So Good!

Red cabbage is a purple-leaved variety of Brassica oleracea. With ten times more vitamin A and twice as much iron as green cabbage, it is considered one of the healthy foods with dietary fiber and a range of vitamins and minerals. The red pigment comes from plant-based chemicals ( anthocyanins), which change the hue during the cooking to blue unless some acidic agents are added. Sulfur-based compounds contribute the sharp peppery flavor.

Playing with Cooking Methods and Additional Ingredients

Raw red cabbage is often shredded for salads. Braising is one of the most favorite ways to cook red cabbage. Braised red cabbage is a traditional side dish in German and German-influenced (e.g., Alsatian) cuisines. It is served with fatty meats (e.g., grilled sausages, roasted goose) and is supposed to be pretty tart.

Braised Red Cabbage
Braised Red Cabbage

Additional Ingredients

Onions, apples, and bacon are almost always present in the recipes for braised cabbage. For vegetarian versions, bacon often is replaced with vegetable oil, for non-vegetarian — with goose or chicken fat.

To maintain the beautiful red color of the cabbage, cooks use a variety of acidic components and their combinations: wine, wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar.

Seasoning and aromatics are the categories of ingredients where you can use your creativity in full. Salt, black pepper, and maybe a little bit of allspice are all the braised red cabbage really needs. A pinch of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom mix will bring some Middle East (or Christmasy!) notes. Want to spice it up some more — temper some yellow or brown mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and minced fresh ginger in oil before the step when you saute onions and apples.

What is Braising

Braising is a combination of two cooking methods. First, saute vegetables over high heat (dry heat). Secondly, add liquid and slowly cook covered over low heat (wet heat). The second step can be done on the stove or in the oven (350F-375F). If you like to keep cabbage slightly crisp, do not saute it. Instead, place julienned cabbage in a bowl and toss it with seasoning and some red wine vinegar. Salt will soften the cabbage drawing out some juices, which should be added back to the liquid for slow cooking.

Braised Red Cabbage

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, European, French, German
Keyword: French, German, recipe, red cabbage, vegetables
Servings: 2 servings



  • 1 lb red cabbage shredded
  • 1 cup onion slivered
  • 1 each apple Gala variety, diced
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 tbsp fig balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 2 tsp honey

for bouquet garni

  • 1 each bay leaf
  • 2 each cloves
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper corns cracked


  • Remove the tough outer leaves from the cabbage head. Half or quarter the cabbage head and shred excluding its core. Peel, core, and dice the apple. Peel and slice the onion into slivers. Peel and mince garlic. Measure the rest of ingredients. Wrap bouquet garni into a piece of cheesecloth.
  • Peel, core, and dice the apple. Peel and slice the onion into slivers. Peel and mince garlic. Measure the rest of ingredients. Wrap bouquet garni into a piece of cheesecloth.
  • Heat oil in a saute pan over medium to high heat. Saute onions until sweet and fragrant. Add apples, garlic, cabbage, season, and saute for a few minutes until soft. Add apple juice and bouquet garni, stir, bring to simmer, lower the heat, cover with a lid, and cook low and slow for about 45 minutes.
  • Remove bouquet garni and garlic when done and adjust seasoning to your taste. I like adding 1 oz of thinly sliced smoked bacon at the end. If cooking in advance, let it cool down to room temperature and refrigerate in a closed container for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving.