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How to Cook Red Cabbage

Updated on March 12, 2016
Gordon Hamilton profile image

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

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 that cabbage is all too often cooked in an inappropriate fashion or to excess. This page 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.

Check out also the, "Useful Links," section I will include further down this page for lots more ideas on how to cook red cabbage.

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
Red Cabbage, Pear and Nutmeg
Red Cabbage, Pear and Nutmeg
Chopped Red Cabbage and Pear
Chopped Red Cabbage and Pear

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.

For two people, this recipe calls for a quarter of a red cabbage, one moderately soft pear, a pinch of nutmeg, one tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. The cores should be removed from the red cabbage and the pear before they are sliced as shown to the right.

The olive oil should be gently heated in a wide-bottomed pan. 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 seven to eight minutes. 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
Red Cabbage, Onion and Garlic

Red Cabbage with Onion and Garlic

The red cabbage is in this instance cooked exactly the same way as above but is this time accompanied by white onion and garlic. For quarter of a red cabbage, one small, sliced white onion and one large clove of garlic, also sliced, should be used.

This red cabbage, onion and garlic is served with a Melton Mowbray pork pie, a hard boiled egg, salad and pickled beetroot, as seen below.

Red Cabbage, Onion and Bacon
Red Cabbage, Onion and Bacon

Red Cabbage, Bacon and Onion

This combination can make in itself a delicious and nutritious lunch. The first step is to cook the bacon by grilling it. It should then be cut in to strips and set aside while the red cabbage and onion is sauteed in the fashion already described.

The bacon strips should be added to the red cabbage and onion for the last couple of minutes' cooking time, simply to heat through. Note that alsthough 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.

How do you like to eat red cabbage?

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    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
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      Gordon Hamilton 2 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      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 profile image

      Hendrika 3 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      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 profile image
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      Gordon Hamilton 6 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      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! :)

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      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 profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 6 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      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.

    • SylviaSky profile image

      SylviaSky 6 years ago from USA

      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 profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 6 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      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 profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

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