I grew up eating a lot of healthy, simple dishes. My mom was a fantastic cook, so by simple, I don’t mean boring or bland. But in general, simplicity was her signature and was actually what I think made many of her dishes distinguishable. Sometimes simple is downright better, and when you’re juggling a few kids, it’s particularly appealing. For me, I often crave simply steamed veggies and don’t need all of that other jazz that’s typically throw in at restaurants (i.e., a ton of fat, salt, and/or other flavors that take away from the veggie itself). Growing up, I ate a lot of unadorned steamed vegetables, lightly dressed with olive oil and vinegar. A lot of plain brown rice with just a touch of soy sauce. Oatmeal with a dash of salt and some sliced fruit. Tea, hold the cream and sugar. Etc.
When cabbage was growing in the garden, my mom would make various slaws and curried dishes, but often she would just pair the cabbage with new potatoes and give them a good steam. A little olive oil, and salt and pepper, would seal the deal. It’s a clean combo. I still enjoy today. So in the following cabbage and potato recipe that I slightly modified from one seen in Vegetarian Times, I stepped up the easy, childhood favorite just a tad, while still keeping the dish relatively simple and focused on the veggies themselves. Feel free to add some veggie sausage for a boost of protein and make this dish a main meal.
Spicy Cabbage and Potatoes
-1 large onion, sliced
-1/2 medium head green cabbage, roughly chopped
-5 medium potatoes, chopped into large pieces
-1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
-2 Tbsp. tomato paste
-1 tsp. sugar
-1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
-1 Tbsp. olive oil
-Salt and pepper, to taste
-1/2 cup cooking water from potatoes and cabbage
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook 3 minutes. Add cabbage and cook another 8-10 minutes, or until cabbage is tender. Drain, saving 1/2 cup of water.
Meanwhile, heat oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Saute onions and jalapeño with salt and pepper, to taste, until onions are browned and caramelized, about 8 minutes.
In large saucepan, whisk sugar, tomato paste, and reserved cooking water over low heat. Add onion mixture, cabbage and potatoes back to saucepan. Adjust salt to taste. Remove from heat. Serve, topping with generous handful of chopped cilantro and squeeze of lime.