I love Purple Cabbage for the colour and the crunch it adds to salads and coleslaw. I know that purple cabbages are often called red cabbages, but, the're purple, right? So I call them purple cabbages. I somehow ended up with two massive purple cabbages (not because I forgot I already had one and bought another. Well, maybe…). I had to figure out what to do with them, so I came up with this Purple Cabbage Soup. It's pretty damn purple.
I know, the colour looks a little strange for a soup. However, the vibrant colour lives up to the promise of an equally vibrant tasting soup. And this soup is an amazing taste experience. Fennel and cardamom spice up the sweetness of the cabbage, and give some warmth to the coconut milk base.
I buy or grow produce according to colour if I have a choice. Because the more colourful the produce is, the more nutrient dense it usually is. The gorgeous, vibrant colour of purple (or red) cabbage indicates the abundance of antioxidants, flavonoids, and vitamin A in the crunchy cruciferous cabbage. Bonus: purple cabbage has twice the amount of vitamin C as green cabbage.
I knew it was nutritionally a healthier choice than green cabbage, but I was curious about how purple cabbage actually gets its lovely colour. According to Wikipedia, it all has to do with the PH value of the soil that the cabbage is grown in. “In acidic soils, the leaves grow more reddish, in neutral soils they will grow more purple, while an alkaline soil will produce rather greenish-yellow coloured cabbages.”
Another interesting fact about the purple cabbage; it's juice can be used as a PH indicator because it contains anthocyanin, a pigment that turns red, purple or blue, depending on the PH.
My forgetfulness at the farmer's market led me to learn a few things I didn't know about purple cabbage, as well as a very pretty, very healthy, and delicious soup. Makes four bowls.
Purple Cabbage Soup
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 garlic clove, diced or crushed
- 1 Tbsp fennel seed
- 1 Tsp black cardamom seed, crushed
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 398 ml (14 oz) can coconut milk
- 2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/2 head purple cabbage, sliced thinly sliced
- Salt to taste
- Heat oil in a large pot on medium low.
- Add onion, celery, garlic, fennel and cardamom. Cook until vegetables are tender, but not browned.
- Add stock. Scoop out the layer of coconut cream on the top of the coconut milk, and reserve for topping. Add the rest of the can to the pot. Bring everything to a boil
- Add potatoes and cabbage. Stir, cover and reduce to a simmer. Let cook until cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and puree in the pot using an immersion blender, or let cool somewhat and puree in batches in a blender. Serve hot, in bowls, with a dollop of coconut cream on each. Enjoy.