Quick-pickled condiments are a surefire way to jazz up any meal. Whether it be the classic dill pickle, quick-pickled onions, or even spicy peppers, these go-to condiments often seem like a no brainer to pull from the fridge. But have you had pickled red cabbage?? She’s a thing of beauty. Pickled red cabbage adds a bright and crunchy element to whatever your eating, whether it be salads, wraps, sandwiches or bowls. Also, that color! Can you believe it’s totally natural?! Nature sure creates the prettiest things.
Making quick pickled cabbage yourself is a lot easier than it might seem. For years we’ve been polishing it off the plates of one of our favorite lebanese restaurants. Tucked in among the fluffy hummus, fresh tabbouleh salad and piles of crispy cauliflower sat humble pickled cabbage. Bright pink and zesty as can be - it was always a hit. It has probably taken us far too long to realize just how easy it is to make at home.
All you truly need is shredded cabbage and pickling liquid. We even developed this recipe to fit perfectly in a standard one liter mason jar, to take the guesswork out of whether you picked the right container or not. If you have a mandoline, you’ll have that cabbage shredded down in no time. Don’t worry if you don’t, a knife will work just fine to cut the cabbage into thin pieces. The shredded cabbage gets tossed with a bit of salt, which will work to soften the cabbage while you prepare the pickling liquid. The pickling liquid is simply dissolved sugar and salt in water. Plus a few more spices for added flavor. Once the cabbage is packed down in the jar, you’ll pour in vinegar, screw on a lid and pop the jar into the fridge. That’s it! We told you it was easy.
The hardest part is letting the jar sit in the fridge for the flavors to develop. We enjoy it best after it’s had at least three days to develop it’s flavors, but nobody will know if you start snacking after 24 hours. We love to eat this quick pickled cabbage on homemade falafel pitas, on the side of mezze platters, and frankly in any clean-out-the-fridge meal we manage to get through during the week. A homemade quick pickled condiment like this is best enjoyed in 2-3 weeks, and stored in the fridge.
If you make this pickled red cabbage recipe, we’d love to see what creative dishes you use it in! Tag us @evergreenkitchen and #evergreenkitchen so we can see your creations!
Quick Pickled Red Cabbage
- 4 cups shredded red cabbage
- 2½ teaspoons fine sea salt, divided
- ¾ cup water
- 2 tablespoons cane sugar (or granulated sugar)
- 3 dried bay leaves
- ¾ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup white vinegar
- Salt cabbage: Add cabbage to a large bowl. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon (2.5ml) of the salt. Use your hands to rub the salt into the cabbage. Transfer to a clean 1 liter heatproof jar or container.
- Pickling brine: Add water, the remaining 2 teaspoons (10ml) of salt, sugar, bay leaves, mustard seeds, and pepper to a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar and salt are dissolved, about 2 minutes.
- Combine: Pour pickling brine into the jar. Add white vinegar. Close the lid and give the jar a good shake to mix. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours (but cabbage is best enjoyed after 3 days, see note 1).
- Pickling time: The cabbage can be eaten after just 24 hours of pickling, but it'll continues to pick up flavor, so we find it's best after 3 days. At the 3 day mark, we usually pull out and discard the bay leaves (to give more manoeuvring room for scooping cabbage out of the jar).
- Storage tips: Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
This was my first time making pickled red cabbage. It's so good! And this recipe is so easy too. Thank you!
Glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks for sharing!
This look great but I don’t have any mustard seeds on hand, can I go without them or do you recommend a sub?
Serge Van Meenen says
Is it normal that my cabbage isnt fully under the liquid?
Hi Serge! Usually if you push the cabbage down into the jar as much as you can, it'll help make sure it's submerged. If you do this and it's still not fully covered then it might just be a difference in jar size. So, you can top up with some more water and give the jar a shake (once sealed) to distribute. Hope this helps!
If I make a batch of red cabbage,will it keep longer than 3weeks.
Blind Guy says
Great recipe. But PLEASE>... stop using LIGHT GREY text on a white web page. It's practically unreadable with older eyes.
Glad you like the recipe! And thank you for the feedback. Apologies for troubles you had with the text color. We’ll keep this in mind for our next site review!
Pam T says
Thanks for this recipe! I've made it two times before and LOVE it! So great with falafel. I tried making third time, but for some reason it's too sour and bitter. Is it possible that the cabbage was extra bitter? Do you recommend any fixes--simple syrup perhaps? It would be a shame to throw out the whole batch.
Hi Pam! So great to hear you're on your third batch of cabbage! Glad you've been enjoying it so far. Did you change anything up the third time you made it (vs. the first two)? Sugar, dissolved (like simple syrup) can definitely work. Surprisingly, salt can actually help counteract bitterness even better than sugar so I would try adding more salt first (and then some sugar, if needed). Hope this helps and let me know if any other questions!
Could I sub Coconut sugar?
Hi Lauren! I haven't tried it this way, but I do think it'll work. If you give it a go, let us know how it goes:)
Can I leave the sugar out in this recipe?
We find that the sugar helps balance the acidity. The end result won't taste sweet at all - and we reckon that you're not actually eating much of the sugar, since the pickling liquid gets left behind in the jar (i.e. you don't consume that part). We haven't tried without, so can't recommend it ourselves, but you can always try!
I don’t eat sugar as a life rule I’m keto but in some instances especially where the amount of sugar in negligible (like pickle recipes) I just use it because the amount you actually ingest per serve is next to nothing. Plus it’s not used as a sweetener but as an acidity balancer.