Did you know there are more than 400 varieties of cabbage grown around the world?
The most common ones include the Napa cabbage, green, savoy, and of course, red cabbage.
Since you are here today, maybe you picked up some fresh red cabbage at the grocery store and are wondering what you can do with it.
However, before you plow ahead with the recipes, it’s vital to first learn what does red cabbage taste like.
Once familiar with its flavor, you can determine which recipes will best complement its taste.
In this article, we’ll explore the flavor profile of red cabbage and provide tips on how to cook it.
What is Red Cabbage?
Simply put, red cabbage is a variety of cabbage belonging to the cruciferous category- the same as cauliflower, bok choy, kale, broccoli, etc.
Appearance-wise, the red cabbage’s color can vary from dark red to purple; hence they’re also often known as purple cabbage.
But why the variation in color?
That simply depends on the PH value of the soil they grow in.
These cabbages are usually purple in neutral soils, whereas acidic soils give them a red or bluish tint.
While the different varieties of cabbage can easily substitute for one another in many recipes, red cabbage is preferably eaten raw as they are refreshing.
What Does Red Cabbage Taste Like?
All types of cabbages taste similar, but some have stronger notes than others.
The taste of red cabbage (or purple) is, however, said to be very close to that of the white (green) variety.
But the red one is more intense and has a more peppery taste.
It’s also fresh and so quite suitable for salads.
When cooked, its bitterness gives way to a milder and sweeter flavor.
But cooking the cabbage can make it more pungent, and overcooking it can ruin a dish.
Hence, you must be careful when making a dish with red cabbage.
Humans have been growing and eating cabbage since ancient times, but its popularity hasn’t diminished at all.
Instead, it seems to have become even more popular with time.
Earlier, people only used it in a few recipes. But now, there are hundreds of recipes with cabbage as the main ingredient.
Red cabbage, however, appears in dishes where you don’t have to cook it.
It’s because the red variety is best when you eat it raw, as it refreshes your palate and balances the flavor of other dishes.
Red cabbage is also called purple cabbage because it is available in these two colors.
Cabbages have similar nutrient profiles.
However, the red variety is higher in vitamin A compared to green cabbage.
It’s also richer in beneficial plant compounds.
One cup (89gms) of sliced or chopped red cabbage has 28 calories.
It has 1gm protein, 2gms fiber, 7gms carbs, vitamins A, C, K, and B6, thiamine, riboflavin, and potassium.
Red cabbage contains anthocyanins which give the red or purple shade.
They have protective antioxidant properties, so consuming red cabbage can be beneficial for your health.
How to Cook and Use Red Cabbage?
As we said earlier, red cabbage is preferably eaten raw and fresh.
They add a refreshing flavor, crunchy texture, and a beautiful color to salads.
You can also use them in coleslaws or as an alternative to lettuce in wraps.
If you’re looking to cook red cabbage, you can sauté, steam, or simmer them – anything you like.
Steaming is the best method to retain nutrients and color.
Remember, when cooked, the compounds that give red cabbage its color will dilute in water.
Hence the leaves tend to lose color.
So, if the cabbage color is important to you, we suggest you either steam them or simply enjoy them raw.
Another trick to protect the color is to always add a little acidity, such as vinegar, wine, or lemon juice while cooking red cabbage.
It’ll help bring out their flavor and prevent them from discoloring.
Besides you can also add shredded red cabbage to soups or stews towards the end of the cooking time.
Here are some more ideas on how to use red cabbage:
- Roasted with other root vegetables.
- Sautéed with bacon and onions.
- Stir-fried with Asian greens.
- Braised with apples and served as a side dish.
- Mix shredded red cabbage with a mayo-based dressing and enjoy a quick snack.
If you have been wondering what red cabbage tastes like, now you know.
It has a peppery flavor when raw and a mild and sweeter taste when cooked.
But it’s more nutritious when eaten raw, so you can add it to various salads.
You’ll have a fresh-tasting dish that can complement the other cooked dishes nicely.
If you want to consume it cooked, make sure not to overcook the veggie, or you’ll be left with a soggy and strong smell that can be unappetizing.
You can check out the recipes mentioned in the previous section and add red cabbage as instructed.