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Healthy, delicious and $2.76 per person

Catherine Burns says it is possible to make a cheap, flavourful side dish, even in Bermuda

Affordable vegetables – is this an April Fool?

It would be easy to assume so when in Bermuda a single pepper can set you back $4; let’s not get into the price of blueberries or cherries.

There’s a hefty price tag that comes with living on a rock in the middle of the Atlantic. I understand why food is so expensive here but it still sometimes makes me wince at the checkout. This recipe is genuinely easy on the wallet though, I promise!

Last week I gave you the recipe for a delicious cucumber salad (with a tasty Thai dressing) that was pretty economical to make. It reminded me of this favourite though – braised red cabbage, apples and leeks – which I’ve costed out at approximately $2.76 per person. This is on the assumption you have some store cupboard items already and use it as a side, although you can also turn it into a vegetarian main dish by serving it with quinoa and scattering chopped walnuts and goat’s feta on top. Vegans could switch the feta for avocado!

Using red cabbage as a base is the key for the economy here. Cabbage is on the cheaper side and when finely chopped, gives you a really large volume. It’s one of the cruciferous vegetables, meaning that it’s absolutely jam-packed with anticancer antioxidants. The sweetness of the apples, the buttery flavour of the leeks, the tang of the balsamic and the hit of allspice really do pack a flavour punch too.

For those of you going light on carbs (or following Nutrifit) this can count as your carb for your meal (because of the apples). Don’t serve with extra starchy vegetables such as carrots, squash, pumpkin or corn; instead, pick a non-starchy green veg such as broccoli or zucchini. We had this dish earlier this week as a side to Beyond Burgers and steamed green veggies. It would go equally well with chicken, fish or beef because it’s so full of flavour you can keep the other components of your meal nice and simple.

Are you convinced yet? Gather your ingredients and let’s get cooking this weekend!

Braised red cabbage, apples and leeks (serves 5 as a side and 3 as a main)

Ingredients and pricing:

1 large red cabbage ($5.53)

2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut or olive oil (store cupboard)

4 leeks, peeled and sliced into circles ($5.99)

2 apples, peeled and sliced ($2.40)

3 to 4 tbsps balsamic vinegar (store cupboard)

¼ – ½ tsp All Spice (store cupboard)

Salt and pepper (store cupboard)

Optional: knob of grass-fed butter or vegan equivalent (pantry item)

You’ll need one very large casserole dish or saucepan, with lid.


1. Cut the cabbage into halves, then quarters. Peel the outside layer, remove the core and then slice thinly into ribbons width-wise. Soak the cabbage in a large bowl of water. (Don’t skip this step as the cabbage retains some water, which is necessary to tenderise it!)

2. Gently sauté the leeks in the oil for three minutes so that they begin to soften but don’t turn brown. Add the apples and 2 tbsps of the vinegar, as well as salt and pepper and ¼ tsp All Spice. Stir and soften for another 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Drain the cabbage. (Kids love this as the water will be bright blue! Don’t worry, there are plenty of antioxidants left!) Add it (slightly wet) to the pan. If you can’t fit it all in then save the rest for a stir-fry! However, do cram in as much as you can as it does reduce when cooked.

4. Gently toss the vegetables together so that the cabbage is coated, adding another tbsp of the vinegar. Add a little more salt and pepper.

5. Cover and cook gently for just over an hour (up to 75 mins) stirring occasionally. After an hour, check the seasoning and add more vinegar, salt, pepper or All Spice as required. You can also stir through a knob of grass-fed butter if you like. (If you accidentally add too much vinegar, you can mellow this out with a little apple juice or agave syrup.)

6. Easy to serve straight away or cool and reheat later. It’s even better reheated the next day when the flavours have developed even more. Enjoy!

Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

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Published April 01, 2022 at 7:59 am (Updated April 01, 2022 at 7:46 am)

Healthy, delicious and $2.76 per person

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