How to cook red cabbage – master this tasty side dish

Learn how to cook red cabbage – the perfect accompaniment to roasts and plenty more delicious dinners

how to cook red cabbage
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Learning how to cook red cabbage is all about patience – cabbage is one of those vegetables that really benefits from being cooked for a good long while, whether you're boiling or braising the cabbage. Of course, red cabbage is also very tasty fresh, crunchy in a salad (we have a recipe at the end of this article).

One thing to remember, though, is that cooked red cabbage loves apples: they enhance its flavour and should be added no matter how you're cooking it. 

More delicious recipes are waiting at our hub page. 

How to boil red cabbage

(Image credit: Getty)


To make delicious boiled red cabbage, you'll need:

  • A red cabbage, sliced and core removed
  • A green apple, chopped and core removed
  • One teaspoon cinnamon
  • Two star anise
  • Caster sugar, about 200 grams
  • Apple cider vinegar, 50 ml
  • Water, 200 ml
  • Two bay leaves


1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. 

2. Add the bay leaves, cover with a lid, and simmer for 45 minutes. 

3. Drain any remaining liquid and serve.

How to braise red cabbage

Red cabbage

(Image credit: Unsplash)


For braised red cabbage, you'll need:

  • A red cabbage, thinly sliced and core removed
  • A green apple, roughly chopped and core removed
  • A medium-sized onion, sliced
  • A large garlic clove, crushed
  • Sugar, 200 grams
  • Apple cider vinegar, 75 ml
  • Water, 100 ml
  • Fresh thyme, a sprig
  • Olive oil, two tablespoons


1. In a deep frying pan, caramelise the onions. 

2. Meanwhile, prepare the cabbage and apple. Add both to the onions, then add the sugar, thyme, and apple cider vinegar and water. Sauté for about five minutes, then reduce the heat, add the bay leaves, and simmer for about half an hour to 40 minutes.

Vegan red cabbage salad with caramelised chestnuts 

This tasty, healthy recipe has been kindly provided by Merchant Gourmet and The Little Plantation.  


For the salad: 

  • 125g Merchant Gourmet cooked quinoa (about 1/2 a pack)
  • ¼ of a large red cabbage, around 350g
  • 30g fresh parsley, washed and finely chopped
  • arils of 1 large pomegranate OR a large handful of dried cranberries, sultanas or pitted dates (chopped)
  • 200g/1 pack Merchant Gourmet whole chestnuts, chopped in half
  • 2-3tbs maple syrup
  • 1tbs water
  • 1/4tsp ground cloves

For the dressing:

  • 3 tbs maple syrup
  • 2 tbs fresh lime juice (approximately the juice of 1 lime)
  • 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of cinnamon


1. Take the red cabbage and discard any unsightly external layers. Then remove the stalky core at the bottom and with a mandolin thinly slice the cabbage, wash in cold water and then place the sliced cabbage in a large bowl. Add the cooked quinoa, chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds (or dried fruit) and mix well.

2. Place a small pot over a low heat and add the chestnuts, maple syrup, water and ground cloves, stir continuously, for about 7 minutes or until the maple syrup reduces and the chestnuts start to caramelise. Once done, remove the chestnuts from the pot, set them aside and allow to cool.

3. Finally, make the dressing by combining the maple syrup, lime juice, olive oil and cinnamon and mix well. Pour over the cabbage salad just before serving, add the caramelised chestnuts and enjoy.