by Olena

Braised Cabbage with Apples

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
5 from 5 votes

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This Braised Cabbage and Apple dish is a simple combination of sweet and savory for a wonderfully tender and flavor-packed vegetarian side or main, ready in 40 minutes!

If you have an abundance of cabbage, make this cabbage soup recipe or Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage.

braised cabbage with apples

Sweet and Savory Braised Cabbage and Apple

In the last couple of weeks, I ended up with an influx of cabbage in my fridge (don’t ask). After making my usual favorites, including this cabbage roll casserole and cabbage stir fry, I wanted a new way to enjoy this humble veg. With apples from my backyard, I decided to combine the two in this sweet and savory braised cabbage recipe. And baked apple bread as well haha.

Cabbage is jam-packed with nutrients, is cost-efficient, available all year, and neutral enough in flavor that it can be enjoyed in several ways. In fact, it may be the Ukrainian in me, but I honestly think that America and Canada severely under utilize this humble veg.

I blame it on being served soggy, stinky, boiled cabbage as a child, leading to an adulthood of cabbage disdain. Well, no more! It’s time to give this veg another chance! (and while we’re at it- let’s do the same for Brussel sprouts – because sauteed sprouts with bacon are too good to be missed!).

This braised cabbage and apple recipe contains a delicious blend of sweet and savory, injected with tons of flavor as it braises in a mixture of vegetable broth and warm aromatics like garlic and ginger. The results are cabbage that is wonderfully tender but packed with flavor. You can also adapt the cooking time based on preferred tenderness – 20 minutes for crunchier, 30 for tender, or even more!

All in all, it’s not as dull as boiled cabbage (by a long shot!) and healthier/not as greasy as fried/sauteed cabbage. Top it with cashews (or other nuts) and cranberries and serve alongside a piece of organic sprouted toast, and you have yourself a simple, nutrient-dense meal!

Ingredients for Braised Cabbage

  • Cabbage: Basic green cabbage is all you need for this braised cabbage recipe. However, savoy cabbage and red cabbage would also work very well. In fact, red cabbage with apples is a typical Holiday dish.
  • Apples: I used apples from my garden. If buying store-bought, you can use tart (Pink Lady, Granny Smith) or sweet ( Fuji, Gala) based on personal preference.
  • Aromatics: I used a combination of ginger and garlic to add warmth and flavor to the dish.
  • Salt & pepper: To season.  
  • The braising liquid: I used a combination of low sodium vegetable broth (so I can season the braised cabbage to my liking), Dijon mustard, and tomato paste.
  • Garnish: Finely chopped fresh parsley along with cashews (or walnuts/ another nut) and cranberries top this cabbage and apple dish wonderfully.
  • Oil: I used coconut oil – you could use another neutral cooking oil if preferred.

Optional Ingredients

There are several ways you can adapt this braised cabbage recipe, including with several add-ins.

  • Butter: Buttery cabbage is another-level delicious, so if you don’t mind the extra fat, feel free to add a little to the pan and stir in just before serving.
  • Acid: When combining cabbage with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, it really brings zing and gives it life! However, note the recipe will then need some kind of sugar to balance the flavors.
  • Other herbs: Caraway seeds or cumin seeds are a classic combination with braised cabbage. You could also use thyme (fresh or dried), red pepper flakes (for spice), or a bay leaf (removed before serving).
  • Other vegetables: Feel free to add a very finely chopped onion when sautéing the aromatics in the pan – increasing the sauté time to 2 minutes. You could also add finely sliced leek in the same way or some sliced or shredded carrots.
  • Meat: Bacon and cabbage pair wonderfully. You can fry several pieces of bacon (or bacon lardons) in the pan to begin with, then use the grease (instead o oil) for sautéing the aromatics.

Traditional red cabbage with apples: is a very tangy, sweet, and savory dish with a combination of apple juice/cider and apple cider vinegar as the braising liquid, balanced with sugar. For that kind of flavor, feel free to swap out some of the vegetable broth for apple cider vinegar and add 1tsp sugar, increasing if needs be until you reach your preferred level.

braised cabbage with apples on blue plate

How to Make Braised Cabbage and Apple

  • First, prepare the cabbage: Discard any wilting, browned, or damaged leaves from the outside of the cabbage. Then, cut it into four pieces, removing the core from each. Finally, slice thin ribbons to create thinly shredded cabbage.
  • Sauté the aromatics: Preheat a large, deep skillet (or Dutch oven) over medium heat with a swirl of oil. Once hot, add the ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  • Add the cabbage and apples: Stir and then cook for five minutes, covered with a lid.
  • Add the remaining ingredients: While the cabbage cooks, combine the broth, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well into a sauce. After five minutes, pour this over the cabbage and stir well.
  • Reduce the heat: To the lowest heat and cover the pan with a lid—Cook for around 30 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender (or to your preferred level). Then serve warm topped with cranberries, cashews (or walnuts), and fresh parsley.

Serving Suggestions

This braised cabbage and apple dish can be served as a side or main (with rye bread), depending on how big a portion you choose to eat. If you plan on eating it as a side, then there are several dishes you could pair it with.

You could also use this braised cabbage recipe as a noodle replacement, alongside meatballs, dollop it onto (or next to) sandwiches, burgers, and wraps. Lastly, braised red cabbage with apples is an excellent accompaniment to any Holiday table, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.

How to Store, Freeze, And Reheat

Storing: Store any leftover braised cabbage and apples in an airtight container within the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Freeze: Freeze any leftovers for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or within the microwave.

Reheating: You can reheat the braised cabbage either in a microwave or on the stovetop over low heat until heated through.

Recipe Tips

  • For thin julienned ‘noodle’ cabbage: You can use a julienne slicer, a mandoline with julienne blades, or do this by hand.
  • Quick cabbage: For super-quick ‘shredded’ cabbage, you could use a food processor. It won’t be as uniform but saves time. Alternatively, use a package of pre-shredded cabbage.
  • Save the cabbage core: You can use it to make homemade stock, add to beet cabbage soup, pickle it, and more.
  • Adjust the time: Based on how tender you want the cabbage to be. I suggest 20 minutes for crunchy vs. 30 for tender – this may vary somewhat on your stovetop.
  • Tangy Apples: You could optionally sauté the apple slices with a little apple cider vinegar and brown sugar separately.
  • Bloom any spices: Depending on what you decide to add to this braised cabbage dish, you can really pump up the flavor by blooming the spices. To do this, add any spices to the pan before sauteing the ginger and garlic, sauté with oil until they smell toasty. For seeds (caraway, cumin, etc.), they’ll ‘pop.’ Then add the ginger and garlic to the pan and continue with the recipe.

More Sweet and Savory Recipes

braised cabbage recipe with apples, cranberries and cashews
Braised Cabbage with Apples

Braised Cabbage with Apples

This Braised Cabbage and Apple dish is a simple combination of sweet and savory for a wonderfully tender and flavor-packed vegetarian side or main, ready in 40 minutes!
5 from 5 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American Ukrainian
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 43 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 183kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 8 cups green cabbage 1/2 small head, thinly shredded
  • 3 small apples 2 cups, cored & chopped
  • 1 inch ginger grated
  • 1 small garlic clove grated
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth low sodium
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp cashews chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp parsley finely chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat large deep skillet or dutch oven on medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add ginger and garlic; cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  • Add apples, place cabbage on top and cover. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • In the meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk vegetable broth, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Pour over cabbage and stir well. Cover, reduce heat to the lowest and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Serve hot. Top with cashews, cranberries and parsley.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

    Freeze: Freeze any leftovers for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or within the microwave.

      Reheating: You can reheat the braised cabbage either in a microwave or on the stovetop over low heat until heated through.

        Notes

        • For thin julienned ‘noodle’ cabbage: You can use a julienne slicer, a mandoline with julienne blades, or do this by hand.
        • Quick cabbage: For super-quick ‘shredded’ cabbage, you could use a food processor. It won’t be as uniform but saves time. Alternatively, use a package of pre-shredded cabbage.
        • Save the cabbage core: You can use it to make homemade stock, add to beet cabbage soup, pickle it, and more.
        • Adjust the time: Based on how tender you want the cabbage to be. I suggest 20 minutes for crunchy vs. 30 for tender – this may vary somewhat on your stovetop.
        • Tangy Apples: You could optionally sauté the apple slices with a little apple cider vinegar and brown sugar separately.
        • Bloom any spices: Depending on what you decide to add to this braised cabbage dish, you can really pump up the flavor by blooming the spices. To do this, add any spices to the pan before sauteing the ginger and garlic, sauté with oil until they smell toasty. For seeds (caraway, cumin, etc.), they’ll ‘pop.’ Then add the ginger and garlic to the pan and continue with the recipe.

        Nutrition

        Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 483mg | Potassium: 320mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 380IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1mg
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