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How to Cook Red Cabbage

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.

A tasty plate of cooked red cabbage with onion and bacon.

A tasty plate of cooked red cabbage with onion and bacon.

Common Problems When Cooking Red Cabbage

Red cabbage, or any form of cabbage, is often thought of as being tasteless, unappetising or worse. This is, for more than any other reason, because cabbage is all too often cooked in an inappropriate fashion or to excess. This article will look at how to cook red cabbage with a variety of different ingredients to ensure both that it retains its nutritional value and that it forms a tasty component part of a meal.

Red cabbage and pear served with casseroled shoulder of pork and mashed potatoes.

Red cabbage and pear served with casseroled shoulder of pork and mashed potatoes.

1. Sauteed Red Cabbage and Pear

Traditionally, the most common way of cooking cabbage is to boil it in water. This has the double drawback, however, of both removing much of the taste and nutritional value from the cabbage, as well as making it prone to being overcooked, limp and soggy.

This incredibly simple—and quicker—way of cooking red cabbage effectively sautes it in olive oil, and the added ingredients improve the flavour many times over. This recipe serves two people.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 of a red cabbage, core removed, sliced
  • 1 pear (moderately soft), core removed, sliced
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. The olive oil should be gently heated in a wide-bottomed pan.
  2. The red cabbage, pear and nutmeg are then added and cooked over a fairly high heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon or spatula, for 7 to 8 minutes.
  3. The cabbage should then be seasoned to taste.

I served this red cabbage and pear with casseroled shoulder of pork and garlic and herb mashed potatoes, as pictured above.

Red cabbage, onion and garlic plated with a pork pie, egg, beetroot and salad.

Red cabbage, onion and garlic plated with a pork pie, egg, beetroot and salad.

2. Red Cabbage With Onion and Garlic

This red cabbage, onion and garlic is served with a Melton Mowbray pork pie, a hard-boiled egg, salad and pickled beetroot, as seen above. The red cabbage is in this instance cooked exactly the same way as above. However, this time it's accompanied by white onion and garlic.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 of a red cabbage, core removed, sliced
  • 1 small white onion, sliced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Cook in the same way as described in the previous recipe.

Photo Guide

Use the recipe for red cabbage and pear, but substitute 1 small, sliced white onion and 1 large, sliced clove of garlic, as shown here.

Use the recipe for red cabbage and pear, but substitute 1 small, sliced white onion and 1 large, sliced clove of garlic, as shown here.

3. Red Cabbage, Bacon and Onion

This combination can make in itself a delicious and nutritious lunch.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 of a red cabbage, core removed, sliced
  • 1 small white onion, sliced
  • bacon strips
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. The first step is to cook the bacon by grilling it. It should then be cut into strips and set aside while the red cabbage and onion is sauteed in the fashion already described.
  2. The bacon strips should be added to the red cabbage and onion for the last couple of minutes' cooking time, simply to heat through.
  3. Note that although black pepper should be added to this dish, enough salt is likely to be obtained from the bacon to eliminate the need for the addition of any more.

Photo Guide

Use the same recipe again, but this time accompany the cabbage with bacon strips and sliced onion.

Use the same recipe again, but this time accompany the cabbage with bacon strips and sliced onion.

Are you going to try any of these red cabbage recipes?

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on February 09, 2015:

I hope you enjoyed the ideas, Hendrika. It can be difficult when we have an excess of any food ingredient to use up and stop it going to waste. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

Hendrika from Pretoria, South Africa on October 04, 2014:

At the moment I have more cabbage, including red cabbage than I know what to do with so I will be trying these recipes

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on October 08, 2011:

Thank you, Sally's Trove, for your visit and comment. You are so right about red cabbage being too often overlooked and your serving suggestions sound delicious. Definitely a few extra ideas for me or anyone who reads this to try! :)

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on October 07, 2011:

These are wonderful ideas for red cabbage. Simple prep, flavor complements. Mostly I shred fresh red cabbage to add to a cold salad, but I also love it cooked with apples and vinegar (that would be somewhat like the pear and cabbage). Or pickled with beets and onion. Red cabbage is too often overlooked.

Thanks for these great ideas.

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on September 28, 2011:

Hello, Sylvia. THanks for visiting and commenting.

The effect you mention is part of the reason why I like to braise red cabbage rather than boil it. It sounds as though you may be very slightly overcooking the red cabbage. The good news is that all you are likely to affect is the presentation and that the goodness from the cabbage will remain in the liquid of a soup.

Sylvia Sky from USA on September 26, 2011:

Should I be concerned about the red color "leaking out" and turning the cabbage in the dish a faded gray while it purples the rest of the food -- as in soup?

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on July 11, 2011:

Hi, Phil Plasma. Thanks for the visit and comment. Yes, I love red cabbage and garlic, so that is a frequent method of cooking it for me, too.

Phil Plasma from Montreal, Quebec on July 06, 2011:

Great hub, the one with garlic looked the most appealing to me. Vote-up and useful.