Having a father who was born in Poland, I grew up with the culture. Don’t ask me to speak Polish, I wasn’t that cultured, but I did indulge in the food as a child. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Polish cuisine, allow me to sum up the major food groups of traditional Polish cooking: Meat, Starch, and Cheese. Polish Sausage, Pierogis, Sheep’s Cheese were common foods in my house. Not exactly health conscious choices.
It isn’t Poland’s fault though. Due to their location and climate, Central Europe and cold winters, the land is more suitable for livestock farming and growing hardy root vegetables such as potatoes, cabbage, carrots, onions, and beets. Mushroom hunting is popular in Poland, and many dishes include the fungi.
Another common ingredient in traditional Polish dishes is mustard. Man do we love our mustard. Since there is such a huge Polish population in Chicago, we have a whole aisle in most grocery stores dedicated to our food. Not only that, but our mustard selection can take up three whole shelves. Now, I have been craving this condiment lately and I going back to my roots, I decided to make a Polish inspired dish that is Vegan and healthy. Using a bunch of winter vegetables, this is a quick and easy skillet dish that can be served as a side, or over some barley, yet another Polish pick.
Here is why this is a healthy Polish dish:
Cabbage – Containing high levels of Vitamin C, cabbage is a wonderful detox food. The potassium in cabbage also opens up blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.
Mushrooms – These fungi contain Selenium and Vitamin D, both which are beneficial for immunity health as well as helping reduce the onset of cancer.
Onion -For centuries, onions have been used to reduce inflammation. They are full of Vitamin C and contain Chormium, which helps regulate blood sugar.
Barley – Barley is one of those grains that is packed with protein and fiber. Like the rest of these ingredients, they boost your immunity with Vitamin C. Barley also contains Vitamin B (Niacin), which aids our cardiovascular system. Niacin can help with reducing bad cholesterol, and cancer forming free radicals. It also lowers the risk of blood clots.
Even if you’re not of Polish heritage, this meal is a warm comfort to any chilly winter day.
Mustard Cabbage with Onions and Mushrooms
- 4 cups green cabbage – cut into 1/2 inch strips
- 4 small baby bella mushrooms – sliced thin
- 1 medium onion -diced
- 1 tbsp roast garlic grapeseed oil (I use Wildtree)
- 1 tbsp Dijon (or brown) mustard
- Salt and pepper – to taste
- 1/4 cup cooked barley – per serving
- Follow the Instructions on the Barley Packaging and cook the amount desired. Every 1/4 cup is a serving for one person, so if you are making this dish for four people, make 1 cup of barley.
- In a skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tbsp roast garlic oil. Toss in onions and cook for 3 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add 4 cups of cabbage and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring and tossing occasionally.
- Add the mushrooms and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Last, toss in the mustard and stir, coating the vegetables evenly. Cook for about a minute so the mustard warms up. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve alone or over a bed of barley.