Cabbage is such a highly underrated vegetable. It is packed with anti-carcinogenic nutrients and it’s one of the must inexpensive and widely available foods. Both my grandmothers made versions of this dish, and I always found it to be a tasty and comforting way to eat cooked cabbage. It’s tangy and sweet but also light, so it compliments a variety of dishes. Traditionally you would eat this alongside a sausage with mashed potatoes, or a plate of periogies, and it works really well alongside anything rich, heavy, creamy or lacking acidity.
My version of this cabbage side-dish is a more health-oriented version, designed to provide optimal medicinal value from your food. It’s a great recipe to use in the fall, winter or spring time, when it’s still cold out and you want to eat something warm. I prefer to use lemon juice since it helps to bring out the natural sweetness of the cabbage, but use whatever you have.
When it comes to caraway seeds, you either love them or hate them, so it’s optional. You can also use fennel seeds instead. They subtly enhance the flavour without dominating or overpowering.
For any pan-cooking, I prefer to use grapeseed oil because its antioxidants allow the oil to remain stable at high temperatures, or I mix the grapeseed oil with extra virgin olive oil in order to add the protective antioxidants to the olive oil.
European-style Red Cabbage:
1 small head of red cabbage, sliced thin or shredded into narrow pieces 2-3″ long
1 apple, peeled and sliced thinly (preferably granny smith, macintosh, empire
….not red delicious)
1 onion, sliced thinly
2-3 tbs apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp caraway or fennel seeds (optional)
3/4 cup water
grapeseed and/or extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
- In a large saute pan (cast iron is great!), put 2-3 tbs of oil into the pan and cook onions over medium heat until soft, then add fennel/caraway seeds and stir.
- Add shredded cabbage and sliced apples into the pan with 3/4 cup of water. Put a lid on the pan and turn the heat up to boil the water, then once boiling, turn it down to low for 20 minutes or until cabbage is tender. Stir quickly once at midway, making an effort to move any uncooked cabbage on top towards the bottom of the pan. If the pan is looking dry and vegetables are sticking to the bottom of the pan, add an extra 1/4-1/2 cup of water.
- When cabbage is tender at around 20 minutes, remove lid and add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and stir. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
- Let the cabbage sit off the heat for 10 minutes, covered. Taste test, then add any additional seasoning or extra lemon juice/vinegar, as required. (The flavours come together at the end).
The cabbage should be tender but juicy and tangy with a mild sweetness.