How often do you eat purple cabbage? Is it relegated to a supporting role in salads, where a few slivers give your greens a little pop of color? If you haven’t celebrated the awesome purple cabbage by giving it a starring part yet, it’s time to give it a solo.
Your dinner table needs a little drama, beyond the usual veggies on the side. These deep purple, wedge-shaped little sculptures add an architectural element to your “tablescape.” When your family tires of steamed broccoli, purple cabbage wedges will wake them up.
And don’t forget the steak knife. You get to carve these up like filets of cabbage.
Purple Cabbage is Just as Cool as Kale
Now that we have brought kale from its role as a salad bar garnish to a respected vegetable, it’s time that we did the same for purple cabbage. Kale got so much buzz for its antioxidant levels, but purple cabbage is no slouch in that department. There are 20 antioxidant flavonoids and 15 phenols in cabbage, and purple cabbage adds the health benefits of anthocyanins, the pigments that are so colorful and protective at the same time.
Those very pigments are the reason that I like to use purple cabbage solo. If you’ve ever thought it would be pretty to add some to a soup, you may have experienced the awesome power of anthocyanins. The potent purples will leak out and tint the whole dish. My batch of red lentil soup that turned murky brown in the refrigerator overnight was so visually unappealing that even I had a hard time eating it.
High Heat and Herbs
That’s why this dish is a perfect way to put purple cabbage on the table. Like all cabbages, it is both sturdy and wet, so so high heat roasting is a fantastic way to soften it, sweeten it, and get some tasty caramelized crispy bits around the edges. Savory herbs and olive oil accentuate the sweetness, and make it a great dish to pair with Mediterranean flavors.
The aioli couldn’t be easier, it’s a trick all the restaurants have been using for years. Just start with good mayo and gussy it up with some olive oil, lemon and garlic. It’s infinitely faster then making your own fresh aioli. It also gives you the choice of what kind of mayo you want to start with- there are so many options, you can go vegan, high fat, low fat, whatever pleases you.
Learn to Love Purple Cabbage
So buy yourself a purple cabbage. It will be a strikingly good bargain, one of the cheaper foods you will buy all week. Make wedges. If you save a raw wedge or two, in a zipper-top bag, you can sliver them into salads and over bowls. But go ahead and roast the rest.
Shake up your veggie routine with a platter of these purple cabbage wedges, and you’re sure to please.
Roasted Purple Cabbage Wedges with Lemony Aioli
- 1 medium red cabbage
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary and thyme
- coarse salt
- freshly cracked pepper
- 1 large lemon zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise your choice
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- Preheat the oven to 425 F, and if you have convection, set it to 400 F.
- Cut the bottom of the stem from the cabbage, and cut it in half vertically. Slice it in wedges, about 2 inches thick at the widest part, leaving the core intact.
- Spread olive oil on a sheet pan, and place the cabbage wedges on the oil. Sprinkle with herbs, salt, pepper, and more oil.
- Roast for about 20 minutes, then carefully turn the wedges and roast for 10 minutes longer. The leaves will be crisped around the edges. Let cool.
- For aioli, stir a tablespoon or so of lemon juice and a glug of olive oil into the mayo, stir in parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.
- Serve wedges napped with aioli and sprinkled with lemon zest and more herbs.