Sauerkraut is a bit of a strange thing. I think the idea that most people have in their minds of sauerkraut doesn’t exactly match the food itself. From what I’ve seen, a lot of people think of it as a condiment. A topping for bratwurst. A thin layer on a reuben. But truthfully? Sauerkraut is an incredibly healthy food in it’s own right.
First, let’s call sauerkraut what it is: fermented cabbage. Okay, so the word sauerkraut probably sounds tastier. But let’s think for a moment. Cabbage is very high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. PLUS it’s an excellent source of fiber. But wait! There’s more! Sauerkraut is fermented. This means that it’s full of good-for-you bacteria which can improve digestion. There are a host of other claims you’ll hear about fermented foods, but not all of them are verified by rigorous scientific studies. So we’ll stick to the facts that there is ample evidence for.
The downside? Sauerkraut is salty! This is likely part of why most people stick to condiment uses of sauerkraut. Or, when planning to use large amount, some will drain and rinse it. The problem is that this drains away most of the nutritional benefits of sauerkraut! Not only are you washing away the good bacteria, you are washing away nutrients that soaked out of the cabbage.
So, here’s my solution: when cooking a meal with lots of sauerkraut, combine it all into one dish, do NOT add a single grain of salt, and mix in other foods that are best well-salted (like potatoes).
The recipe below, like the recipe for rosti, is more of a guideline. So mix it up! Have fun with it! The first time I made this I used lean pork chops. The second time I decided to see how it would go with ground beef.
Sauerkraut with potatoes and pork/beef/chicken/tofu/more veggies
3 cups sauerkraut
1 ½ cups potatoes, diced and cooked (either roast or boil)
½ lb lean ground beef, cooked and drained
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp oregano
Black pepper, to taste
Heat a large, wide saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil, oregano, and potatoes.
Gently stir the potatoes until coated with oil and oregano.
Add the drained ground beef, stir to mix in with potatoes.
Add the sauerkraut, then toss to combine.
Heat until everything is hot, but avoid cooking for any longer than necessary.
What’s your favorite sauerkraut meal?