Labor Day weekend is typically seen as the last hurrah of summer, as the days get shorter and kids get back into the routine of school. It offers many of us an extra day of rest to celebrate our hard work over the past year. Chances are good you’ll be firing up the grill … and you’ll need a side dish.
Cabbage is the ultimate farewell-summer side dish for several reasons.
- Green or red, a head of cabbage is an extremely affordable veggie you can usually find at your local market. Or, if you’re lucky like me, someone you love grows cabbages—often larger than your head—and happily shares them. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
- Packed with nutritious goodness, cabbage offers key vitamins and minerals your body can’t do without. Both varieties provide iron and vitamins A and C. Opt for red cabbage and you’ll get a boost of vitamin A—due to its color—and you’ll be adding the flavonoid anthocyanin, which can enhance your memory and weight loss efforts.
- Versatility is the name of the game. Cabbage instantly gets my taste buds hankering for a heaping helping of cool coleslaw, but that’s not the only way to serve it. If your end-of-summer bash ends up having an autumn chill in the air, a warm cabbage salad can fill in with ease.
If you’re like me, you couldn’t wait until the end of summer, so you’ve been making coleslaw all season long. I love how it holds up in the fridge for several days and makes my veggie choice a no-brainer when packing a lunch for work.
Much of the time, I’m a traditionalist and whip up a good ol’ mayo-based slaw. This basic recipe can be spiced up by adding diced green apple, red pepper flakes, or poppy seeds—whatever flavor you’re craving!
Cabbage allows for even more variety than that though.
- Asian coleslaw brings a completely different flavor profile to the meal in a most delightful way. With the rich addition of ginger, sesame oil, and cilantro, you will wonder why you waited so long to give it a try. As a bonus, since it doesn’t require mayo, this slaw doesn’t make you cringe when you see it sitting out on a hot summer picnic table.
- A warm cabbage slaw can be just as well received as a cold one. The recipe I love has just a handful of ingredients, including one of cabbage’s best friends—bacon. It comes together quickly and pairs with pretty much any protein you’re cooking.
- If your holiday weekend calls for more of a comfort food menu, cabbage can still play a role. Nothing says comfort like a casserole dish and Maria Atwood, CNHP, offers great recipes with her post, Vitamin Rich Casserole Recipe Bonanza! The One-Pot Cabbage Casserole recipe (toward the bottom) is sure to make you feel good and comforted.
Cabbage really is the ultimate farewell-summer side dish, no matter what your last hurrah weekend entails. What’s your favorite way to gobble up this lovely cruciferous veggie?
Image from iStock/nd3000.