Immune-Boosting Cabbage and Shiitake Sauté

It’s that time of year, but do not despair!  Though we will all likely get caught off-guard at some point during cold and flu season, take advantage of the many opportunities to empower your body to fight off all of the little germies floating around.  Think of it as a natural vaccination, because everytime you are exposed to a virus, your body builds your immune system by fighting it off, whether you actually get sick or not.

Of course, our lifestyle choices are our first line of defense in staying well and they have a huge impact, regardless of your genetics.  Eating the healthy whole foods that are right for your body, staying active, getting enough rest, drinking enough water, and alleviating stress as much as possible will go a LONG way in keeping you well.  I would argue that if we were able to do all of these things consistently, we would rarely, if ever, get colds and flu.  Of course, this is real life in America, so most of us will slip up in one way or another.  But, even if you succumb, if you are taking care of yourself, your body will have more energy to fight.

This brings me to to the recipe at hand…cabbage gets a bad rap, as it is so often overcooked and bland.  Prepared properly, it is quite versatile and delicious, not to mention a healthy boost to your immune system.  It is extremely high in vitamin C in its raw form and still relatively high once cooked, provided it is not overcooked.  Besides being packed with lots of vitamins, cabbage stores well and is inexpensive, so sign up for a Winter CSA share and prepare to sauté, soup (used as a verb, in this case:), ferment, stuff, and eat lots of cabbage!

Let’s start with a simple preparation that builds on a whole bunch of strong immune boosters – onions, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, as well as optional additions listed in the variations below…

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
  • one small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, destemmed, and roughly chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon mirin or other white wine, or water for deglazing the pan
  • 1 small (or half a large) head of cabbage, chopped or shredded
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and onion and cook until the onion is lightly browned.  Make a space in the middle, pour in a little more oil, add garlic, and cook a minute or two, until fragrant.  Stir in the shiitake mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes, or until they break down and start to caramelize.  Pour in the wine or water and stir through to deglaze the pan.  Add the cabbage, sprinkle with more salt and pepper, cover, and cook 3-5 minutes, or until crisp-tender.  Season to taste and enjoy!


  • Add some chopped or grated ginger and finish with toasted sesame oil; top with white or black sesame seeds
  • Before adding the garlic, brown some cubed and cooked potatoes, then proceed with recipe, adding cooked French lentils at the end.
  • Stir in some cooked black beans and rice, then dress with a pesto made of almonds, basil and/or spinach, olive oil, and garlic.
  • Add vegetables such as carrots, kale, spinach, chard, etc to kick up the flavor and nutrition – great for any of the variations.

1 Comment »

  1. Cindy said

    I’ve been searching for recipes all morning for my cabbage & potatoes and have not been inspired until I just read this recipe! YUM! Off to cook it right now for lunch. Any way you can have your recipes printed, like “click here to print recipe?” LOVE your cooking style!!

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