Braised Red Cabbage

5 from 4 votes

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Braised cabbage with radicchio and citrus is a gorgeous side dish and a great companion to roast meat. Perfect for Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah.

Spicy Braised Radicchio and Red Cabbage with Citrus / Katie Workman / themom100.com / Photo by Mia

Growing up, we always had some sort of braised red cabbage during the Jewish holidays, especially Rosh Hashanah, a sweet and sour jumble with a deep reddish purple color. Now, it’s pretty much the first thing I reach for, and I don’t ever pass up a second helping.

Here, the cabbage is simmered with radicchio, onions, herbs, wine, and a few complementary seasonings. The stovetop braising softens the bitterness of the radicchio and the sharpness of the onion, but without muting the wonderful layers of flavor these ingredients add to the dish. A little sweetness comes from the honey and the orange juice. The lemon supplies some welcome adicity, as does the combo of red wine and balsamic vinegar.

Seriously, how gorgeous is this dish? Can’t you picture it sitting happily next to a roast of any kind? On Rosh Hashanah, I serve this cabbage with Chicken Marbella or Jewish Brisket. Pair it up with some Honey Mustard Green Beans, Roasted Lemon Brussels Sprouts, and a big bowl of roasted potatoes. If you don’t have a big group, you can easily cut this recipe in half — it does make a lot. But I love the leftovers, so I’m always going full batch.

Braised Red Cabbage in a white oval serving bowl.

Spicy Braised Radicchio and Red Cabbage with Citrus: A gorgeous side dish & great companion to a roast meat. Perfect for Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah.

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Ingredients

  • Radicchio – This bitter leafy vegetable is actually a type of chicory and adds a satisfying depth to this dish.
  • Red cabbage – It may seem like a lot of cabbage, especially when chopped, but it will reduce in volume by half when cooked.
  • Orange juice – Adds sweetness.
  • Lemon juice – Adds fresh acidity.
  • Balsamic vinegar – Balsamic vinegar comes in many forms and at many price points, but whatever you have in your pantry will work here.
  • Unsalted butter – The vegetables get sautéed in butter to give this dish a rich base.
  • Red onion – I decided to fall head first down the notion of red, adding radicchio and these red onions, which provide a savory flavor base.
  • Red wine – Another pop of red! The red wine becomes the braising liquid and infuses the cabbage with delicious acidity and depth.
  • Madeira – A fortified wine that adds more sweetness than the red wine does by itself.
  • Honey – The sweetness of the honey balances out all the acidic elements.
  • Thyme leaves – If you only have dried thyme, reduce the quantity from 2 teaspoons to 1 teaspoon.
  • Red pepper flakes – A little touch of heat is so nice here.
  • Dried coriander – Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant, adding another slightly citrusy note.

Substitutions

  • Madeira wine is a fortified wine often made in Portugal, usually with some sweetness to it. If you don’t have it, you can skip it, or use another fortified wine like Marsala or Port if you have it.
  • You can use whatever color onions you have around.
  • Use agave instead of honey to make this recipe vegan.
Braised Red Cabbage in a white serving bowl.

How to Make Braised Red Cabbage

  1. Slice the vegetables: Quarter the radicchio and cabbage so that you can cut out the cores. Then, thinly slice the vegetables.
  2. Season the vegetables: In a bowl, combine the radicchio and cabbage with the orange juice, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Set aside and toss occasionally.
  3. Make the braising liquid: Sauté the onions in butter until soft. Stir in the red wine, Madeira, and honey. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  4. Simmer: After a few minutes, add in the prepared vegetables. Simmer for around 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Finish and serve: Stir in the thyme, red pepper flakes, coriander, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 20 more minutes until the liquid has reduced and the cabbage is tender. Serve hot.

FAQs

What is braised cabbage?

Technically, braising means first searing something in a pan and then cooking it covered in simmering liquid. Even though I call this braised cabbage, it’s really just simmered since braising usually includes a lid at least some of the time. Here, there is a lot of liquid, so we want it to reduce during the cooking.

Can you overcook cabbage?

Cabbage can be cooked for a long time without overcooking, but it is definitely possible to go too far. After about an hour of slow simmering, the cabbage will be perfectly tender, and its natural sweet and earthy flavor will have been drawn out. However, if you forget about it on the stove, the cabbage’s red color will fade, and its texture can become slimy. Avoid simmering for more than an hour and a half.

What is the best way to cut cabbage for braising?

Cutting cabbage into thin pieces is the best for braising because they will wilt easily and cook down into a good texture. First, cut the head of cabbage into quarters. Now, you can cut out the hard white core at the center. Next, slice the cabbage thinly width-wise. When the cabbage is braised, the pieces collapse and become deliciously tender.

Make-Ahead and Storage

  • After tossing the sliced vegetables with the citrus, you can store that in the fridge in a covered container overnight before cooking it.
  • Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge. Enjoy at room temperature or warm over medium-low heat on the stove, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

What to Serve With Braised Red Cabbage

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5 from 4 votes

Braised Red Cabbage

Braised cabbage with radicchio and citrus is a gorgeous side dish and a great companion to roast meat. Perfect for Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 12 People
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Ingredients 

  • 2 medium heads radicchio
  • 1 head red cabbage
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 red onions (halved and thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ¼ cup Madeira
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)

Instructions 

  • Quarter and core the radicchio and cabbage, and very thinly slice both vegetables. Place the radicchio and cabbage in a large bowl. Sprinkle over the orange juice, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar, give a very generous sprinkling with salt, and toss. (This will look like a lot of vegetables, which it is, but keep in mind that it will reduce by almost half when cooked). Set aside, and give the mixture a toss every once in a while as you sauté the onions; you can cover the bowl and refrigerate it overnight if you like.
  • Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions and stir occasionally for 5 minutes until they start to soften. Stir in the red wine, Madeira, and honey and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in the radicchio, cabbage, and the citrus juices. Simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to redistribute the vegetables as they wilt, over medium heat.
  • Add the thyme, red pepper flakes, coriander, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 more minutes until the vegetables are wilted and very tender and the liquid has reduced and thickened a bit. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve hot or warm.

Notes

  • Madeira wine is a fortified wine often made in Portugal, usually with some sweetness to it. If you don’t have it you can skip it, or use another fortified wine like Marsala or Port if you have it.
  • You can use whatever color onions you have around.
  • Use agave instead of honey to make this recipe vegan.
  • After tossing the sliced v vegetables with the citrus, you can store that in the fridge in a covered container overnight before cooking it.
  • Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge. Enjoy at room temperature, or warm over medium-low heat on the stove, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Nutrition

Calories: 103.76kcal, Carbohydrates: 12.48g, Protein: 1.42g, Fat: 4.04g, Saturated Fat: 2.46g, Cholesterol: 10.17mg, Sodium: 22.9mg, Potassium: 254.5mg, Fiber: 1.9g, Sugar: 7.9g, Vitamin A: 947.31IU, Vitamin C: 48.88mg, Calcium: 42.08mg, Iron: 0.81mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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2 Comments

  1. CAM Berdan says:

    The recipe says to cook the onions in the butter first. But then it says to add the onion after the cabbage and radicchio have simmered for 45 minutes. Which is correct? Thank you.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      adjusted the directions, thank you!