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Savoy Cabbage

The properties of a truly unique vegetable

Savoy cabbage is a variety of cabbage. It is characterised by a darker shade of the leaves, which are also rougher and wrinkled. It is a biennial plant that tends to free itself from seasonal criteria. It is cultivated all over the world, and in northern Italy, it is one of the main ingredients of local cuisine. This vegetable has a lot to offer in terms of nutrition, organoleptic properties, and gastronomy.

It has a lot of trace elements; potassium is one of the most prevalent ones, along with phosphorus, calcium, and sulphur. It also has substantial amounts of vitamin A and a lot of vitamin C. Because savoy cabbage has a very high dietary fibre level, it is also regarded as a veggie that can help balance digestive processes. Lastly, the caloric intake is essentially negligible: 100 grammes of product provide only 27 kcal.

The varieties of savoy cabbage

Savoy cabbage is actually a variety of cabbage, so it would be inappropriate to talk about different varieties. However, there are different crops that differ in both taste and appearance. The reference, in particular, is to the green and yellow savoy cabbage.

The most popular kind is the green savoy cabbage, which depicts the common perception of having wrinkly leaves. It is dark green in colour and has an overall delicate flavour. The reason the yellow savoy cabbage is more uncommon is that it is an early variety. It is distinguished by yellow-green leaves that have a significantly stronger yet rather bitter flavour. The leaves are heavier and more full-bodied.

How to cook savoy cabbage

It is a staple of Lombardy cooking; however, it is eaten widely across northern Italy as well as the rest of the nation. It’s mostly used to season pasta but can also be used to produce rich, creamy soups. In this context, it’s important to note the well-known pizzoccheri, which pairs well with savoy cabbage. It is also great for salad preparation, especially when some dried fruits are added.

The dark savoy cabbage can also be used as a supporting ingredient for second courses as well as for rolls, appetisers, etc. It can also be the main ingredient in unique preparations and curious combinations, such as vegan dishes inspired by “omnivorous” dishes, such as this special vegetarian carbonara. Even though cabbage is not toxic at all, it should always be cooked or at least blanched; otherwise, the leaves would be excessively hard and difficult to digest.

Some interesting recipes with savoy cabbage

Savoy cabbage is a popular veggie that stands out for its versatility, so much so that it can also be used for the most delicious recipes. Beyond the well-known ones, these are the ones that really got to me:

Spaghetti with savoy cabbage pesto. The main ingredient of this dish is the savoy cabbage, which, for the occasion, is transformed into pesto sauce. It is characterised by its soft flavour since it is made with yoghurt. Not only is the recipe simple to make, but it also has a somewhat different texture. The reference is in particular to walnuts, which are used as a garnish.

Tortelloni with bacon and savoy cabbage. It is an apparently simple first course that relies on combinations. The full-bodied flavour of savoy cabbage pairs perfectly with the more savoury flavour of bacon. To finish it up, there is pecorino cheese and rosemary.

Pasta with cabbage cream. In this case, the seasoning is given by a thick and delicious sauce made with steamed savoy cabbage. Next, extra virgin olive oil and ricotta are added to everything.

Savoy cabbage-wrapped pigeon breast. It is a second course that offers a lot of satisfaction. In this recipe, the cabbage serves as a wrap for a chicken and pigeon breast roll. It is then finished with a sauté of shallots and enhanced by an exquisite corn sauce.

Mini cabbage meatloaves. It’s a revisitation of a great classic. In this recipe, the minced meatloaf is made into a single portion and placed on a delicious bed of savoy cabbage stewed with vinegar. After that, bacon and onions are added for enhancement.

Why is it beneficial to eat savoy cabbage?

As we have seen, savoy cabbage is rich in nutritional elements that are good for the body. But let’s see in detail some interesting features of this vegetable:

  • It helps with digestion. It may seem strange given its leathery consistency; however, if well cooked, savoy cabbage supports the functionality of the digestive system. The credit obviously goes to the extraordinary abundance of fibre.
  • It tones the body. This effect is due to the variety of nutrients that compose it. The reference is above all to vitamin C, E, B1, and vitamin A. Mineral salts such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium also have an impact.
  • It serves as an antioxidant. This is because specific compounds, like phenols, glucosinolates, and beta-carotene (which aid in the absorption of vitamin A), are abundant. Additionally, it has a strong antioxidant impact that helps prevent certain types of cancer.
  • Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. It specifically aids in the management of bad cholesterol, which is linked to a number of acute diseases, including aneurysms, heart attacks, and strokes. Additionally, because it contains a lot of vitamin K, it controls blood density. This is not a small effect if we consider that blood coagulation defects are associated with a greater risk of contracting thrombotic diseases.

How to make savoy cabbage more digestible

Savoy cabbage is often considered difficult to treat due to its appearance, or rather, its consistency; in fact, the leaves are leathery and therefore difficult to digest. Obviously, they should only be consumed when cooked and prepared with different cooking methods based on the time available. While boiling is the preferred solution, it is possible to soften the cabbage by steaming it for a short time or stewing it over low heat with a little oil.

As regards any contraindications, cabbage is one of the safest vegetables ever. Of course, like all herbaceous plants, it requires moderate consumption. On the other hand, the extraordinary abundance of fibres can prove to be a double-edged sword. In fact, if you eat too much of it, you could have intestinal problems such as meteorism and irritation. In some cases, a mild laxative effect is also reported. There are no specific drug interactions or allergy concerns with this kind of vegetable.