Sweet and Sour Braised Cabbage

Sweet and Sour slow Braised Cabbage is an easy, cost efficient, and healthy side for many meals like asian dishes, chicken, pork, turkey and even goose.

Slowly simmered so the sweetness of the apple and the sour of the vinegar and onions soak right into the red cabbage, making this braised red cabbage recipe an easy, simple, colourful and fragrant side dish.

cooked red cabbage

Slow Braised Cabbage Recipe

This is the best Braised cabbage recipe ever. It’s a sweet and sour side dish that pairs perfectly with asian dishes, chicken, pork, turkey and even goose. Because this recipe contains apple, which makes it so tasty – I think it’d pair beautifully with this Slow Cooker Pork Roast. Mmmm.

I first made this easy braised cabbage recipe for a recipe that I was making which I fell in love with. It’s this Browns Social House and Cactus Club copycat recipe for Chicken Teriyaki Dragon Bowl, this dragon bowl recipe would not be the same without it.

Soon thereafter I started pairing it for so many main dishes, and found new favorite ways to use this recipe that has such great flavor. In fact, I most likely had it decades ago while in Germany, as it’s a Bavarian dish.

braised red cabbage

For me, I usually opt for side dishes such as Honey Glazed Carrots and Lemon Pepper Asparagus – to name a couple.

Yet I think cabbage is an underrated vegetable and absolutely deserves more attention as a main ingredient.

I personally reach for this as often as I should. For health and variety, everyone {including myself} should be reminded that cabbage also offers lots in dish versatility. Plus it doesn’t spoil as fast as other vegetables so it’s very cost effective that way.

Braised cabbage is most often made in the winter months, because it adds colour, extra flavor and some lightness to heavy comforting foods. Yet because of that lightness, I think it’s great for summer too, because summer is all about light, colour and freshness.


What is Braising?

To understand what Braised Cabbage is, first it’s good to know what braising in general is. Well, braising is a method of cooking that involves slow cooking with a small amount of liquid in a covered large skillet or heavy large pot on the stove.

When you have meats and vegetables that can have the tendency to be tough, braising is the solution to tenderize and soak in flavour. So essentially it’s caramelized cabbage.

braised red cabbage

How to make Braised Cabbage

You’ll need the following simple ingredients to make this very simple recipe. The full detailed instructions and printable recipe card are below.

  • olive oil
  • apples ( I use granny smith apples)
  • red onion
  • fresh cabbage / head of cabbage (I like to use red cabbage for colour)
  • white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • water
  • brown sugar
  • black pepper to taste

To Make: Cut the cabbage wedges. Add olive oil to a heavy large pot on the stove with apple and onion, and cook on medium-high heat until the onion softens, about 4 minutes.

Add wedges of cabbage to the pot and continue to cook while you mix the vinegar, cup water, and brown sugar in a bowl.

Immediately add the bowl ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on medium heat for a cooking time of 1.5 hrs, stirring occasionally. Add pepper and a teaspoon salt, if desired.

You can simmer longer if necessary. Once the cabbage is tender and most of the liquid has been soaked it, it’s done. Use a slotted spoon to serve!

braised red cabbage

While there are plenty of variations on braised cabbage {hello, cook bacon!}, this great recipe calls for vinegar to not only maintain the bright colour of the cabbage yet to bring out the delicious flavors and the sour part of the recipe..

First you have to boil, then you slow simmer while covered so the apple and vinegar soak right into the cabbage. It’s effortless and doesn’t take a lot of time, yet the end result is tender strips of cabbage that is full of flavour whether served hot or cold.


What to Serve with Braised Cabbage

Braised cabbage or cabbage side dish is a favorite recipe side alongside chicken, pork and beef. It’s great for some Asian dishes like a spicy Dragon Bowl. Many use this great side dish alongside roast chicken, corned beef, or pork chops.

For those times that you cook meats with spices and not sauces, this is a sweet and sour side that compliments the natural flavours of a meat.

I’d pair this cabbage dish with slow cooker whole chicken, and herbed lemon pork. Try it this summer with a steak!

cooked red cabbage

How Long will Braised Cabbage Keep?

The batch I last made was more than enough as an easy side dish for that nights dinner. So I used up the rest the next day after reheating it in a pot on the stove. Well, it the same if not tastier the next day.

Perhaps the extended time allowed the juices to soak in even more. Yet know, making braised cabbage ahead of time is not necessary but at least just as good.

As to how long it will keep, cooked cabbage refrigerated in an airtight container lasts 3-5 days. So that’s plenty of time to plan another meal that it’ll accompany well with.

braised cabbage

What Kind of Cabbage to Use

We tend to think in terms of red cabbage or green cabbage, but did you know that there’s actually 400 different varieties of cabbage? Really I didn’t mean to add stress to the question, but just a side fact that I also recently learned about. Go figure.

While both red and green cabbage are good for you, yet red cabbage packs a more powerful overall nutritional punch compared to green, especially in antioxidants.

When making braised cabbage, red or green cabbage can be used interchangeably in most standard recipes, but know that thee red colour will leach into other ingredients so that’s your preference.

I prefer to use red cabbage because of the beautiful colour, And especially when paired with a bland coloured meat or starch side. It’s like gems on the plate in comparison.

Yet know, you can make red braised cabbage or green braised cabbage. They’re both delicious!

braised red cabbage
braised red cabbage

Braised Cabbage

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Sweet and Sour Braised Cabbage is an easy, cost efficient, and healthy side for many meals like asian dishes, chicken, pork, turkey and even goose. Slowly simmered so the sweetness of the apple and the sour of the vinegar soak right into the cabbage, this recipe includes how to cook, what is braising and how long it lasts refrigerated. 

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 apples, cored and peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 red cabbage, cored and sliced into 1" wide strips
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Add olive oil to a large pot on the stove with apple and onion, and cook on medium heat until onion softens, about 4 minutes
  2. Add cabbage to the pot and continue to cook while you mix the vinegar, water, and brown sugar in a bowl. 
  3. Immediately add the bowl ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1.5 hrs, stirring occasionally. Add pepper if desired. You can simmer longer if necessary yet once the cabbage is tender and most of the liquid has been soaked it, it's done. 
  4. Serve and enjoy! 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 6 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 114Sodium: 23mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 3gSugar: 18gProtein: 1g

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