Hand drawn image of Red cabbage

Red cabbage

Brassica oleracea

Red cabbage, a seasonal classic for its dramatic colour and deep, earthy flavour. A heavy and tightly packed head, beautifully coloured in a deep periwinkle purple that deepens when cooked. This winter favourite finds a match with fragrant festive spices such as cinnamon, star anise, caraway and cloves. When raw, its fresh crunch is welcome addition to salads and slaws.

Image of Red cabbage being produced

In the kitchen


Cabbages are best enjoyed as fresh as possible, but generally keep well for a fortnight stored in a cool vegetable rack or in the fridge.

Prep & Cooking tips

Unlike other cabbages, red cabbages are quite hard to peel leaf by leaf, so cleave it into manageable quarters, remove the tougher root core with a simple V-shaped cut and slice it crossways as thickly or thinly as required. They may stain your hands and chopping board, but not nearly as drastically as beetroot.

Most commonly braised with a few festive spices, red wine and brown sugar for an hour or so. Don’t be afraid to cook it for a bit less time, 10-15 mins will reveal a sweetness but keep an interesting bite, perfect mixed with beetroot and apple. They are mild enough to be eaten raw and often supply the backbone to a hearty winter slaw.

Easy ideas

  1. One pot roast A comforting accompaniment to any gamebird or fowl. Try cooking together. Finely slice the cabbage and one onion. Mix together in a large casserole dish with winter spices, salt and pepper and good stock. Nestle a couple of seasoned birds on top, cover tightly with a lid and pop in a medium oven for 90 mins or until the leg meat is soft and giving.

  2. Autumnal slaw Mix finely shredded cabbage with some grated carrot, sliced red onion and celeriac. Dress with good mayo or a sharp vinaigrette. Scatter through some diced apple, sultanas or chopped prunes. A flourish of toasted hazelnuts or walnuts would be appropriate, and pomegranate seeds if you’re feeling fancy.

  3. Slice & spice Enhance a traditional spiced red cabbage dish with some grated beetroot and apple. 1 beet and 1 apple to half a cabbage should work. Pears and roasted shallots work well, too.

Goes well with

Dried fruits (raisins, dried cranberries, prunes) Warm wintery spices (all spice, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, star anise)

Roasted meats (especially beef & game)

Herbs (bay, dill, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme)

Red wine, red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar

Apples & pears

Red onion






Soured cream & yoghurt

Red cabbage recipes

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