This braised red cabbage with apples is a classic Germanic side that's a delicious combination of gently sweet and mildly aromatic spice. Easy to make and comfortingly tasty.
This post may contain affiliate links, where we earn from qualifying purchases. See more details in the policy page.
Even for me, and I was brought up visiting Austria ever year or two, I find I need a change after a week or two of traditional foods.
Many traditional German and Austrian dishes are heavier partly as they came out of the need to sustain a predominantly farmer population. They would burn through a lot of calories working in the fields, so needed hearty meals.
It can all get a bit heavy if your lifestyle is not exactly matched, though. There are a good number of meat dishes, especially pork, and bready things, but not too many vegetables.
It's maybe not a completely fair image, and they wouldn't be alone in that trend anyway (hey, I'm from the UK, not exactly known for it's cuisine, although that, too, I think is a little unfair).
But I think even most Germans would agree that, traditionally at least, there is a bit of a tendency towards only a small range of vegetables. You'll find plenty of potatoes, of course, (like German potato pancakes), then some dishes with mushrooms.
If there's anything else as a side, you're probably looking at a simple salad, white asparagus, green beans or red cabbage.
Braised red cabbage with apples is one of my favorites, and so I was always happy to see it on the menu.
I don't know if that's partly because it's also something you find in the UK, especially served with a Sunday roast. But I think it's mainly that it's so comforting, gently sweet and with a fragrant spice undertone.
It goes with lots of different meats, such as sausages as we had here, or roast meats (it mops up the gravy as well!). Roast vegetables pair well too.
How to make braised red cabbage
There are a few variations on braised red cabbage, but this version is one I like as it has a nice balance of gentle sweetness and aromatic spice. All you do is:
- Shred the cabbage, grate the apple then start to cook the cabbage in a little oil.
- Add the apple, cloves and orange juice, mix then cover.
- Reduce the heat and allow it to kind of steam/sweat for a few minutes until tender.
Easy to make, comforting and with a lovely mix of flavors, this braised red cabbage with apples is a classic Germanic side that pairs well with so many dishes. Perfect for an Oktoberfest feast and so much more.
Make this a meal with these German mains and other sides:
- Jaegerschnitzel (pork chops with mushroom sauce)
- Sauerbraten (German pot roast)
- Potatoes are common additional sides as well as spaetzle (or even better as a meal alongside bacon onion spaetzle)
- And for extra veg, try some speckbohnen (green beans) alongside too.
- Get more ideas in the German recipes archives.
Braised red cabbage with apples
- 3 ½ cups red cabbage 220g, ½ a small cabbage
- 1 apple or ½ large
- 3 cloves
- 3 tbsp orange juice
- Shred the cabbage relatively finely and peel and grate the apple.
- Warm a little oil in a pan and add the cabbage. Cook for a couple minutes so it starts to soften, stirring now and then to coat with the oil. Add the apple, cloves and orange juice, mix then cover. Reduce the heat and allow it to steam/sweat for around 15 minutes until tender, stirring now and then.
- Remove the cloves and serve.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Try these other ideas for Oktoberfest:
- Autumn Crockpot Apple Sauerkraut by Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
- Bierocks by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Brombeere-Butterkuchen – Blackberry German Butter Cake by Food Lust People Love
- Chicken Schnitzel with Dunkelweizen Sauce by Palatable Pastime
- Chicken Schnitzel With Garlic Mayo by Sneha’s Recipe
- German meatballs with spaetzle by Cookaholic Wife
- Nusskämme (German Hazelnut Combs) by Tara’s Multicultural Table