German-style red cabbage with apples


I’ve made this two years running – I love the red wine for depth and how the dish is not overly sweet like some spiced red cabbage dishes (but if you like sweetness, it’s easy to dial it up). Be sure to taste-test towards the end of simmering and tweak as you wish.

Recipe adapted from ‘Oma’s Rotkohl’ on

Definitely make this in advance – the flavours mature, and it saves you time on the 24th/25th. Leftovers can be frozen and are tasty with veggie sausages and celeriac mash.


  • 1 medium head red cabbage, chopped into irregular chunks
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons butter or oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 - 3 apples, peeled and cored, grated or diced
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar (eg balsamic or cider)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch/cornflour


  1. In large heavy-based pot, heat the butter or oil and lightly sauté the onion.
  2. Add red cabbage and apples. Continue to sauté for several minutes.
  3. Add 1 cup water, the red wine, vinegar, sugar, salt, nutmeg, cloves and pepper. Stir.
  4. Bring to simmer, cover. Simmer about 40 to 60 mins or until cabbage is tender but not getting mushy, adding more water if needed.
  5. Add lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, sugar, cloves and vinegar to suit your own palate.
  6. Mix about 2 tablespoons cornstarch with cold water and slowly stir in just enough to thicken red cabbage liquid. Serve.