A Guide to Making Spiced Red Cabbage A Colorful Side Dish

Spiced red cabbage is a vibrant and flavorful dish that perfectly complements any festive main course. Its rich color and tantalizing aroma make it a standout side dish, particularly popular during the holiday season. Not only is it visually appealing, but its versatility also allows it to pair beautifully with a variety of proteins, from roasted meats to vegetarian options like pâté or cheese.

This recipe for spiced red cabbage has garnered an impressive average rating of 4.7 out of 5 from over 70 reviews, reflecting its widespread approval among home cooks. The numerous positive comments highlight how easy and satisfying this recipe is to prepare, making it a favorite for both novice cooks and seasoned chefs alike.

What makes this dish particularly appealing is its ability to be prepared ahead of time, making it a practical choice for busy holiday cooking. It can be made up to two days in advance and simply reheated with a splash of water, or even prepared a month ahead and frozen, ensuring that you have a delicious, stress-free side ready for your festive gatherings.

Nutritionally, spiced red cabbage is as beneficial as it is tasty. It’s low in fat and salt but high in fiber, and its main ingredients, like red cabbage and onions, are known for their health benefits, including high vitamin C and antioxidants. This makes the dish not only a delightful addition to your holiday menu but also a healthy one.

By following the straightforward steps outlined in this recipe, you can create a dish that not only enhances the taste of your meals but also adds a burst of color to your table. Whether you’re serving it alongside your main course or tossing it with olive oil for a simple yet elegant salad, spiced red cabbage is sure to impress your guests with its delightful mix of flavors and textures.

Visual AppealVibrant color, standout side dish for the holiday season.
Popularity and RatingAverage rating of 4.7 out of 5 from over 70 reviews.
Preparation FlexibilityCan be prepared ahead of time, up to two days in advance or frozen for a month.
Nutritional ValueLow in fat and salt, high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
Versatility in PairingComplements a variety of proteins, suitable for both meat and vegetarian options.
Cooking EaseEasy and satisfying to prepare, suitable for novice and experienced cooks.

Recipe Snapshot

The Spiced Red Cabbage recipe is designed to offer a harmonious blend of simplicity and festive flair, making it an ideal choice for both new and experienced cooks. The preparation time for this dish is approximately 15 minutes, and the cooking process takes about 35 minutes. In total, you should expect to spend around 50 minutes from start to finish, making this dish not only flavorful but also relatively quick to prepare compared to other festive dishes that may require longer cooking times.

This recipe is classified as easy, ensuring that anyone can tackle it without needing advanced culinary skills. It serves between 6 to 8 people, making it perfect for family gatherings or festive dinners. Whether you’re hosting a small holiday party or looking for a vibrant side dish to complement your meal, this spiced red cabbage fits perfectly.

In addition to the straightforward cooking process and appealing serving size, there is an exciting offer associated with this recipe. When you try this recipe, there’s an opportunity to subscribe to the magazine at a highly discounted rate. New subscribers can receive 5 issues for just £5. This subscription not only provides access to a myriad of other recipes but also includes tips, tricks, and culinary insights that can help elevate your cooking.

Preparation TimeApproximately 15 minutes
Cooking TimeAbout 35 minutes
Total Time50 minutes from start to finish
Difficulty LevelEasy, suitable for all skill levels
Serving SizeServes between 6 to 8 people
Subscription OfferNew subscribers can receive 5 magazine issues for just £5

Nutritional Information

Nutritionally, the spiced red cabbage is a powerhouse of health benefits, making it an excellent addition to any meal, especially for those conscious about their dietary intake. Each serving of this delightful dish contains approximately 137 calories, making it a low-calorie option suitable for anyone monitoring their caloric intake. The total fat content per serving is about 3 grams, which includes saturated fats at negligible amounts (0 grams), indicating that this dish is not only flavorful but also heart-friendly.

Carbohydrates are present at 27 grams per serving, with sugars accounting for 24 grams. This is primarily due to the natural sugars found in the cabbage and onions, as well as the addition of golden caster sugar which enhances the dish’s inherent sweetness and creates the luscious sticky texture that this recipe is famous for. Despite the sugar content, the dish is balanced with 3 grams of protein per serving, adding a bit of nutritional substance to its profile.

Fiber is notably absent in the nutritional breakdown, but this shouldn’t be a deterrent as red cabbage itself is a good source of dietary fiber; the nutritional labeling might simply overlook this detail. The spiced red cabbage is notably low in salt, with only 0.04 grams per serving, making it an excellent choice for those on a low-sodium diet or anyone looking to reduce their salt intake.

For vegetarians and those looking to add more plant-based foods to their diet, this recipe is a perfect fit. It contains no animal products, focusing instead on the richness of vegetables and spices to deliver its flavor. The nutritional benefits of red cabbage, combined with the heart-healthy olive oil and antioxidant-rich spices like allspice and ginger, contribute both health benefits and intense flavor, making this dish a nutritious part of any meal.

Overall, the spiced red cabbage offers a wealth of nutritional benefits while providing a burst of color and taste to any dining table. Its low calorie and fat content, coupled with its suitability for vegetarians and those watching their sodium intake, make it a versatile and health-conscious choice for any occasion.

Nutritional AspectDetails
CaloriesApproximately 137 calories per serving
Total Fat3 grams per serving, with negligible saturated fats
Carbohydrates27 grams per serving, with sugars accounting for 24 grams
Protein3 grams per serving
Dietary FiberNot listed in breakdown, but red cabbage is a good source
SaltVery low at 0.04 grams per serving
SuitabilityIdeal for vegetarians and low-sodium diets


Creating the spiced red cabbage requires a specific set of ingredients, each contributing its unique flavor and texture to the dish. Here is a comprehensive list of what you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil: A healthier oil choice that provides a good base for sautéing the vegetables.
  • 1 medium-sized red cabbage, quartered, cored, and shredded: The main ingredient, red cabbage, adds not only vibrant color but also numerous health benefits.
  • 1 finger-size piece of fresh root ginger, finely chopped: Ginger offers a warm, spicy kick that complements the sweetness of the other ingredients.
  • 2 onions, sliced: Onions provide a base flavor that is both sweet and savory, essential for the depth of this dish.
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice: This spice adds a complex, sweet-and-spicy flavor that is crucial to the dish’s festive nature.
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds: They offer a crunchy texture and a spicy tang that punctuates the cabbage.
  • 100 grams golden caster sugar: Essential for caramelizing, it enhances the natural sweetness of the cabbage and helps create a sticky texture.
  • 150 milliliters red wine vinegar: Adds a tart contrast to the sweetness, balancing the flavor profile and aiding in softening the cabbage to a perfect texture.

These ingredients work together to create a dish that is as nutritious as it is delicious, suitable for a wide range of dietary preferences.

Olive oil1 tablespoonA healthier oil choice for sautéing vegetables.
Red cabbage1 medium-sized, quartered, cored, and shreddedProvides vibrant color and numerous health benefits.
Fresh root ginger1 finger-size piece, finely choppedAdds a warm, spicy kick complementing the dish’s sweetness.
Onions2, slicedProvide a sweet and savory base flavor.
Ground allspice1 teaspoonContributes a complex, sweet-and-spicy flavor.
Mustard seeds1 tablespoonOffer a crunchy texture and a spicy tang.
Golden caster sugar100 gramsEnhances natural sweetness and aids in caramelization.
Red wine vinegar150 millilitersProvides a tart contrast and helps soften the cabbage.

Cooking Method

To transform these ingredients into the delicious spiced red cabbage, follow these detailed step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Initial Cooking

  1. Heat the Olive Oil: Start by heating the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Ensure the oil is warm but not smoking to avoid burning the ingredients.
  2. Add the Cabbage and Spices: Add the shredded red cabbage to the pan, followed by the finely chopped ginger, sliced onions, ground allspice, and mustard seeds.
  3. Cook the Vegetables: Stir the mixture well to ensure that everything is evenly coated with oil and spices. Cook for about 5 minutes, just until the cabbage starts to wilt. This process allows the flavors to begin melding together while keeping the cabbage’s vibrant color.

Step 2: Creating the Sticky Texture

  1. Add Sugar and Vinegar: Sprinkle the golden caster sugar evenly over the cabbage. Then, pour in the red wine vinegar, covering the cabbage mixture. This combination will start the caramelization process.
  2. Cover and Simmer: Cover the pan and allow the cabbage to gently cook for 10 minutes. This step is crucial as it lets the cabbage absorb the flavors and begin softening without losing its texture.
  3. Reduce the Liquid: After 10 minutes, remove the lid and increase the heat to medium. Let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the cooking continues, the vinegar and sugar will reduce, becoming syrupy and beginning to stick to the pan.
  4. Final Reduction: In the last few minutes of cooking, stir the cabbage continuously. This final step is vital to ensure all the liquid evaporates and leaves a sticky, caramelized coating on the cabbage and at the bottom of the pan.

Once completed, transfer the spiced red cabbage into a large bowl and serve. The end result should be a beautifully vibrant dish with a balance of sweet, tart, and spicy flavors, complemented by a sticky, satisfying texture. This dish not only makes for an eye-catching side but also brings a burst of flavor that can elevate any festive meal.

Initial Cooking
  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add shredded red cabbage, chopped ginger, sliced onions, ground allspice, and mustard seeds.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes until the cabbage starts to wilt, stirring well.
5 minutes
Creating the Sticky Texture
  • Add golden caster sugar and red wine vinegar over the cabbage.
  • Cover and simmer for 10 minutes to allow the cabbage to absorb flavors.
  • Remove the lid, increase heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture reduces and becomes syrupy.
  • Continuously stir in the last few minutes to ensure all liquid evaporates and leaves a sticky coating.
35 minutes

Serving Suggestions

Spiced red cabbage is a versatile dish that can elevate any meal with its vibrant color and robust flavors. Here are some serving suggestions to make the most out of this delightful side dish:

As a Festive Side Dish: Serve the spiced red cabbage alongside traditional holiday main courses such as roasted turkey, glazed ham, or nut roast. Its sweet and tangy flavor complements rich, savory meats and vegetarian options alike.

With Cold Cuts and Cheese: This cabbage makes an excellent accompaniment to a charcuterie board. Pair it with an array of cold cuts, pâté, and cheeses. The acidity and sweetness of the cabbage cut through the fats, making it a refreshing palate cleanser.

In Sandwiches and Wraps: Incorporate the spiced red cabbage into sandwiches and wraps for a crunchy, flavorful addition. It pairs wonderfully with pulled pork, chicken, or grilled vegetables, adding a festive twist to everyday lunches.

As a Topping for Burgers: Elevate your burgers by topping them with a generous serving of this cabbage. Its vibrant flavor is particularly good with venison or beef burgers, adding a unique twist to your barbecue or dinner menu.

In Salads: Toss leftover spiced red cabbage with fresh greens, nuts, and a simple vinaigrette for a nutritious salad. It’s perfect for post-holiday detox meals.

Serving SuggestionDescription
As a Festive Side DishServe alongside traditional holiday main courses like roasted turkey, glazed ham, or nut roast. Complements both meat and vegetarian options with its sweet and tangy flavor.
With Cold Cuts and CheeseExcellent accompaniment to a charcuterie board. Pair with cold cuts, pâté, and cheeses to cleanse the palate with its acidity and sweetness.
In Sandwiches and WrapsUse as a crunchy, flavorful addition in sandwiches and wraps. Works well with pulled pork, chicken, or grilled vegetables, adding a festive flavor.
As a Topping for BurgersAdd as a topping on burgers to provide a vibrant flavor boost, especially good with venison or beef burgers.
In SaladsToss with fresh greens, nuts, and a simple vinaigrette for a nutritious salad. Ideal for post-holiday detox meals.

Additional Recipe Tips

Preparing Ahead: Spiced red cabbage is an excellent make-ahead dish, which can be a real advantage during the busy holiday season.

Refrigeration: You can prepare this dish up to two days in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, simply place it in a saucepan over medium heat, add a splash of water, and stir until it is heated through.

Freezing: For longer storage, spiced red cabbage freezes well. Allow the cabbage to cool completely after cooking, then transfer it to freezer-safe bags or containers. It can be frozen for up to a month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat as above.

Reheating Tips: When reheating, if the cabbage appears too dry, add a little extra red wine vinegar or water to bring back its moist texture. A gentle heat is recommended to preserve the flavors and prevent burning.

Alternative Recipe: Stir-fried Crunchy Christmas Cabal

For those looking for a variation that includes a bit of crunch and quicker preparation time, try this alternative recipe:


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 finger-size piece fresh root ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 medium-size red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey


Heat the Oil: In a large wok, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

Sauté the Spices: Add the ginger and allspice to the wok and fry briefly to release their flavors.

Add the Cabbage: Quickly add the shredded cabbage to the wok, stirring to coat it in the spice mixture.

Cook with Vinegar and Honey: Pour in the red wine vinegar and honey. Continue to stir-fry for a few minutes until the cabbage is just beginning to wilt but retains its crunch.

Serve Immediately: This version of the dish is best served immediately while the cabbage is still crunchy and warm.

This stir-fried cabbage variant offers a quicker, crunchier alternative to the traditional spiced red cabbage, suitable for those who prefer a lighter side dish with a bite. Whether you choose the traditional slow-cooked method or this quick stir-fry, both versions provide delightful ways to enjoy red cabbage during the festive season and beyond.

Preparing AheadPrepare up to two days in advance and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
FreezingFreeze for up to a month. Cool completely, then store in freezer-safe bags or containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Reheating TipsReheat in a saucepan over medium heat with a splash of water or red wine vinegar to maintain moisture. Use gentle heat to preserve flavors and prevent burning.
Alternative Recipe: Stir-fried Crunchy Christmas Cabbage
  • Ingredients: Olive oil, fresh ginger, ground allspice, red cabbage, red wine vinegar, honey.
  • Method: Heat oil, sauté spices, add cabbage, cook with vinegar and honey, serve immediately.
  • Characteristics: Quick, crunchy, suitable for those preferring a lighter side with a bite.

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Value Proposition
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The spiced red cabbage recipe exemplifies the perfect blend of tradition and innovation, making it a must-try dish for any occasion, particularly during festive seasons. Its vibrant colors and rich, tangy flavors make it a standout side that beautifully complements any main course. The ease of preparation combined with its dietary benefits—suitable for vegetarians and those watching their sodium intake—ensures that this dish is both enjoyable and health-conscious.

We encourage you to embrace the simplicity and elegance of this recipe. Whether you’re looking to add something new to your holiday menu or simply want to enhance your daily meals with more nutritious options, spiced red cabbage offers a delicious solution. The flexibility of the recipe also allows for variations, ensuring that it can be tailored to suit different tastes and preferences.

As you try this recipe at home, we invite you to share your experiences. Rate the recipe on our website and leave comments with your tweaks or tips. Did you try it with the festive turkey, or did you innovate and create a new combination that surprised your guests? Your feedback is invaluable and helps us to continually improve our offerings and tailor them to your needs.

Join our community of food lovers today by subscribing to our magazine and delve into a world of culinary delights that await you. Happy cooking, and enjoy the vibrant flavors that spiced red cabbage brings to your table!