You might still have nightmares of the overcooked cabbage that you were served up at school or the mushy mess you remember being fed by your grandparents. But you don’t have to suffer! Cabbage can be eaten in a variety of ways. But, can you eat cabbage raw?
Yes, you can eat cabbage raw. Raw cabbage is actually used in coleslaw but you can use cabbage raw in salads, smoothies and more!
Raw cabbage is safe to eat, nutritionally beneficial and enjoyable – in most cases! It’s worth picking the most suitable variety, such as a plain white cabbage, before you start eating it raw.
What Does Raw Cabbage Taste Like?
Raw cabbage tastes very much like cooked cabbage, except that it has a fresher taste although some people find it can have a bitter aftertaste. Ultimately, it will still have a pronounced cabbage flavour, whether it’s cooked or raw.
This isn’t a problem if your palate can handle strong, bitter flavours. You can always add some extra seasoning, such as salt, paprika or garlic, to lift the taste and make it palatable. Lemon juice can also work well to balance the bitterness.
How to Eat Cabbage Raw
You have a few options to consider when you choose to eat raw cabbage, and we have a few ideas that you might like to try before you grab a leaf from the fridge and just start munching on it like a rabbit:
Everybody loves coleslaw! So, why not make yourself a fresh batch by grating in some carrots and a variety of cabbages?
All that’s left to do is add some mayonnaise and salt, and you have a delicious coleslaw to serve as a side dish with a meal.
This is the perfect example of how adding other flavours counters the bitterness of the raw cabbage.
When making any coleslaw, it’s a good idea to add a little hit of acid using vinegar and lemon, which can also combat any bitterness from the cabbage whilst also softening it up a little.
Make yourself a healthy salad lunch and grate some raw cabbage into it. This helps to lift the flavour of the salad and adds a lot of depth of flavour. Raw cabbage also adds a crunchy texture to a salad.
As cabbage tends to have quite a strong, bitter flavour, make sure you pair it with a refreshing, tangy dressing that uses a lot of citrus juice and fresh herbs.
Make your lunchtime sandwich a little healthier by switching out the bread for cabbage leaves. Fill your cabbage leaves with your favourite fillings, and then eat as you would any sandwich or wrap.
If you find the raw cabbage a little tough to eat, then you can steam it very lightly before filling, and this will soften the leaves a little. Although not strictly raw in this state, it’ll still be delicious and packed full of goodness!
Saurkraut has a flavour that can take a little getting used to, but at its simplest, it is just raw cabbage that has been fermented. This fermentation process adds healthy bacteria which makes sauerkraut super good for you.
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Another option for eating cabbage raw is, of course, kimchi, which is a spicy, Korean fermented cabbage condiment.
Make a Green Smoothie
For a healthy shot of vitamins, minerals and more you can’t beat a good green smoothie. Adding cabbage to your smoothie can really help up the level of nutrients but be wary of adding too much (unless you love the taste).
Cabbage can be pretty bitter in taste, and you will be able to taste this in your smoothie.
If you don’t mind the taste, then add some raw cabbage along with the rest of your ingredients into a blender and blitz. Drink this as soon as you can after blending to ensure you get as much goodness as possible while it is fresh.
Benefits of Eating Cabbage Raw
Cabbage contains all sorts of vitamins and minerals and is low in calories. A quick overview of cabbage can tell you just how good it is for you.
It contains vitamins K and C, Folate, Manganese, Calcium and Potassium, to name a few. It’s high in fibre and is also thought to help with inflammation.
You can get all of these nutrients from cooked cabbage, but to maximise your nutrition levels, you should try to eat your cabbage raw. The cooking process can remove some nutrients as the hot water leaches the nutrients out of the vegetable.
So you can be sure that when eating cabbage raw, you get the maximum amount of nutrients available.
Should You Eat Cabbage Raw?
Yes! You should be eating your cabbage raw.
It’s good for you, and there is absolutely no reason not to. Just ensure you wash it thoroughly to get rid of dirt, debris and any traces of pesticides first.
You should also consider the variety of cabbage you have. White, red, Chinese leaf and sweetheart cabbages can all be eaten raw enjoyably.
Other varieties, however, such as savoy, can be a lot tougher, so might be worth avoiding – even if they’re safe to eat raw.
Providing that it has been washed thoroughly, raw cabbage is entirely safe to eat. You have probably eaten raw cabbage in coleslaw without realising it!
Raw Cabbage FAQs
If you’ve got other specific questions about eating raw cabbage, then these might help:
Yes, you can eat raw red cabbage. Red cabbage is the preferred choice in coleslaw, as its vibrancy can make coleslaw more aesthetically pleasing. It won’t taste much different to most cabbage options.
Although you can eat savoy cabbage raw safely, it can be one of the toughest to eat as the leaves are often quite thick. Instead, they’re better lightly blanched, so they soften up but still retain plenty of nutrients.
Yes, you can eat raw cabbage every day if you want. It won’t harm you at all. Of course, it’s important to have a balanced diet.
Lewis is the founder and editor of Let’s Foodie alongside other food-related platforms including FreezeIt and SubstituteIt. He launched Let’s Foodie to provide aspiring cooks with one place to get the answers to some of the most commonly asked cooking questions.