Delicious German Red Cabbage: Rotkohl Recipe

Are you looking for an authentic and delicious German red cabbage recipe? You’ve come to the right place! This Vegan Style Rotkohl, also known as traditional German red cabbage or Rotkohl Blaukraut, is a classic dish perfect as a side to any meal or as a main course with your favorite protein.

Germany is known for its hearty and flavorful cuisine, and this style rotkohl is no exception. A combination of shredded red cabbage, tart apples, and a blend of warm spices like cloves and bay leaves create a dish bursting with rich flavor.

Not only is this recipe incredibly tasty, but it’s also vegan-friendly. Sautéed in olive oil instead of melted butter, this version of the dish is free from animal products without sacrificing any flavor.

Whether you’re looking to impress guests at your next dinner party or simply indulge in some comforting German cuisine, this Vegan Style Rotkohl is sure to satisfy your taste buds. So grab your apron and let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vegan Style Rotkohl (German Red Cabbage)
Vegan Style Rotkohl (German Red Cabbage)

If you are looking for a side dish that is both nutritious and downright delicious, our Vegan Style Rotkohl will leave you craving for more. This recipe is not only easy to make, but it’s also packed with flavor and texture that make it a crowd-pleaser dish.

The cabbage recipe is made up of authentic German red cabbage, tart apples, onions, and a combination of spices that give it a warm and earthy taste. The sweetness of the shredded cabbage, combined with the tartness of apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, juniper berries, cloves, and bay leaves give this side dish a unique savory taste.

One of the reasons why you’ll love this recipe is because it’s very versatile. Our Red Cabbage Rotkohl can be served alongside any protein – grilled chicken or turkey breast for non-vegans or marinated tofu for vegans- to create a healthy and balanced meal.

Another reason why you should try this recipe is that it’s not only delicious but also very nutritious. Red cabbage has many health benefits – it is loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants that support healthy digestion and boost the immune system. Plus, our Vegan Style Rotkohl has no animal products making it ideal if you are following a vegan diet!

Lastly, and perhaps one of the best reasons why we think you’ll love this recipe is its ease of preparation. With just a few ingredients such as olive oil, kosher salt, ground black pepper, red wine vinegar – you can whip up this classic German Braised Red Cabbage Rotkohl in no time at all.

In conclusion, this recipe will be perfect if you’re looking for an easy-to-make yet sophisticated side dish with tons of flavor that is both nutritious and festive. Trust us when we say that once you try our Vegan Style Rotkohl recipe don’t be surprised if everyone starts asking about your “secret recipe”.

Ingredient List

Sure, here are 11 photo captions for the recipe:
Sure, here are 11 photo captions for the recipe:

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this authentic German red cabbage recipe:

Main Ingredients

  • 1 medium head red cabbage, chopped
  • 1 tart apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Spices and Flavors

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Optional: 3 juniper berries, tied in a cheesecloth

This recipe is based on the Rotkohl Blaukraut dish that is famous in Germany known as “Rotkohl German” or “German style Rotkohl.” To make the recipe more daring, some versions also add additional flavors such as bacon or sour cabbage.

With these basic ingredients and spices, you’ll be able to create an outstanding cabbage Rotkohl that will make your side dish perfect for any meal!

The Recipe How-To

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

  • Gather 1 medium red cabbage, 1 tart apple, and 1 large onion.
  • Wash and peel the onion, then finely chop it. Set aside.
  • Remove any bruised leaves from the cabbage and slice it into quarters. Remove the tough stem from each quarter and slice the cabbage thinly. Set aside.
  • Peel, core and dice the apple into small pieces.

Step 2: Cook the Onion

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onion to the pot and sauté for 5 minutes until the onion softens.

Step 3: Cook Cabbage

  • Add the sliced cabbage to the pot and stir well to combine with onion.
  • Pour in 1 cup of red wine vinegar over the cabbage and onion mixture.
  • Season with kosher salt, ground black pepper, 2 bay leaves, and 4 whole cloves.
  • Mix everything together, then partially cover the pot and let cook for 45 minutes on low-medium heat.

Step 4: Add Apple and Finish Cooking

  • After 45 minutes, lift the lid on your pot, add the diced apple, and mix well with other ingredients.
  • Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons brown sugar.
  • Pour in 1/2 cup of water (or apple cider). Mix well. Increase heat to medium-high and cover fully. Cook another 15 minutes or until vegetables reach desired level of tenderness.

Step 5: Serve Fresh or Store

Rotkohl is ready to be served immediately as a perfect side dish for your main course. If you are not ready to eat yet, it can also be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving.

Enjoy your tasty dish!

Substitutions and Variations

 A vibrant medley of colors – introducing Vegan Style Rotkohl!
A vibrant medley of colors – introducing Vegan Style Rotkohl!

The beauty of cooking is the ability to experiment and make a recipe your own, and this vegan-style Rotkohl is no exception. Here, we explore some variations and substitutions you can make to take this dish to the next level.

– Spice it up: If you’re a fan of spice, consider adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the mix.

– Different Vinegars: If you don’t have red wine vinegar on hand, apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar will work in a pinch. However, keep in mind that they may subtly alter the flavor profile of the dish.

– Use Different Sweeteners: Looking for an alternative to brown sugar? Consider using maple syrup or honey instead.

– Add Some Protein: For a heartier meal or side dish, try adding some plant-based proteins such as lentils or chickpeas.

– Mix Up the Spices: Experiment with different spice combinations. Try adding some cinnamon or nutmeg for an added depth of flavor. Alternatively, if you are looking for a refreshing twist why not substitute some of the traditional spices with juniper berries?

– Mix Up Your Apples: Any tart apple will work well in this recipe, but if you’re feeling adventurous, try using pink lady apples or Braeburn apples for an extra dose of sweetness.

Whether you’re looking to change things up or work with what’s currently in your pantry, these substitutions and variations are sure to give your Rotkohl that extra kick. Just remember to keep track of what you add so that you can recreate it next time!

Serving and Pairing

 Get ready to add some German flair to your plate with this Red Cabbage recipe.
Get ready to add some German flair to your plate with this Red Cabbage recipe.

After preparing this vegan-style Rotkohl, you’ll have a delicious and healthy side dish that pairs well with a variety of dishes. If you’re serving it alongside traditional German cuisine, it’s best to keep things simple and serve it with popular dishes like schnitzel or sausages. The bold flavors of the Rotkohl complement the savory flavors of meat dishes perfectly and add just the right amount of sweetness to balance everything out.

For vegan pairings, roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes or butternut squash would be excellent choices. You could also pair this dish with a hearty mushroom risotto or simple yet flavorful pasta dish for a complete meal.

This dish also works well as a topping for sandwiches or salads. Use it as a topper for veggie burgers or add it to a green salad for an extra pop of color and flavor.

Whether you’re looking for a versatile side dish to serve at your next dinner party, or just want a delicious and healthy lunch option, this German Red Cabbage Recipe has got you covered. It’s perfect for just about any occasion and pairs well with a wide range of dishes, giving you plenty of options for delicious meals!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Who says vegan food is bland? This dish will change the game!
Who says vegan food is bland? This dish will change the game!

This Vegan Style Rotkohl is a dish perfect for those who want to prepare it ahead of time. You can make it up to two days in advance and store it in an airtight container or covered dish. When reheating, simply place it in the microwave or stovetop, and add a splash of water to loosen it up.

If you’re short on time, this dish is perfect for meal prepping as well. Simply divide it into meal prep containers and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. This way, you have a healthy, delicious and hearty side dish ready to go throughout the week.

For those who use an instant pot, you can also cook the Rotkohl German style using this appliance. Just follow the directions in the recipe how-to section and adjust cooking time as needed.

However, if you plan on making this recipe ahead of time, keep in mind that the color of your red cabbage might change once reheated due to oxidation. To avoid this, try adding a splash of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar when reheating.

Lastly, if you have any leftovers that can’t be stored anymore but still want to enjoy this delicious dish, I suggest using them for a veggie-packed cabbage salad or turning them into sour cabbage for a pickled cabbage dish with a zesty twist.

Tips for Perfect Results

 From a simple ingredient, we create flavors beyond compare!
From a simple ingredient, we create flavors beyond compare!

As a vegan chef, I always want to create great dishes that anyone can enjoy. To help you achieve the perfect taste and texture for your Vegan Style Rotkohl, I’ve compiled some tips and tricks that will take your dish to the next level.

Tip 1: Use fresh ingredients

One of the critical components in creating an outstanding dish is using good quality ingredients. For this recipe, it is crucial to use fresh red cabbage, onions, olive oil, tart apple, and red wine vinegar to get the full flavors. Using stale vegetables in this recipe can produce a mushy texture and bitter flavor.

Tip 2: Cut Cabbage finely

When shredding your red cabbage, it’s essential to slice it as thinly as possible using a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer. Cutting the cabbage thinly will shorten the cooking time which maintains its nutritional value while giving an excellent texture.

Tip 3: Flavor creatively

This recipe already packs punch with traditional German flavors but sometimes we want additional depth. Adding juniper berries and strips of tart apples will enrich the tanginess of the rotkohl, while orange zest brings a beautiful freshness.

Tip 4: Slow cook

When preparing Vegan Style Rotkohl, it is best to braise it slowly over low heat for approximately 1-2 hours. This process catalyzes a breakdown of natural compounds that generate deep flavors when mixed with spices and seasonings. Once ready, it might be wise to keep it on low heat until you are ready to serve.

Tip 5: Pair with other vegan dishes

Vegan Style Rotkohl is fantastic on its own as a side dish or an addition in a bowl or salad, but pairing this delicious treat with other vegan offerings can make for an elevated culinary experience. Consider pairing it with other German-inspired lentil soup or grilled BBQ jackfruit tacos- yum!

By following these tips diligently, you’re sure to make an authentic vegan-style Rotkohl that would pass even to someone raised on traditional dishes!


Before you get started on making this delicious Vegan Style Rotkohl (German Red Cabbage) recipe, it’s important to address some commonly asked questions. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, having answers to common questions can make the cooking experience much smoother. In this section, we’ll be addressing the most frequently asked questions about the recipe to help ensure perfect results every time you make it.

What is the difference between Rotkohl and Blaukraut?

The dish made of red cabbage is known by different names in various parts of Germany. In Northern Germany, it is called Rotkohl, while in central and western Germany it is called Rotkraut. In the southern part of Germany, it is referred to as Blaukraut.

What is Rotkohl made of?

This beloved German side dish goes by multiple names, including Rotkraut, Rotkohl, and Blaukraut, and is typically crafted using a combination of red cabbage, sweet apples, onions, and an array of seasonings, such as cloves and bay leaf.

Why add vinegar to red cabbage?

Adding vinegar to red cabbage while cooking helps maintain its vibrant purple colour, preventing it from turning blue.

Do you soak red cabbage before cooking?

If you want to keep shredded cabbage crunchy and reduce its strong taste, soak it in cold water. This technique will make it more refreshing when combined with other ingredients. Just make sure to drain it thoroughly before mixing it in with the rest of the recipe.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the recipe for Vegan Style Rotkohl is a perfect addition to any meal or gathering. With its traditional German flavors and spices, this dish is sure to impress even the most discerning palates. The tart apple, ground black pepper, and whole cloves add depth to the flavor while the red wine vinegar and bay leaves give it a perfect tangy twist.

Whether you’re looking for a healthy side dish or need a new cabbage recipe to boost your repertoire, this vegan rotkohl recipe is just what you’re looking for! Not only is it delicious and versatile, it’s also easy to prepare ahead of time and store in your freezer for later use. So why not give it a try today? Trust me, your guests (and your taste buds) will thank you.

Vegan Style Rotkohl (German Red Cabbage)

Vegan Style Rotkohl (German Red Cabbage) Recipe

Veggies shouldn't have to miss out on German yumminess. This is a veganized post from "Cooking the German Way" e-book-- it originally called for 2 strips of bacon and cooking the onions in the bacon fat, but it says in the footnote that if you don't want to add bacon, simply use 2 TB butter or oil to cook the onions. If you don't have whole cloves, 1/4 tsp ground cloves = about 3 cloves but it's not recommended. I am otherwise copying the recipe as is, including the description: "This tangy, bright-colored side dish is delicious with beef, pork, or wild game. It does not go well with chicken or fish. The vinegar, with its natural acid, preserves the vivid color of the red cabbage. Leftover red cabbage can be chilled and served as a salad."
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Side Dish
Cuisine German
Servings 6
Calories 95.8 kcal


  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped (1/3 cup pre-chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or Earth Balance, or other oil you like)
  • 10 -12 cups shredded red cabbage (about 2 1/3 lbs)
  • 1 medium tart apple, cored and chopped (says "no need to peel")
  • 4 -5 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar


  • Gently heat the oil in a large heavy-bottom saucepan, and stir-fry the onions until transparent.
  • Add the cabbage and stir well. Add the remaining ingredients and stir again.
  • Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour, or until cabbage is tender. If possible, remove the whole cloves before serving.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 136gCalories: 95.8kcalCarbohydrates: 13.7gProtein: 1.9gFat: 4.7gSaturated Fat: 0.7gSodium: 177.7mgFiber: 3.3gSugar: 7.7g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Easy, Egg-free, European, Free Of..., German, Greens, Lactose-free, Potluck, Vegan, Vegetable
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