Red cabbage is healthier than you might think. This humble cruciferous vegetable is a true superfood that contains powerful antioxidants and helps boost the immune system. Red cabbage, in particular, is packed with antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanins. There are actually 18 different anthocyanins in the purple vegetable and they offer a range of health benefits. In addition to their free radical mitigating abilities, anthocyanins also act as anti-inflammatories and decrease your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Further, they protect the integrity of your DNA and boost the production of cytokines, which are immune response proteins.
Glucosinolates are another phytonutrient found in red cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Glucosinolates are broken down into isothiocyanates in the body. These altered phytonutrients (and the various compounds they’re further broken down into) support the lungs, liver, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon.
Both red and green cabbage contain phytonutrients that promote immune function in the small intestine. AhR ligands are phytonutrients derived from cruciferous vegetables and they activate the immune cells in the intestinal wall where nutrients are absorbed. These immune cells, called intraepithelial lymphocytes, defend against microbial invasion and promote healthy immune function in the intestines. When you don’t get enough cruciferous vegetables in your diet, your intestinal intraepithelial lymphocyte cell count can drop, so you definitely want to make sure you’re eating your cabbage! We actually have another delicious cabbage recipe that you can try.
Green Bean Salad Recipe with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Prep time: 20 minutes
- Cook time: 3-5 minutes
- Total time: 25 minutes
- Servings: 6-8
- Large pot
- 2 large bowls
- Paring knife
- 3-4 cups of ice for ice bath
- 2 tbsp green onions, minced
- 2 cloves of organic garlic, smashed and minced
- 6 tbsp of organic balsamic vinegar
- 6 tbsp of organic extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp Himalayan crystal salt, plus more for boiling
- 4 cups organic red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 2 cups fresh organic green beans, stem ends removed
- 2 tbsp of the white part of green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 organic medium jalapeños, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp organic basil leaves, thinly sliced
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- In this recipe, you’ll blanch the green beans, so you need to prepare an ice bath first to stop the cooking process after boiling. Fill a large bowl with ⅓ ice and ⅓ cool water. Set aside until step 5.
- Prep the dressing first. Combine minced green onions, garlic, balsamic vinaigrette, olive oil, and ½ teaspoon of salt in a container and set aside to allow flavors to mingle.
- Set a large pot of water on the stove at a high temperature and bring to a rolling boil. Add additional salt to the water to accelerate the process.
- Once the water starts boiling, blanch the green beans in the pot until they’re a vibrant green (about 3-4 minutes). Be careful not to boil them too long or they’ll lose their beautiful color.
- As soon as they’re done boiling, carefully but quickly tip the pot with the green beans into the colander to drain the water. Then transfer the green beans to the ice bath. Make sure they’re fully submerged and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Once the green beans have cooled, slice each lengthwise and add to your cabbage.
- Mix in the sliced green onions, jalapenos, basil, ground pepper, and half of the dressing. Distribute the ingredients evenly throughout the salad.
- Cover and place the salad in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to two days before serving.
- Serve the green bean salad with the remaining salad dressing and enjoy!
Have you tried blanching vegetables before? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and tips with us!
- McDougall, GJ, et al. “Anthocyanins from Red Cabbage–Stability to Simulated Gastrointestinal Digestion.” Phytochemistry. 68.9 (2007): 1285–94. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.
- “The effects of anthocyanins in humans.” European commission: CORDIS: Publication Office/CORDIS, 29 Sept. 2016. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.
- Zhang, Yuesheng, and Paul Talalay. “Anticarcinogenic Activities of Organic Isothiocyanates: Chemistry and Mechanisms.” Molecular Mechanisms of Chemoprevention 54.7 Supplement (1994): 1976–1981. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.
- “Isothiocyanates.” Oregon State University. 30 Aug. 2016. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.
- Li, Y, et al. “Exogenous Stimuli Maintain Intraepithelial Lymphocytes via Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Activation.” Cell. 147.3 (2011): 629–40. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.
- Hooper, Lora V. “You AhR What You Eat: Linking Diet and Immunity.” Cell. 4 Oct. 2011. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.