I was reading an article in Wicked Leeks, the newsletter from Riverford Organics (if you’ve never seen it, it’s a really good, informative read – you can find out more here) this morning about how the warm, wet autumn has led to a bumper crop of brassicas like cabbage and kale. And the cabbages are particularly big, so more for your money – bargain! And bargains are what we need right now!
Of course, my mind immediately started thinking about the cabbage recipes I have on file. Some are already on the blog, like this spiced Indian Cabbage, this comforting red cabbage recipe and of course gut-loving homemade sauerkraut. These are all side dishes though – what about a mains where cabbage is the star? Todays recipe certainly makes cabbage the key ingredient – or joint key ingredient anyway.
If you’ve not roasted cabbage before, you’re missing out. Brussel sprouts are awesome after roasting as the sugars caramelise and become super tasty. And the same happens with cabbage – they’re all part of the same brassica family after all.
The type of cabbage you use is up to you, but try to go for one with dark green leaves, like savoy cabbage. The darker the leaf, the higher the level of healthful phytonutrients found inside. To prep, peel off any damaged outer leaves then cut into quarters or eighths, depending on just how big the cabbage is, making sure you keep the leaves attached to the stem. This stops random leaves falling off your chunks – if the chunks all collapse, it becomes a bit of mess!
Cabbage and squash make delightful partners. Again, use whatever squash (or pumpkin) you have available. I like small kabocha squash as the flesh is firm and roasts well. To prep, just rinse and dry the outside of the squash then cut into quarter or eighths, depending on how big it is. Remove the seeds with a sharp-edged spoon or knife (you can rinse the seeds to remove any stringy bits then roast them in the oven at the same time for a crunchy snack 🙂 ) and you’re ready to go.
To create a complete, filling meal, I suggest serving the roasted veg on a bed of millet. Many people are still not aware of the fab nutritional properties of this gluten-free grain (or seed to be more precise). As well as fibre, millet is a good source of plant protein and contains a selection of healthful minerals including magnesium, manganese and zinc.
Millet grain cooks in a similar way to quinoa and buckwheat, but to enhance the flavour, I like to lightly toast it in a non-stick frying pan before hand. You need a millet to water ratio of 1:3 ie: 1 portion of millet grain to 3 portions of water. For 2 people, half a cup of millet (approx 125g) is enough. For this you need 1 1/2 cups of water (approx 375ml) of water or vegetable stock.
Whilst the dried grain is toasting in the pan, bring the water or vegetable stock to the boil in a small-medium sized pan. Once the millet is toasted (you’ll smell the toasty aromas), carefully pour it into the bubbling water. And I mean carefully – the hot grain reacts with the fluid and can create a frothing, hot, Vesuvius-like eruption that can get pretty messy! Pop on the pan lid, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until all the fluid is absorbed and you have soft, tasty millet ready to serve.
This recipe is perfect for a mid-week dinner as it takes 30 minutes tops and you can do other things whilst the veg roast and the millet simmers (although don’t leave them unattended for too long or the smoke alarm might get a bit twitchy!).
If you have a cabbage or squash you’re not sure what to do with, or you love a squash/cabbage combo, do give this recipe a try. And don’t forget to let me know how you get on.
Roasted cabbage and squash chunks with tahini dressing
- Half a medium pumpkin or squash
- Half a medium savoy cabbage
- 125 g millet rinsed
- 375 ml vegetable stock or just water if preferred
- Few handfuls of fresh herbs of choice eg: parsley chives, tarragon etc
For the tahini dressing
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 60 ml water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Cut the pumpkin squash and cabbage into thick slices – 4 of each. Place the pumpkin in the roasting tin and pop in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Rinse the cabbage slices and leave to drain but don't dry - the water will help in the oven. Add the cabbage slices to the roasting tin after 10 minutes and return to the oven.
- Whilst the veg are roasting, pour the rinsed millet into a large pan and toast for a few minutes until the aromas are released. As the millet is toasting, bring the stock to the boil. Pour the millet into the stock, pop on the lid and reduce the heat to a simmer for 15 minutes until the fluid has been absorbed.
- Once the millet is just cooked, turn off the heat and steam for a couple of minutes whilst the veg in the oven finish cooking. If you need more than a couple of minutes, remove the lid to stop it overcooking.
- Make the sauce by placing the tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper into a blender pot and blend to combine. Check the flavour and add more seasoning or lemon as needed.
- Finely chop the fresh herbs. Stir most of the herbs into the millet - keep a sprinkle as garnish. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Once lightly browned and soft when pierced with a knife, remove the roasted pumpkin and cabbage from the oven.
- Spoon the millet onto plates, top with alternate slices of roasted pumpkin/squash and cabbage. Drizzle the tahini dressing over the top. Garnish with any remaining herbs and eat straight away