Dinner Party Vegetables Vegetarian

Sticky and Spicy Red Cabbage

Red cabbage is a much maligned vegetable and, like beetroot, is not a favorite with many. Is it the colour or that they both have a somewhat strong smell and flavour? Personally I am a fan of both and love their versatility and enjoy creating some new ideas with them. Choose the best red cabbage by selecting one that feels heavy, is bright and has crisp leaves. Keep the lovely deep purple by adding a touch of vinegar when cooking red cabbage. This stops the colour from running.

This red cabbage recipe is quite a classic along with some additions from the store cupboard. I think most of us have cranberry or redcurrant sauce or jelly lying in the cupboard and this is ideal for bringing great sweetness and fruitiness to the dish. You could also use any marmalade which gives a lovely citrus tang. 

Once made, the red cabbage can be stored for a couple of days in the fridge or portioned and frozen. As it takes time to cook and red cabbages are usually quite large so have a big yield, it is worth cooking a large batch. For a bigger red cabbage simply increase the other ingredients.

Sticky and Spicy Red Cabbage

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 50 g butter or 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red cabbage cored and cut into thin strips
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 eating apple peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 50 g muscovado sugar
  • 150 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp cranberry sauce marmalade or red currant jelly


  • Melt the butter or oil in a large pan over a low heat and add the onion and apple. Soften in the butter for a few minutes, then stir in the spices and cook for one minute.
  • Tip in the cabbage and stir well until coated. Add the sugar and vinegar, keep the heat on low, stir well, cover and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn't stick.
  • Remove the lid. Stir in the cranberry sauce, red currant or marmalade, and cook for another 20 minutes over a low heat. Season well. Bring to a high heat and stirring constantly, cook until all the liquid is reduced so you have a thick compote-like mixture.
  • It can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days, or portioned and frozen. Simply reheat to serve, adding a knob of butter to give it a shine and rich flavour, if liked


Great served with sausages or pork chops. For a vegetarian dish, top with grilled goats cheese or serve with a slice of nut roast.

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