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German Red Cabbage – Traditional Recipe

Authentic traditional German red cabbage is a delicious dish with its uniquely sweet and sour flavors, accented with delicately spiced cloves and juniper berries. It’s a standout side dish that uses shredded red cabbage and diced apples to create a vibrantly colored, fork-tender mouthful you’ll never forget.

This authentic German Red Cabbage was a common side dish when I was growing up.   My roots go back to Germany on my mom’s side of the family, and my stepmom was also German.  We enjoyed many dishes with German origins, and this German Red Cabbage dish remains a favorite to this day. 

Serve this German Red Cabbage with Sauerbraten.  It also goes well as a side dish with a Pork Roast or Prime Rib Roast. 

 

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Simple is Smart (SIS) Tip:

If you don’t have red cabbage, you can also make this dish with green cabbage.  It isn’t as beautiful or vibrant. However, it is still delicious.   If you can’t find Juniper Berries, substitute dried Rosemary,   Cardamon Seed,  or Caraway seeds for the Juniper Berries. 

What Ingredients do I Need to Make German Red Cabbage?

Red Cabbage:  Thinly slice the red cabbage you will need one small head or about half of a large head of red cabbage. 

Apples: I’ve used tart apples and sweet apples and come to the conclusion that the apple variety doesn’t matter.  Make sure you peel and core the apple before dicing it. 

Onions:  I use a medium yellow or Spanish onion.  A sweet onion will also work. 

Butter: If you are vegan, use a plant based butter like VioLife. 

Vegetable Broth: Make homemade vegetable broth  from the scraps that you trim off of your vegetables.  Freeze or can the stock for use in recipes. 

Red Wine Vinegar:  If you don’t have red wine vinegar, you can use balsamic or even white vinegar.  The vinegar gives this dish it’s delightful tang. 

Bay Leaf: remove the bay leaf before serving. 

Whole Cloves: substitute 1/4 tsp ground cloves if you don’t have whole cloves. 

Juniper Berries Dried rosemary, Cardamon, or Caraway seeds can be substituted for the Juniper Berries.  Use 1/4 tsp. 

German Red Cabbage in a square dish

Step by Step Instructions:

  1. In a Dutch Oven, saute the onions in the butter on med-low for 10 minutes to lightly caramelize the onions.
  2. Add the sliced cabbage and cook for five minutes.
  3. Add all of the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  5. Stir every 30 minutes to make sure it isn’t sticking. Add more broth if needed.
  6. Season to taste by adjusting the sweetness and the acid with either sugar or vinegar.

Storing:

Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to five days.  Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop and serve.  Add a little water if heating on the stovetop. 

Freezing:  The leftovers will freeze well in an airtight container for up to six months. 

German Red Cabbage in a square dish

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German Red Cabbage in a square dish

German Red Cabbage - Traditional

This traditional dish of sweet and sour red cabbage is served with roasts and sauerbraten in homes and restaurants through out Germany.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Course: Side Dish, Vegetable
Cuisine: German
Keyword: easy, healthy, Red Cabbage, Rotkohl, Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage, vegan
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 106kcal

Equipment

  • This page contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click a link, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you
  • 1 Dutch Oven

Ingredients

  • lbs red cabbage thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 med onion finely diced
  • 1 large apple chopped fine
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 juniper berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup vegetable broth

Instructions

  • In a Dutch Oven, saute the onions in the butter on med-low for 10 minutes to lightly caramelize the onions.
  • Add the sliced cabbage and cook for five minutes.
  • Add all of the rest of the ingredients.
  • Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  • Stir every 30 minutes to make sure it isn't sticking. Add more broth if needed.
  • Season to taste by adjusting the sweetness and the acid with either sugar or vinegar.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 420mg | Potassium: 267mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1172IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg
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