Cabbage is one of the veggie world's most productive crops, thriving in cooler climates. It’s 90% water, low in kilojoules and bursting with anti-inflammatory glutamine and vitamin C. Finely grate green and red cabbage, onion, beetroot, celeriac and parsnip then mix with fresh mint, natural yogurt, wholegrain mustard, lemon juice and olive oil to create a delicious winter coleslaw.
Silverbeet or ‘chard’ is one of the healthiest vegetables in the world, high in vitamins A, C and K. Soften silverbeet and leeks in olive oil, cover with chicken stock and simmer, blend with cream to make soup, then top with crispy fried pancetta.
These elongated Chinese cabbages have pale green crunchy leaves and a mild flavour. Their vitamin C and dietary fibre content has made them popular in China for over 6,000 years. Chop and mix your wombok with 2 carrots, 1 cucumber and a bunch of radishes (all thinly sliced), a pinch of salt, 100g white sugar, 2 pints white vinegar and a drizzle of soy sauce to create a homemade pickle.
Brassica kale is high in beta carotene and calcium and also contains anti-cancer chemicals sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol – this is why Brits were encouraged to cultivate it during World War II to replace nutrients lost through their harshly rationed diets. Saute your curly kale or cavalo nero with onion, garlic, rosemary and chilli, then served on toasted ciabatta with goat’s cheese.
There’s a reason Popeye downed tins of the green stuff – spinach is full of healthy vitamins and minerals such as iron, manganese, zinc, calcium, vitamin A and folic acid. It’s believed that the more vibrant the leaf, the more good it does you. Make a salad by tossing spinach with spring onions, peas, mint and lemon and feta.
These leaves were first introduced to Europe in the 1800s, but have remained predominantly an Asian cuisine ingredient, used to make Chinese crispy seaweed, Korean kimchi and Thai stir-fries. Bok choy is low in calories, high in vitamin A, C and calcium and is delicious steamed then drizzled with sesame oil, freshly-grated ginger and soy sauce.
These bitter leaves also known as ‘chicory’ have been around for years, lending themselves to the cuisine of Puglia in Italy and Catalonia in Spain. Varieties include radicchio, sugarloaf and Belgian endive. Layer your leaves in a greased ovenproof dish, drizzle with honey, melted butter and orange juice and bake for about an hour, turning regularly.