Polish Red Cabbage (Kapusta Czerwona Zasmażana)


I know people in the US associate Polish cuisine with a lot of meat, and don’t get me wrong, the Poles make great kiełbasa and roasts BUT there are A LOT more vegetable dishes than people realize. There is a wide variety of raw starter salads (surówki) and vegetable side dishes, including this one. Culinary stereotypes be damned.

Hey, cabbage is also apparently very good for you, so eat it!


  • 1 head of red cabbage
  • 1 medium to large yellow onion
  • 1 granny smith apple (or other sour apple variety)
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (red or white wine vinegar is fine)
  • 5 tbsp. water
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch of allspice
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp oil or butter


Finely dice onions. Melt oil or butter in a pot on medium to medium-low heat. Add onions and about 1/4 tsp. salt and cook until they are translucent and begin to turn golden, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the cabbage in half and thinly everything except the core, which you can discard.

Using the largest holes of a box grater, grate the apple (peeled or unpeeled is up to you).

Once the onions are slightly golden and caramelized, add the shredded cabbage and apple, water, vinegar, 1/2 tsp. salt, black pepper, allspice, and bay leaf. Cook for 45 minutes on medium to medium-low heat with a cover, mixing occasionally.

After 45 minutes, add the lemon juice and sugar. Mix well and cook covered for another 25-30 minutes on low heat, or until the cabbage is at the desired tenderness, with the last 5 minutes uncovered. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Remove bay leaf before serving.

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