Crunchy, slightly spicy, sweet and tangy, this quick pickled cabbage is a great accompaniment to meats but can also be had on its own as a substitute for a salad.
Pickled cabbage is delicious and packs a lot of vitamins at less than 100 calories per cup. The best part is that it only takes 20 minutes to make unlike fermented cabbage or sauerkraut. You can make it pretty much any time even if you have very little time to spare. Every time I serve it to my guests I get a lot of compliments and a good amount of surprise when they learn how quickly it can be made.
I particularly like this crunchy cabbage with roasted, baked or broiled chicken breasts. The pickling juices are great as a sauce so don't leave them out. Pour some over your side dish - rice or potatoes - and you will know what I mean. That sweet and tangy taste will make any side dish taste better.
For more spiciness double or triple the number of hot red chili peppers. Chili pepper seeds and the membrane is where the real heat is, so leave them in if you want some extra heat. Jalapeno peppers can also be used in this recipe but start with one de-seeded pepper and see how you like it. You can always add more later if desired.
Garlic adds a lot of flavor to pickled cabbage but if you want to remove the harsh, bitter bite of raw garlic, zap it on high for 10 seconds in a microwave or blanch in hot water for a minute before slicing.
Quick Pickled Cabbage
- 1 cabbage about 2 lbs, cut into about 1-inch squares
- 2 carrots large, shredded
- 6 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1 red chili pepper seeds removed and thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup sunflower oil
- 1/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup white vinegar
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt or sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper optional; or substitute for ground coriander seeds
- Mix the cabbage, shredded carrots, garlic, hot pepper and black pepper in a large bowl.
- In a small sauce pan, bring the water, oil, vinegar and salt to a boil. Stir to dissolve the salt. Add the honey, stir and bring to boil again.
- Pour the hot pickling liquid over the cabbage then toss the cabbage with two large spoons. Let cool for a few minutes.
- Transfer to a 2 quart jar, packing tightly. Cover with a lid and let cool to room temperature then refrigerate. It will only get better with time.