Cabbage-PB w:creditsand._2
I don't remember exactly when I began eating this oddity, but it was more than a decade ago and I've been lunching happily on peanut butter and cabbage sandwiches during the week ever since. I'm a raw cabbage fanatic and attribute my virile good health to consuming several pounds of it each week when I'm at home working.  It's filling, has a satisfying crunch, is almost entirely fiber.  A spread of peanut butter seasons it and provides just enough fat to make the meal satisfying.  I add some carrots for salty sweetness.

We all love dinner.  Many argue that breakfast is their favorite meal and of course it's "the most important meal of the day" (who came up with this slogan?—I do fine on coffee and Crest), but no one ever talks about lunch.  It's the afterthought, the stepchild meal.  In America, at least.  When I spent three weeks with a family in France, the family all returned home for a feast at midday–truly civilized. Europe, bless them, still believes in naps.

My cabbage sandwich made me curious.  I posted a while back on staple meals.  What are your staple lunches?  Lunch specific dishes, that is, that are not obvious (ham and cheese sandwich) or based on leftovers microwaved at the office. The more eccentric the better.  It seems to me that eccentricity should flourish at lunch.

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161 Wonderful responses to “Lunch: Peanut Butter and Cabbage Sandwich”

  • MessyONE

    The best sandwiches involve bacon…. Peanut butter and crispy bacon on some kind of seedy bread… Turkey and Granny Smith apple with cranberry sauce and crispy bacon… Open-faced sandwiches with bacon, wild mushrooms and either blue cheese or old Cheddar, maybe a little mustard…

    We were able to go home for lunch from our elementary school, so Mom got creative with sandwiches.

  • Josh

    What used to be called a “European Breakfast” at Miracles Cafe, in San Diego (since shut down) I now eat for lunch:

    Buttered baguette with any kind of fruit preserves topped with Swiss Cheese. As is, not melted in any way.

    It’s the perfect lunch. Perfect.

  • Allison

    I tried the sandwich. Um … am I on one of those prank tv shows? Am I being punk’d?!

    On the positive side, I feel like I don’t need to eat again for a loooong time. ;)

  • claudia (cook eat FRET)

    ok michael – that is totally new to me…
    peanut butter with bacon is pretty awesome. they were common in nyc luncheonettes in the 70′s. i used to get them on occasion.

    my go to lunch is good pita bread – slightly warmed in the microwave and then topped with soft goat cheese, harissa, sliced green olives and a healthy drizzle of honey.

    it’s my thing.

  • MissV

    Favorite is a nice cup of french onion soup with a grilled swiss cheese sandwich, or some Laughing Cow cheese spread on some whole grain crackers if I’m out of real swiss.

    This winter especially, I’ve become a big fan of making a big pot of soup on Sunday and taking it for lunches during the week. In the summer, I’m all about tuna loaded up with pickles, radishes, tomato confit, tarragon and capers – either on a sandwich or mixed with leftover pasta. When I’m at home and it’s lunch time, it’s time for grilled cheese (American and bleu cheese) and tomato soup.

    Hopefully as more people start to brown bag their lunches at the workplace, horizons will also expand beyond frozen meals and sandwiches on fluffy white bread. I’ve actually worked with people who commented it was “weird” when I was doing something like waiting to put my tuna on to my crusty bread until right before eating, or cooking things at different times/temps before combining them.

  • TC

    Anything hot…I cannot stand cold lunches. Actually, except for the middle of summer, I prefer hot food for every meal over things that are cold. Hence, oatmeal for breakfast, grilled cheese for lunch, etc. (I’m OK with adding a cold salad to a warm meal…or maybe soup with a sandwich.) Cold things on their own make my stomach hurt.

  • Corey

    This sandwhich trumps anything I’ve cobbled together for lunch. My only question how do you manage to keep the cabbage together while your eating it?

    I would love to try this, I’m just so afraid that one bite into that bad boy would create a cabbage avalanche that would land in my lap.

    btw (everyone knows that extra sharp cheddar and peanut butter makes the best sandwich)

  • Elise

    I grew up with a master pancake/crepe maker dad, so leftover were plentiful. Still to this day, I love sandwiches made from both, specifically anything with peanut butter and lately whole cranberry sauce from a can. Or take a crepe, fill with favorite cheese and a good layer of spinach. Oh and don’t forget to warm up a bit on a cast-iron griddle.

  • Charlotte

    Cold apples with nut butter and bucheron. I don’t think that cabbage and peanut butter is weird, I just can’t fathom how you fit it in your mouth.

  • Aubrey

    A version of the “peanut butter is good on anything” story -

    Basically a BLT, subbing crunchy peanut butter for the mayo. Iceberg is good; arugula is divine! However, since I work at home, leftovers and large pots of soup made expressly for me rule the roost. (Yesterday I combined leftover spicy french onion soup with leftover minestrone – absolutely AWESOME!)

  • Paul

    At least a couple times a week I have a peanut butter, horseradish, cheese, and dill pickle sandwich. It sounds weird, but it has all the sweet, hot, salty and savory going for it.

  • LuLu

    Sliced tomatoes and buffalo cheese marinated in olive oil and fresh basil or oregano on top of sliced filone bread in olive oil. I keep the ingredients at work and at home so I can have it anytime.

  • Justin

    My staple weekend lunch is fried eggs on toast: farmhouse bread, eggs with runny yolks that soak into the buttered toast, all topped off with a squirt of Heinz Organic Ketchup. Yum.
    Lunch

  • Christine in the 'Nati

    I’m a fan of muenster cheese and grape jelly sandwiches for lunch. My husband thinks it’s vile, but I love it love it love it.

  • EY

    I’m a big fan of leftovers, but there are some dinners I make specifically so I can have the leftovers for lunch the next day. Flank steak is my favorite of these. Marinate it in whatever, broil it medium rare, then cut leftovers into bite-sized pieces.

    Next day, put choice of lettuce, veggies, cheese that would work with a salad (feta, blue, etc) together. Keep meat separate. I heat up the meat until just warm and throw on the rest of the salad, which I bring in a larger than needed container. Then I give it a good shake so that the juice from the meat is the salad dressing. Yummmmm.

  • Tags

    -
    We take sushi rolls and dump them in boiling water to make congee and serve it with chinese pickle and gluten chunks.

    When my Mom was pregnant, she used to eat pickle and mayonnaise sandwiches. I eat them myself once in a while.

  • Jesse

    Lunch is my favorite meal period of the day!

    I will try your sandwich– I like everything that goes into it, so why not..?

  • Skydancer

    One of my favorites is canned tunafish and cream cheese on whatever bread is at hand. I know it sounds like an odd combination, but it does taste great to me. It came about out of necessity one day when I was in first grade. My mother would make my lunch to take to school and one of my favorites was regular tuna salad (w/mayo). I would have this at least twice a week. One day, however, it seemed to taste a bit different, more richer/thicker. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the difference but I did like it…A LOT. That night, my mother asked me if lunch was OK and I told her I had liked it better than ever before. I asked her to please make the tunafish salad the same way as that from now on, so she admitted to me that she had not realized we were running low on mayo until that very morning when she was preparing my sandwich and so, to augment it, she decided to add softened cream cheese. So, for a while, the sandwich was made with mayo, cream cheese and tuna. However, over time, I gradually eliminated the mayo altogether and found I PREFERRED it with just cream cheese. Thus it has remained since then. When I tell my friends about it, they give me funny looks and usually refuse to even try it. Their loss…

    Oh, and by the way, another guilty pleasure when I was growing up was another odd combination that my mother put together. Are you familiar with Malta? This is a sort of Spanish root beer type of drink. Tastes great all by itself, but my mother would sometimes also combine it with a couple of tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk and stir it very hard so that it would froth at the top (much like a milk shake). It was sweet and cold and hit the spot! Even as an adult, I will occasionally indulge in this on a hot summer night (only nowadays I make it with Coke).

  • Dick Black

    Dude, that is one weird food predilection.

    Tell me, how does the wife feel about this. Does eating all that raw cabbage bring out the gas masks from time to time ?

    This can put a strain on a marriage.

  • dawn

    When I worked from home it was sardines on saltines with a whole grain mustard dollop. High in protein, calcium and omega vitamins. Yum. Now that I work downtown, I bring dinner leftovers or buy soup.

  • Tricia

    My favorite lunches are a hodgepodge of unassembled individual bites. In college I used to bring pistacios, cubes of cheese, grapes, crackers/roll, and a square of good chocolate.

    Currently I’m obsessed with cold fresh mozzarella, which goes with everything. Accompanied with cold ratatoile and a chewy end of a loaf, is my kind of heaven!

    Growing up, we ate avocado smeared on bread and sprinkled with pepper.

  • stacey

    I’m imagining that the cabbage and PB sandwich might taste similar to cabbage rolls with a peanut sauce? I can see how that would be tasty!

    My lunch favorites are:
    slices of avacado and tomato with olive oil and minced red onions
    or
    co-jack cheese on a cinnamon raisin bagel with mayo and tomato

  • carri

    One year after my family butchered and processed a pig for winter meat, there was this bucket of lumpy lard left. My Grandmother mentioned that, as a kid on her parents farm, they often ate Lard Sandwiches…which doesn’t sound all that bad if it’s spread on homemade bread…especially if times are tough. My parents decided that we could use that for a sandwich spread for school lunches…only they put it on wonder bread (wonder why they call it ‘bread’) After we wouldn’t eat it that way they mixed it with applesauce…on the third day, the babysitter, who was so grossed out, took pity on us and purposefully dropped the whole bowl on the floor!

  • Barry

    This is frickin’ awesome Michael. I cannot wait to try a peanut butter/cabbage sandwich.

    For lunch, one of my very favorites is the humble tuna fish sandwich. It is one of the most versatile and nutritious (?) quick lunch foods around. There are hundreds of ways to make a good tuna sandwch and I have been seriously considering writing my own recipe book of recipes for some time now.

  • rockandroller

    @Vivian, it is definitely a big bowl of very hot goodness. The pot itself is cast iron and served on a wooden board, with a big spoon for scooping up crunchy goodness at the bottom and chopsticks for the little table bites. I was a bit squeamish about the egg at first, I really like my eggs cooked through and these are just barely even sunny side up, plus I am expecting and you’re supposed to stay away from runny eggs, but everything in the pot is so hot that it completely cooks through in stirring it around. They have big sqeeze bottles of unidentified hot sauce that you can squirt in to make it spicy to your desired level. Plus it’s just a huge amount of food, with the pot and the sides. I’d much rather have a huge lunch than a huge dinner (another thing Europe is great about).

  • Badger

    I love lunch. Breakfast is usually eaten in a rush on my way out the door; supper has to account for the tastes of my husband and kids (to a certain degree — I’m no short-order cook over here); lunch is just FOR ME. Lunch is where I experiment with stuff I like, with no regard for whether anyone else will touch it with a 10-foot pole.

    That being said, I don’t actually have any staples. It kind of depends on the season. Right now I’m all about soup. I’m convinced the black bean soup I’ve been eating for lunch all week — heavy on the garlic and hot peppers, completely devoid of dairy — cured my rotten head cold. AND it was fun to make.

  • Victoria

    Wow. This is interesting – your sandwich AND all the comments. I’m not a huge breakfast eater, just a huge cup of tea – except for Sunday mornings when I eat one egg, two pieces of bacon, and one piece of whole wheat toast buttered with raspberry preserves. I do like to eat some yogurt and fresh fruit around 10:30 a.m., but I don’t think it counts as breakfast since I get up at 5:00 a.m.

    In a perfect world if I did feel like breakfast, I would choose to eat half a small baguette, some cheese, and a little cured meat – so that would be right up your alley. I hate anything sweet in the morning, so Danish or pancakes with syrup are out.

    But lunch. I hate dealing with lunch because I don’t pack leftovers, and there’s nothing really great near my office in West Chelsea, except for one place that makes ridiculously huge sandwiches. I usually stop at Pret a Manger on the way to the subway and get half a vegetable or tuna sandwich and a cup of fresh fruit salad. But it’s not like a huge hamburger and french fries at Barney’s would be, which I splurge on once a year.

  • Beanie

    Cabbage? With Peanut Butter? Are you mad? Peanut butter should be eaten only with kosher dill pickle slices. Everyone knows that!

    My three favorite lunches on Earth are (in no particular order): Grilled swiss cheese and tart apples on rye; Brown rice with a spicy Thai coconut broth, veggies and baked marinated tofu (which I used to buy at the noodle shop down the street until I figured out how to make it myself); and fried (over-medium) eggs and sun-dried tomatoes on baguette.

    Boring, I know. But tasty.

  • Kansas City rube

    Nothing too bizarre here. I usually eat my leftovers from the night before (bacon explosion on sourdough this week).

    I did work for a company for a while that had a really nice cafeteria. They grew produce on site, used Niman Ranch meat, and had actual chefs making real food for a reasonable price. During that time, I would eat a dinner-sized lunch and then just have a small meal or snack at night. Definitely a change of pace, but I’m convinced that’s the way to eat during the week.

    If only all companies had a cafeteria like that… (It helped me to forget how little they were paying me.)

  • Aimee

    I like to make a hoagie early in the morning, heavily slathered with Italian dressing. Then I wrap it up and pop it in the fridge and by lunch time the dressing has moistened the whole thing into a sopping good mess.

  • Sara McGuyer

    The public school system here in Evansville, Indiana always served a half peanut butter sandwich with chili for lunch. I grew up dipping the sandwich in the chili. I thought it was ‘normal’ until college when my friends from elsewhere were so grossed out by it. I still love it though!

  • karenology

    No wonder eating that keeps you fit – between the peanut butter and the raw cabbage, you probably have to chew each bite a hundred times!

    I agree with the peanut butter commenter, it goes with everything in my opinion. Even shrimp! That would be my unusual staple lunch if I had my druthers.

  • Vivian

    Rockandroller, that dish you get from Seoul Hot Pot sounds so delicious! My go to lunch this winter (if I actually get out that is) has been Pho’ (pronounced Fa). We have a huge Vietnamese community here in Oklahoma City and that has provided us with some incredible asian markets and restaurants. Hot steaming pho’ with some thin slices of raw beef to poach in the broth is so delicious.

  • Sara

    I’m another one of those “takeout or leftovers” lunch people, though sometimes I’ll make really elaborate salads to bring to work. But I have to say this: HOLY MOLY, that’s like half a head of cbabage on that thing! I don’t think my mouth opens that wide…

  • Allison

    I completely agree about breakfast (though Colgate tastes better). Lunch is time to use up the odds and ends in the fridge. They usually turn into a soup or a salad. On a good day I supplement with a can of sardines or a leg of duck confit.

    I’m glad to see a photo of the sandwich. I never would have guessed the enormous quantity of cabbage otherwise. I’m going to try this today; I have all four components.

  • Laura

    Lately it’s been goat cheese and cucumber sandwiches…I have to admit I’m curious about the cabbage and peanut butter though. A bit worried about the after effects of the cabbage thought I must admit…not all of us have the privilege of working in a solitary situation!

  • Nancy Heller

    Noodles with Cottage Cheese (Friendship Dairies 2% Pot Cheese, if I can get it, otherwise Friendship 1% Cottage Cheese – no other brand will do!), butter and lots of fresh cracked black pepper. I recently learned that adding caramelized onions to this dish makes it into the Polish dish called Halusky (little did I know this was an official dish!) and the onions add a great touch, though I usually don’t have them in the office.

  • Vivian

    When I was in Hawaii I fell in love with Spam Musubi. Prepared sushi rice sandwiched in 2 slices of fried spam and wrapped in Nori. I have it about once a week for lunch and although they thought it was weird at first I have gotten several people that I work with hooked on that as well as other types of sushi.

  • Connor

    One of my favorite lunches during peak tomato season is sliced tomatoes with cottage cheese. I like lots of salt and pepper on the tomatoes, and I always use whole milk cottage cheese. My parents have been eating this lunch for years and only until recently did I start to appreciate it.

  • Tags

    -
    Don’t tell Jeffrey Steingarten you eat a lot of raw cabbage.

    In “The Man Who Ate Everything,” his essay “Salad the Silent Killer” says this…

    Some studies blame high cabbage consumption in the Midwest among German and Eastern European immigrants and their families for the high incidence of goiter there… Goitrogens are largely broken down by cooking.

    At least you’re not eating raw beans or chick peas.

  • Amy

    I gotta say…soup or leftovers that I made the night before…

    I’m not much of a lunch person…

    I’m somewhat intrigued by your sandwich : p

  • Matt

    I totally agree with the coffee and Crest mentality. On hundred percent. Most people are so hurried with breakfast it is almost always something borne of convenience, which usually reads as something pretty boring, unless of course you are slapping cabbage on a peanut butter sandwich.

  • Adam

    I’m going to have to try this. At first I thought it was weird, until I remembered that one of my favourite snacks as a kid was a spear of celery filled with peanut butter. Sounds like this would be similar.

  • Patrick Radoszewski

    mine is similar. but rather i enjoy the benefits of cabbage after it’s been fermented. so. . . right now my fav is homemade sauerkraut, horseradish mustard and peppered turkey on rye.

    just finished a batch. it was half white and half red. still has a great crunch, slightly salty, and superb tang!
    http://therads.com/DSC_0009-2.JPG

  • JoeW

    Since I am attending a University full-time, my lunches are usually leftovers. On test days, however, nothing gets me revved up more than a monster bowl of Pho from Bona, with plenty of fish sauce, bean sprouts, and jalapenos.

  • Neal L.

    My favorite is some good cured meat with pickled veggies, baguette(or saltines), a variety of cheeses, good mustard or hummus, a glass of milk and a cold beer. It’s the best!

  • Charlotte

    Soup! I work at home — and once every couple of weeks I’ll make a batch of soup — ham and bean, black bean, minestrone, or in the spring when the garden gets going I eat a lot of puree’d greens soup. A bowl of soup, a piece of toast and a glass of the good milk I buy from a local rancher.

  • RyanJ

    My father and I have eaten many peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches over the years. As far as I am concerned peanut butter is perfect with anything, lettuce, deli meats, and tomatoes are also excellent choices…

  • kristin

    Anything leftover. Gumbo, or some sort of ethnic type dish I make for dinner. The spices have time to meld and often while it was good for dinner, it is even better for lunch. Indian, Lebanese are two of the best. Also a good meatloaf is hard to beat too.

  • Jeff

    At my last job the company provided ‘free snacks’ that was restocked once or twice a week. Every day there was a group of us that took it upon ourselves to take these ‘secret ingredients’ as a culinary lunch challenge.

    One of our favorites was to take a cup ‘o noodle packet, rinse the noodles (to remove all the salty flavorings), add v8 juice and then microwave with dried herbs we found hiding in the back of a cupboard. We topped this ‘tomato noodle soup’ with chunks of string cheese. Sometimes we even managed to scavenge olive oil or past their prime salad greens that we added for more flavor.

  • eric

    Whenever there’s leftover pasta (usually spaghetti with red sauce), I butter two giant slices of bread, heat the pasta up, and make a sandwich of it. My grandmother got me doing this when I was 8 or so and have kept it up ever since.

  • boonie

    Hard to beat your PB and cabbage, Michael…I don’t see that becoming a “haute” trend. Staple lunches in this economy go the way of cheese for me, grilled to be specific. At LEAST four slices on wheat including cheddar, provolone, swiss, american, pepperjack, mozzarella…Basically, anything deli-sliced makes it between my buttered bread. Got some sliced ham? Hell yeah it’s going in. Low and slow heat in the skillet allows all of the slices to melt. Add some potato chips and sour cream and you got something there, son!

  • rockandroller

    Working downtown, I don’t really have a staple lunch. I either bring leftovers or go out to one of the few decent places to get lunch downtown. However, this winter in particular, I would say the Pig Mac at Crop has been a big staple lunch for me. It’s unusual so I thought I’d mention it. A take off on the Big Mac of course, this sandwich features a big, buttery bun topped with black sesame seeds and layers in between of thin-pounded pork tenderloin, pulled pork and bacon, with some layers of small chopped onion, special sauce and cheese. It is huge, filling and perfect on a Cleveland winter weekday. I think that and a beef hot pot from Seoul Hot Pot have been my staple lunches all winter. With the hot pot, they break a fresh egg into the top and you stir it into the blazing hot mix of meat, veg and rice (don’t forget the crispy bits of burned rice at the bottom, very tasty), and it’s served with a dazzling array of small, pretty and tasty sides, mostly vegetables so all very healthy. Very filling, hot and tasty.