The Cabbage Chronicles: Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage

This beautiful jewel-hued dish is a great addition to any Holiday table or festive meal. I’d personally opt for this rather than the ubiquitous cranberry sauce any day! And it’s healthy enough you can have a big heaping portion of it without worry. Furthermore, it’s a hit with persons large and small, vegan or omnivorous. Finally, it features few ingredients but packs lots of great taste so a winning proposition pretty much any way you look at it. (Mom – it’s also another addition to the Cabbage Chronicles, keeping you fed and interested through another COVID quarantine…)

Yield: 3 cups (1 to 4 servings depending on appetite and how much other stuff is being served)

What you need:

  • 1 teaspoon olive or sesame oil (untoasted, the plain virgin stuff; you can use more or opt for vegan butter-flavoured coconut oil if you want a richer dish)
  • 4 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons dried unsweetened tart red cherries (or currants, or raisins, or dried cranberries, or dried bluberries)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (or a vinegar you like)
  • 2 teaspoons brown rice syrup (less if you use raisins or sweetened dried fruit; or maple syrup; or 1 tsp jaggery – if you’d rather use one of those to sweeten)
  • a pinch of allspice powder (optional)
  • salt

What you do:

  1. Heat a thick-bottomed pot or saucepan on medium heat. When hot, add the oil and cabbage. Stir to mix. Let the cabbage cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted and soft with some caramelization or browning on the bottom of the pot and perhaps a few crunchy bits.
  2. While the cabbage is cooking, mix together the water, lemon juice and sweetener.
  3. When the cabbage is done as described above, add the dried cherries and liquid sweet and sour mix; and stir well. Now add the allspice and salt to desired level and mix to distribute throughout.
  4. Bring to a boil and then cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer briskly until the cabbage is done to your liking.
  5. When the cabbage is as chewy or soft as you want, uncover the pot, raise the heat and simmer off any liquid remaining so that the beautiful color makes it back into the cabbage where it belongs.
  6. Serve.


  • Omit the sweetener and use apple juice instead of water as the liquid.
  • Replace the lemon juice with apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar.
  • Use a pinch of ground anise seed rather than allspice.
  • Add some heat by adding some ginger juice to the liquid.
  • Sauté an onion and/or some garlic in with the cabbage at step 1 if you like.
  • Make the dish a paler shade of green by swapping the red cabbage out for green cabbage and using yellow raisins instead of the cherries. Lime juice works well instead of lemon in this variation as well!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Bernadine says:

    This looks delicious!

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