We are cabbage lovers. Red or green, it makes no difference. It can be prepared in so many ways and eaten raw in salads. Today I’m going to share a spicy steamed cabbage that can be eaten as a side dish or on its own as the main part of a meal.
This recipe comes from collection of recipes found in The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory. If you’re unfamiliar with it, the Daniel Fast follows the guidelines set forth in the Bible in the Book of Daniel. It’s a 21 day program in which a participant eats a vegan diet with only water to drink and unleavened bread to accompany a meal. It’s strict, but I do have respect for the process. The recipes are tasty without trying to see just how much the guidelines can be bent (a pet peeve of mine). The author of the book also has a website, so feel free to check it out if you’d like more information.
The original recipe is called Jamaican Steamed Cabbage and calls for scotch bonnets (aka habanero peppers) which are a staple in Caribbean cuisine. Good luck finding them in Spain. I substituted an Italian bell pepper and red pepper flakes in order to jack up the heat. Instead of the original allspice I substituted cinnamon, ground cloves and nutmeg for a nice flavor which plays up the inherent sweetness of the cabbage and carrots.
As much as we love cabbage, a large head is way too much for two people. I like raw cabbage in salad and leftovers, but not an entire week of them! Sometimes you’ll find heads that have been cut into smaller pieces, but when you can’t find them, the cello bags of shredded cabbage found in the produce section work well. They’re much more expensive but you’ll save a little prep time and prevent possible waste and endless bowls of cabbage. You’ll have to decide what fits your family best.
This recipe also made an awesome filling for a midnight snack quesadilla. It would be great in homemade spring rolls, too.
- ½ pound cabbage, outer leaves and core removed, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
- 2 - 3 grated carrots
- 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced (I used a long, thin Italian pepper that was milder than a jalapeno)
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced fine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- generous pinch red pepper flake
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- generous pinch nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup water
- Heat the oil and red pepper flakes in a large skillet, dutch oven or wok.
- Saute the onions, garlic and bell pepper until they begin to soften.
- Add the carrots, cabbage and spices. Stir well to coat with oil and distribute the seasoning.
- Pour in the water and cover the pan with a lid.
- Reduce the heat and steam the cabbage until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.
As you can imagine, controlling the heat in this dish is a matter of controlling the amount and type of pepper used. I can tolerate more heat than Rick, but I’m pretty sure the amounts I used aren’t equivalent to a scotch bonnet. How about you? Are you a fan of spicy food?
Edit February 2016: This has been one of the more popular recipes on the blog. There must be a lot of cabbage lovers out there! Not that I needed an excuse to make this dish, but I’ve updated the photos.