Spiced red cabbage with apples and honey

The cold winter months are a time when we Belgians and the Dutch crave our version of comfort food. Spiced red cabbage served with grilled pork chops or sausage may not sound like much at first, but when seasoned with aromatic spices like cinnamon, cloves, all-spice, bay leaves and juniper berries, these red leafy heads can be transformed into something warm and wonderful!

Golden delicious apples and spices

Cinnamon and bay leaves bring out the spicy clove notes in these colorful cabbages and sweet golden delicious apples. Separately, the apples and bay leaves also share a green-grassy and -waxy aromatic link worth exploring. So give this recipe for spiced red cabbage with apples and honey a try the next time you’re looking for a wintry side to go with your hearty meats, and you’ll understand what we mean!    


Spiced red cabbage with apples and honey


  • 1 red cabbage
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 golden delicious apples (or boskoop)
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsps balsamic or apple cider vinegar
  • 300 g water, plus extra if needed
  • honey, to taste


Peel away the outer leaves and slice the cabbage into quarters. Remove the thick center core and slice the cabbage into strips. Rinse the shredded cabbage in a colander, then drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, peel and core the apples. Dice into small cubes. Then peel the onion and slice into thin strips.

Melt a tablespoon of butter in a heavy-bottomed pot and sauté the onions with the cloves, bay leaves and juniper berries over medium heat. Add the red cabbage and sauté briefly until just wilted. Next, add the water, vinegar, cinnamon stick and star anise. You can adjust the vinegar accordingly, or sweeten with honey, to taste. Reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook for 15 minutes.

Add the apple cubes and stir. Replace the lid and cook for an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking. Add more water if necessary. Remove from heat once the cabbage is tender. Cool completely and reserve in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to fully infuse.

To serve: Reheat and serve alongside boiled potatoes, sausages or grilled pork chops.

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