This Braised Red Cabbage Recipe is a great addition to any Sunday roast or festive Christmas dinner. It’s a brilliantly colorful dish, jam-packed with delicious and nutritious ingredients. If you ask me, this is the perfect side dish, and I know your guests will love it!
Why You’ll Love Braised Red Cabbage
- Easy to make on the stovetop
- Fantastic with roast chicken, turkey, and ham
- You can make it ahead of time
- It’s freezer friendly
If you’re looking for more delicious cabbage recipes, how about a delicious Purple Cabbage Slaw, which is excellent with tacos? If you feel like a flavor-loaded snack, these Crispy Kale Crisps are so good!
One reason why this Braised Red Cabbage is my favorite recipe right now is because of the amount of flavor you can get with relatively few ingredients.
- Red cabbage (aka purple cabbage): The star of the dish, red cabbage is loaded with vitamin C and anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
- Smoked Bacon: Adds a delicious smoky flavor.
- Fresh Rosemary: Once it hits the hot oil in the pan, rosemary will release its lovely flavor, infusing the cabbage as it cooks.
- Apple Juice: A natural sweetener that infuses the cabbage with apple flavor.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Helps the rosemary to release its unique and delicious flavor.
- Coconut Sugar: Adds a caramel flavor in the same way brown sugar would.
- Sea Salt Flakes (or kosher salt) and Pepper
How to Make Braised Red Cabbage: Step-By-Step
Place a large saucepan or large skillet on medium-high heat, and add the extra virgin oil. Then, add the chopped streaky bacon and cook until the fat renders- about 5 minutes.
Now, throw in the rosemary leaves and sauté for about 3 minutes. Remove the bacon and rosemary, and set them to one side, leaving the bacon grease in the pan.
Add the coconut sugar and apple juice to the pan. Let the sugar dissolve and bring it to a boil.
Add the cabbage and toss it around in the pan until it’s covered in the smoky apple liquid. Season with salt and black pepper.
Turn the heat down to medium-low, place a lid on the pan, and let the cabbage cook for 20 to 25. Or until the cabbage has softened. Stir every 5-10 minutes to ensure the cabbage cooks evenly. If the cabbage starts to catch on the bottom of the pan, just add a little water to the pan.
Just before serving, stir the crispy bacon and rosemary leaves into the cooked cabbage.
Find the recipe card with exact ingredients and full recipe instructions at the bottom of this page. ⇩
Braised Red Cabbage Recipe Variations
- Swap out the smoked bacon for chorizo or pancetta. Alternatively, omit the bacon if you are a vegetarian or vegan, and go straight to step 3 in the recipe card.
- If you don’t have coconut sugar, use another natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup.
- Instead of apple juice, you could use chicken broth or water.
- Fresh herbs add great flavor to this dish. If you don’t like rosemary, sage is a delicious alternative. Or, you could add a bay leaf to the sliced cabbage mixture while braising.
- Sprinkle 50 grams of crumbled feta as a garnish for added creaminess.
- Add 100 grams of unsweetened dried cranberries for added natural sweetness.
- Add a flourish of slivered almonds or pistachios for a little crunch.
- Grate in fresh nutmeg, or add a cinnamon stick to the braising liquid for a festive twist.
Can Braised Red Cabbage Be Made Ahead?
This cabbage dish is a great make-ahead side dish. You can easily make it the day before you need it, and it will still taste fantastic on the day. Simply reheat it in a pan for 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, reheat it in the microwave for about 5 minutes or until piping hot. If you’re short on time, you can also make this dish ahead of time and freeze it. Then, simply defrost it in the fridge overnight.
Frequently Asked Questions
Braised cabbage is made by cooking cabbage until soft and tender in a small amount of liquid, typically water, broth, or in the case of this recipe, apple juice. The flavors of the braising liquid will infuse the cabbage.
Braised Red Cabbage is an easy-to-make side dish often served with a roast dinner alongside other vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. It’s delicious with chicken dishes, roast beef, pork chops, a pork roast, pies, and stews. Or my favorite, sausage and mash with red onion gravy! Yum!
Yes! Add all of the ingredients into the slow cooker pot, and give everything a good stir. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours.
Yes! Braised Red Cabbage can be considered a healthy side dish. It’s loaded with anthocyanins, an antioxidant responsible for red cabbage’s deep purple color, which may promote heart health. [Source] It’s also a great source of fiber, which helps regulate our appetite and keep our digestive systems running smoothly. [Source] However, it’s important to remember that red cabbage is just one component of a balanced and varied diet.
More Dishes to Serve with Braised Red Cabbage
Here are some awesome side dishes to serve alongside Braised Red Cabbage.
- The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes
- Honey Glazed Carrots with Orange & Cumin
- Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Pink Peppercorns
- Creamy Cauliflower Mash with Thyme
- Roasted New Potatoes with Garlic, Rosemary & Shallots
- Creamy Purple Cabbage Slaw
- Easy Roasted Butternut Squash
Thinking of making this recipe? Share your thoughts in the comment section and provide a star rating! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I always LOVE hearing from you.
Printable Recipe Card
Braised Red Cabbage Recipe
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- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, sliced into thin strips
- 2 sprigs rosemary leaves, tough stems discarded
- 2 teaspoon coconut sugar
- 1 cup (240 ml) pure apple juice
- 2 pounds (900 grams) red cabbage, trimmed, outer leaves removed, and thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- Preparation: Gather and prepare your ingredients.
- Crisp: Place a deep-sided frying pan on medium-high heat, and add the extra virgin olive oil. Add the bacon and let it crisp up for about 3 minutes. Then, throw in the rosemary leaves and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove the bacon and rosemary, and set aside, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.
- Cook: Add the coconut sugar and apple juice to the pan with the bacon fat. Let the sugar dissolve and bring it to a boil. Add the cabbage and toss it in the sticky, smoky apple liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium-low, place a lid on the pan (slightly ajar), and let the cabbage cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Or until the cabbage has softened. Stir every 5-10 minutes to ensure the cabbage cooks evenly and doesn't burn. If the cabbage starts to catch on the bottom of the pan, just add a little cold water.
- Serve: Just before serving, stir through the crispy bacon and rosemary leaves. Pour the Braised Red Cabbage into a serving dish and enjoy!
Nutrition Information (Per Serving)
Nutrition Disclaimer: Nutritional information is estimated using an online nutrition calculator. For accuracy, we recommend you calculate using the exact ingredients and brands you used.