Rich in beta-carotene, fiber and vitamin C, cabbage is related to other nutritious cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, broccoli and kale. Big, green, compact heads of cabbage are traditional, but other varieties, including red cabbage and Savoy cabbage, provide rich color and ample flavor. Cabbage is commonly cooked through methods such as boiling, steaming or stir-frying, but cooking it quickly in the microwave can help retain its color, flavor and crisp texture.
Remove the tough outer leaves, and then wash the cabbage under cool, running water.
Place the cabbage on a cutting board and use a large, sharp knife to cut the head in half through the core. Cut the two halves lengthwise to make quarters, and then cut out the core. You can also shred the cabbage.
Place the cabbage in a glass or other microwave-safe dish with a small amount of water. Cover the dish with a lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap.
Cook the cabbage on high power for four to six minutes. Stir and then cook for another four to six minutes or until the cabbage is tender but slightly undercooked. Check the progress often because the total cooking time varies depending on the strength of your microwave. Cooking time for shredded cabbage is slightly less -- usually about five minutes.
Remove the dish from the microwave oven and let it set, covered, for two to five minutes. The cabbage will continue to cook during this time.
Sprinkle the cabbage lightly with salt and pepper. If desired, add a small amount of butter.
Cook cabbage until it is just barely tender. Overcooking causes loss of flavor and nutrients and is responsible for the vegetable's unpleasant smell.
A whole head of green or red cabbage keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks when packaged in a plastic bag. Savoy cabbage is an exception, as it keeps for about one week. Use cut cabbage within a few days.