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.
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.