Why I love cabbage on a keto diet
Cabbage contains only 2.3 grams of net carbohydrates in a single cup, making it a coveted food for anyone on the keto diet. If you are looking for something filling and low in carbs, look no further. You could really chow down before it would have any effect on your state of ketosis.
I’ve seen quite a few fellow bloggers getting pretty creative with leaves lately. You could try the leaves as a substitute for sandwich bread and pile on your low carb sandwich fixings or replace tortillas for tacos and burritos. Bready wraps of all kind can easily be replaced with cabbage for an ultra-low carb version of your favorite dishes. Think pitas, naan, tortillas, etc. Minimal carbs, zero guilt.
The low carb count of the veggie isn’t the only reason I would recommend including cabbage in your ketogenic diet, it is also incredibly high in nutrients as well. You get 20 percent more than the daily-recommended allowance of vitamin K and vitamin C when you consume it. The vegetable has no fats, no cholesterol, and it is high in folate and vitamin B6. It’s kind of like a nutrient-dense blank canvas to work with.
The health benefits are also substantial. It contains both glucosinolates and sulforaphane, two unique phytochemicals that help in instigating the production of enzymes that detox the body during the metabolic process.
Some scientists suggest a link between colon cancer defense and the consumption of cabbage. The vegetable, particularly the purple variant, contains anti-carcinogenic attributes called anthocyanins. The Vitamin C is an immune system booster, and the fiber in cabbage aids digestive processes. The vegetable is even rich in Sulphur, aiding your defense against infections.
Curious where it stacks up in comparison to other vegetables? Check out the low carb vegetable list I put together!
Eaten raw the vegetable can prove a bit bitter, but it can be a tasty addition to many salads. When roasted, cabbage really shines, taking on an almost buttery taste and texture. If cooked in soups or broths, the flavor can be washed out by competing flavors in the dish. If you are looking to disguise the veggie flavor (thinking of you, fellow mamas with picky eaters!), this can be good. But if you are looking to highlight the natural flavor profile, pick ingredients that will complement the cabbage rather than overpowering it.
Preparation techniques include: raw, braised, sautéed, stewed, roasted, steamed, pickled, stir-fried and fermented.
There are so many ways to eat and cook this veggie, but I’m partial to fermenting it! The process is incredibly easy and the flavors fermentation deliver are like none other. I recommend starting out with sauerkraut or kimchi.
Whatever your preferred method of cooking, the heads should be of a good color with a firm, nicely packed, crisp leaves.
Cabbage pairs well with the following combinations:
- Bacon + Blue Cheese (especially with red varieties)
- Carraway Seeds + Vinegar
- Red Onions + Dijon Mustard
LOW CARB CABBAGE RECIPES
This keto egg roll in a bowl recipe tastes just like an egg roll without all the carbs!
I'm partial to fermentation when it comes to cabbage. Here's a link to my how-to post to try it for yourself with only two ingredients: 2-Ingredient Sauerkraut Recipe.
Low Carb Cabbage Recipe Roundup
- Kalyn's Kitchen's Roasted Cabbage with Lime and Sriracha looks amazing. I'm dying to try this! Anything with Sriracha is bound to be on fire.
- These Garlic Roasted Cabbage Steaks look super yum and stupid easy. Who doesn't love that?
- Lea's Cooking features a Delicious Cabbage Pie using low carb ingredients, but she does use 6 tablespoons of flour. You may want to give this a try with an alternative low carb flour.
Everything you could ever want to know about cabbage (... and more!)
Cabbage is a vegetable that is purple, white or green in color and comes from a type of plant that grows in wild fields. The plant is closely related to Brussels sprouts (in fact, the sprouts look just like mini heads of cabbage), cauliflower, and broccoli, all of which are cold crops. A cruciferous veggie, this plant is very common in dishes in Irish, Italian, and Chinese cultures.
The word cabbage originates from the French caboche meaning head. There are hundreds of different kinds globally. In the United States, the most common variants are Savoy, red, and green cabbage. In terms of cabbage variants, you will find cavalo nero, literally Black Cabbage, or Tuscan cabbage feature purplish to near black colored leaves. Usually, when you see the word choy in reference to a cabbage, it is a Chinese variant of the plant. The term choy translates into the word “vegetable.” Examples include Gai choy, Bok choy, and Choy sum, among others. Meanwhile, Nappa Cabbage has a mild flavor and is served in cooked and raw dishes alike.
When it comes to the common green veggie available in today’s markets, the leaves are a light to dark green, and the leaves are hearty and thick. The head is tightly packed and as you move inward, the leaves colorings begin to fade to white
Red cabbage can be shaded to dark purple, and has more nutrients than its green counterpart seeing it offers up to 56 percent more vitamin C per serving. Finally, the heads with leaves that are fluffy, ruffled, wrinkled, and yellow are heads of Savoy. This lettuce is mild in both its appearance and flavor, and is the preferred choice for dishes such as homemade coleslaw and fresh salads.
During the fall months, Danish green is quite common, while springtime brings the pointed varieties to the market, the latter of which hosts leaves that are smooth and pointed heads. The domestic cabbage is common year round, featuring slightly brittle green, curly leaves.
Let us know how it goes!
With so many variations of the vegetable, there is no end to what you can do in terms of creating exciting Ketogenic diet-friendly recipes. We invite you to try the dishes here, create your own, and share with us your tasty creations in the comments section below!
Hi, I'm Tasha–nutritionist, recipe developer, and multi-published cookbook author.
Thanks for the shout-out!
Absolutely! Love your blog, it's a great!
Lea's Cooking says
I love cabbage in any recipe! Thank you for sharing with us 🙂
Do you have any easy keto friendly kimchi recipes thanks
Thanks for the article! My wife and I, both doing keto, love cabbage; it's the Irish in us. 😉 I thought I would mention a cooking method that you didn't. Smoked cabbage. Core the cabbage, stuff with your keto friendly sausage of choice, smoke on 250 for 4-5 hours, until it's your desired tenderness. Wrapping in foil after a couple hours will speed up the time too. Baste with butter every hour. Chop up and serve mixed with the sausage. Another method I use is to give the cabbage a rough chop, mix in some chopped bacon (raw) and season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, coriander and a couple cloves of garlic. Smoke in a metal pan on 250 for 4-5 hours, covering with foil after about two hours. Either method works well with corned beef or brats (in natural casings, please). Enjoy! And thanks again! 🙂
Tasha Metcalf says
Smoked cabbage sounds amazing! I'm totally trying this out, we have been using our smoker non-stop lately. This is happening ASAP! You rule, Eric. 🙂
Love this article! I'm a huge cooking nerd and my number one gripe (downright hatred) of nutrition-based eating is most blogs think it's all about a vessel of nutrients to sustain the body rather than what it really is: food and ingredients.
It's SO nice to see a nutrition blogger who touches on the benefits of the ingredients as a food and not just a pile of vitamins. Your description of the different types of cabbages, how they taste, ways to cook them, etc is a refreshing reprieve and has inspired a confidence in me to try a keto diet that I just didn't have before.
My boyfriend has been wanting to try a keto diet for a long time but I loathed the idea of giving up parts of my biggest hobby (cooking). I think I'm finally over it and willing to give it a real honest try - even with the holidays coming up.
Thanks for reminding me that I don't have to choose keto over cooking - they can easily be one in the same once I get over my horrible stubbornness. 🙂
Tasha Metcalf says
Cooking is my first love. I started keto after a PCOS diagnosis and thought the same thing, that I'd have to give up one of my favorite hobbies and eat a bunch of boring stuff. So not the case! If anything, I feel like the carb restriction has forced me to stretch my imagination and try things I normally wouldn't have.
I'm glad you get me. A lot of people don't. 🙂
Thank you for the lovely compliment. It really made my day!
My quick, on the way out meal.... a juicy hamburger wrapped in cabbage. Quicky and yummy!
Melly Kay says
Don't forget Keto coleslaw! Cabbage, mayo, celery seed, minced onion, apple cider vinegar and stevia or other sugar substitute. A whole cup is under 3 carbs!
Liana Ekawati says
Thank you so much for sharing. This is very helpful.