Trust me, you will want to have this spiced pickled red cabbage ready for your next summar BBQ

How to Pickle Red Cabbage - a quick pickle recipe. You have to agree with me that this is the prettiest pickle you have ever seen. Wait — I might have said that before

Spiced Pickled Red Cabbage | www.infinebalance.com #recipe #vegetables

Ok – so regardless,,, The last CSA bin delivery for the year – on December 16 no less  – included this lovely red cabbage. But with the holidays right around the corner and dinners out already planned, I just did not see it getting used for anything.

So what can you make with a red cabbage?

You can pickle it!

I set about finding a way to pickle this pretty purple vegetable.  And I’m so glad I did. This stuff has added vibrant colour and interest to all kinds of winter dishes. I’ve been loving it on top of salads and grains. And I think I want another batch for BBQ season… this might be the best thing to happen to a veggie burger…

Spiced Pickled Red Cabbage | www.infinebalance.com #recipe #vegetables

Yes, simple vegetable pickles make me so happy.  The right recipe will get you just enough to get through a week or three. The bit of effort is so worth the flavour they add to otherwise everyday meals.

What do you do with pickled red cabbage?

  • Serve on top of tacos for a tangy crunch
  • Add to salads, salads always need a pickle, and this one adds a nice bright colour.
  • Finely chop a few tablespoons and stir into cooked grains with some chopped nuts as a side dish
  • Top any kind of burger

I found this recipe in Sugar, Salt and Smoke. A book lent by a friend “to do something interesting with” – and so I did. I think this qualifies.

Spiced Pickled Red Cabbage | www.infinebalance.com #recipe #vegetables

My dad is Polish. And while I don’t remember ever eating pickled red cabbage at my grandfather’s lunch table, I just knew cabbage, pickled would be a good thing.  And likely something my grandfather made at one point or another – because he was like that. And this is such a good spicy thing. A little heat from black pepper and red chilies,and some sweet, exotic spice from all the other good stuff – cardamom, fennel, coriander seeds and cinnamon.

Spiced Pickled Red Cabbage | www.infinebalance.com #recipe #vegetables

There is a time commitment here. You will need about 5 hours start to finish. And then you will need to wait 2 weeks so the pickle gets really pickled. But it’s worth it. And while I write this there is snow outside, I’m more than certain that we all need a stash of this ready for when the BBQs are cleaned off in a week or two. Because in two weeks I’ll be ready for outside dining. I just know it.

Here’s how to make pickled red cabbage:
Spiced Pickled Red Cabbage | www.infinebalance.com #recipe #vegetables
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4 from 1 vote

Pickled Red Cabbage

This spicy pickle is a dark deep purple. Add the finished pickle to just about any vegetarian dish, sandwich or salad.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Servings: 2


  • 1 red cabbage
  • 75 g sea salt
  • 325 ml cider vinegar
  • 125 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 500 ml red wine
  • 325 g white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway
  • 2-3 whole dried red chillies
  • 20 cardamon pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick broken into three pieces
  • 6 cloves


  • Remove most outer leaves of cabbage and cut into quarters. Finely shred the cabbage, leaving behind the tough inner core. Layer shredded cabbage in a bowl, sprinkle with salt in between layers and leave to sit for about 4 hours.
  • Rinse and drain the cabbage, remove most of the salt and dry with a clean tea towel.
  • In a small sauce pan heat vinegars, wine and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is disolved. Continue to boil until liquid has reduced by half.
  • Using a mortar and pestle roughly crush all the spices except for the cloves and the cinnamon. Add the crushed spiced, along with the cloves and the cinnamon, to the vinegar and let sit, off the heat, for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, turn on oven to 225 degrees and wash 2 500ml canning jars and lids with hot soapy water. To sterilize, place clean and dry jars into the hot oven for at least 20 minutes before packing.
  • Pack the cabbage into sterilized jars and using a fine mesh sieve, strain the vinegars over the cabbage. Seal and let cool. Keep refrigerated. Best if you wait 2 weeks before giving it a try to get a good pickle. Will last about 3 months. Makes 2 500ml jars.
Trish Cowper @ www.infinebalance.com