broccoli and stir-fry lightly until crisp-tender, 5-8 minutes. Add the mayo mixture and stir until the shrimp and broccoli are well-coated and everything is fully-warmed. Serve over rice.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Stuffed Cabbage Soup

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 c. diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 head (about 1 lb.) cabbage, chopped
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 2 cans diced roasted tomatoes
  • 6 c. beef or chicken broth
  • 1-2 c. cooked rice (leftover rice is great)
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 T. honey
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper

Brown the ground beef and Italian sausage in a stockpot. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon to a separate dish. Leave some of the rendered fat, about 1-2 tablespoons, in the pot and add the onions. Sauté until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes; add the garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Add the cabbage, and cook for a few minutes until it softens.

Add the remaining ingredients; stir to combine. Bring to a boil; let simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until everything is heated through.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Grilled Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad

For the salad:
  • 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tamari
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium-sized green cabbage, cut into quarters
  • 3 fennel bulbs, sliced in half on the diagonal
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup chopped mint leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped basil leaves
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale
  • 1 cup finely chopped rainbow chard
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • ⅓ cup roasted peanuts
For the dressing:
  • 2 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tamari
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix the tamari with one tablespoon of the olive oil and pour over the chicken breast (in a dish) turning chicken to coat. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes (up to 4 hours), while the grill is being prepared. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, until it reaches about 400°F internally.

Brush the cabbage and fennel pieces with olive oil and salt. Grill the cabbage on all sides, about 3 minutes each side. Move the cabbage to the side of grill where no flame has been ignited to allow it to cook further using the indirect heat cooking method. Remove the fennel to a heat proof dish and allow it to cool.

Add the chicken to the hot side of the grill. Allow it to sear by not moving it and letting it cook on one side for 4 minutes. Then flip chicken breast, and cook for another 8-10 minutes, depending on thickness of the chicken, until internal temperature reaches 160°F. Remove the cabbage and chicken from grill, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Cut out the core from each cabbage wedge and thinly slice the cabbage leaves. Chop the grilled fennel into bite-sized pieces. Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the chicken.

Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large glass pan or bowl.

In a jar with a resealable lid, combine all of the dressing ingredients, affix the lid, and shake vigorously to form a smooth dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to combine.

  • Yields: 10-12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes, plus marinating time

Falafel and Hummus Bowls

  • 16 oz. canned chickpeas, drained
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small head cauliflower prepared as Curried Crack Roasted Veggies
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup sliced mixed tomatoes
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced into ribbons or noodles
  • ⅔ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup chopped cucumber
  • 1 cup hummus

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Process the drained chickpeas, cumin, cilantro, olive oil, and garlic in a food processor until combined into a smooth and fragrant paste. Using an ice cream scoop, place scoopfuls of the falafel mixture on a large baking sheet, carefully pressing the tops of the scoops to form patties. Place the falafel patties and the curried cauliflower into the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and the falafel patties are crisp on the outside.

While the cauliflower and falafel bake, prepare the bowls. Microwave the kale for 1-2 minutes, just until wilted. Arrange the kale, tomatoes, and carrot noodles in the bowls.

Stir the yogurt and the cucumber together and set aside.

When the falafel and cauliflower are done baking, remove them from the oven and add 1-2 falafel patties and a portion of the curried cauliflower to each bowl. Top with hummus and yogurt sauce and serve immediately. Enjoy with warm pita bread or pita chips.

  • Yields: 3-4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Spaghetti Squash Stir-Fry

  • 1 (3-lb) spaghetti squash
  • ½ c. water
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 c. green cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 large sweet pepper, chopped
  • 16 oz. medium shrimp
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 T. rice vinegar
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 2 T. soy sauce - choose a gluten free variety as desired
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. water mixed with ½ tsp. cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Split the squash in half, lengthwise, and scrape out and discard the seeds. Place the squash halves cut side down in a large baking dish; carefully pour the water around them. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until the flesh of the squash is soft before removing to cool for 10 minutes.

While the squash is baking, chop the onion, cabbage, and pepper; set aside. Peel and devein the shrimp; refrigerate until ready to use.

When the squash has cooled a bit, remove the flesh from the shell using a fork to create "noodles"; set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the butter until melting. Add the garlic clove and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the rice vinegar, maple syrup, soy sauce, and crushed red pepper; stir to combine. Add the water-cornstarch mixture and allow the sauce to thicken. Add the onion, cabbage, and pepper; stir-fry in the sauce for 6 minutes. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until pink and fully cooked. Add the squash "noodles" and stir to fully incorporate and heat through. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 ½ hours

Everything Salad

  • 2 c. each - chopped kale and red chard
  • ½ c. chopped red cabbage
  • ½ c. shredded carrots
  • ½ c. chopped broccoli
  • ½ c. peas
  • ½ c. pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ c. sliced almonds
  • ¼ c. cooked, crumbled bacon
  • ¼ c. sliced green onions
  • 2 T. ginger ale
  • 2 T. tahini sauce
  • 1 T. cider vinegar
  • 1 T. maple syrup
  • 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

In a large serving bowl, combine the first ten ingredients (kale through green onions). Set aside.

In a small resealable jar combine the ginger ale, tahini sauce, cider vinegar, maple syrup, and extra-virgin olive oil. Seal the jar and shake it vigorously to combine.

Toss the dressing with the rest of the salad in the large serving bowl. Taste and add salt and/or pepper as needed.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Spicy Venison-Vegetable Stir-Fry

  • 1 lb. thinly sliced venison tenderloin steaks (or beef tenderloin steaks)
  • 1 T. freshly grated ginger root
  • 1-2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. sesame oil, divided
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 c. peeled, thinly sliced daikon radish
  • 2 c. thinly sliced savoy cabbage
  • 2 c. julienned carrot sticks
  • 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 T. sriracha or other Asian hot sauce (optional)
  • Hot cooked noodles or rice (or rice wrappers for tucking this mixture inside)

Place the sliced meat, ginger root, crushed red pepper, soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil in a large, resealable bag. This step can be completed up to 48 hours in advance, but please allow at least 8 hours for the meat to marinate in the refrigerator.

Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil in a large, nonstick skillet or wok. Add the meat and stir-fry until it is completely browned: about 7 minutes. Remove the meat to a plate and keep warm. In the meantime, add the vegetables (red onion through carrot sticks) and stir-fry until they are crisp-tender: about 7 minutes. Return the meat to the skillet or wok; add the rice wine vinegar, honey, and hot sauce (if desired). Toss with the meat and vegetables until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Serve hot over noodles or rice. You could also serve the stir-fry in rice wrappers or lettuce leaves.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Surf and Turf Glass Noodles

  • 1 T. miso paste
  • 2 c. water
  • 1-2 small packages bean thread noodles
  • 1 T. peanut oil
  • 8 oz. sirloin steak
  • 4 oz. grape tomatoes
  • 1 c. coarsely chopped red cabbage
  • 2/3 c. shredded carrot
  • 1/4 c. thinly sliced green onions
  • 8 oz. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 T. hoisin sauce
  • 1 T. fried garlic, for topping
  • Hot sauce, for topping (optional)

In a medium saucepan, dissolve the miso paste in the water and bring to a low simmer over medium heat. When bubbles begin to form, add the bean thread noodles, cover the pan, and turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat in a skillet and brown the steak well on both sides, allowing 3-5 minutes per side. Remove the steak from the pan and allow to rest on a cutting board.

Add the grape tomatoes, cabbage, carrot, and about half of the green onions to the skillet and sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cover the skillet to allow them to cook and turn entirely pink. Slice the steak into bite-sized pieces while you allow the shrimp to cook.

Return the steak to the skillet and, using a pair of tongs, remove the softened bean thread noodles from the saucepan and add them to the skillet as well. Add the hoisin sauce and toss the contents of the skillet to evenly coat everything. If needed, add some of the broth from the saucepan to the skillet. Spoon the noodle dish into serving bowls and sprinkle with the reserved green onions and fried garlic. Drizzle with hot sauce as desired before enjoying.

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes