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Article: Bavarian Red Cabbage

Bavarian red cabbage on a wood plate with sausage

Bavarian Red Cabbage

This red cabbage pairs well with turkey or pork. It's a sweet, savory side that's fairly simple to make and will pleasantly surprise your guests.

I didn’t grow up eating cabbage and I was always wary of it until I tried this dish in a German restaurant while I was on vacation in Las Vegas. After that I had to try and make it at home. I think this is really supposed to be more of a sweet and sour recipe, but I prefer it on the sweet side. If you want to amp up the sour you can always adjust the vinegar and brown sugar to your taste.

I had never cooked anything with whole cloves in it before beyond studding a holiday ham with them. I thought it was odd to put wood-like whole cloves into this dish and thought they would need to be removed before serving but they really soften up and disappear into the cabbage.

I started making this to go with pork and spaetzle but gave it a try with the Thanksgiving turkey a few years back. It pairs well with turkey and brings a gorgeous purple to the table. I usually get raised eyebrows from guests who are brave enough to get past their preconceptions of cabbage and sample it. They usually come back for more. Like cranberry sauce, this dish can be used post-holiday as a condiment on either ham or turkey sandwiches.

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Yield: 8 Servings
Difficulty: Easy


  • 1 small head red cabbage (approx. 2 lbs)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and diced into bite-size pieces
  • ½ Cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ Cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 5 strips of uncooked bacon, diced


  1. Using a Swiss Diamond Chef’s Knife cut the cabbage in two, vertically. Remove and discard the V-shaped, white core at the bottom of each half. Dice the remaining cabbage. Cut into approximately ½” strips then cut the strips into 1” pieces.
  2. Place onion and bacon into a Swiss Diamond Casserole and cook over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes until the onion is translucent and bacon is cooked through.
  3. Add the apples, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, whole cloves, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes to incorporate the ingredients.
  4. Add cabbage and stir.
  5. Cook covered with the lid slightly ajar over medium heat for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. You want to make sure you check on the cabbage and stir it occasionally as the liquid evaporates. The cabbage is done when it is fork-tender and the color deepens.
  6. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy!

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