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 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
  • 1 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, 3/4 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 10 minutes on low heat, or until the cabbage is at the desired tenderness. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Remove bay leaf before serving.


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