Let’s talk fall side dishes! They can make or break any meal, so I like to have a variety of recipes ready for any occasion. Now that it’s fall, I’ve been using it’s bounty to make a variety of sides to go with everything. The best part of a good side dish is you can pair it with just about any protein and enhance the meal. Red cabbage is one of my favorite fall vegetables that I feel often get neglected for it’s sister green cabbage, or the small brussel sprout. While you can use purple and green cabbage interchangeably, red cabbage adds a beautiful color as well as a few extra vitamins and minerals to your dish.
I grew purple cabbage in my garden this year for the first time, and when I picked them they were about the size of a softball. Not quite the 7.44 lb cabbage I picked up from the market yesterday! But they were adorable and delicious. I think they were small because I grew them in the new back patch of the garden, the part that I added on this year. There is a lot of clay here in NJ, and after rototilling and raking the patch, there was nothing but dense clay for the plants to grow in. I’m lucky I got anything out of that part of the garden. I used quite a few of my red cabbages making this dish over the past month. It actually worked out perfectly that they were small because I just used one cabbage per person I was cooking for!
It’s the seasonings in this cabbage dish that make it so fantastic. Caraway seeds have an earthy, peppery, and slightly citrusy flavor that adds character to the cabbage. The apple adds a sweet note, while the mustard adds a slight kick. I use free-range butter to make this dish and strongly suggest you do the same. There is something about cooking this in butter that gives this dish a certain richness. It’s fall comfort food, that is actually pretty healthy. I can get down with a side of that.
It doesn’t get more seasonal than this healthy side, that will keep you going back for seconds!
Caraway, Cabbage, and Apple Saute
1 large organic apple, skin on and diced (I used a honey crisp, but any variety will work)
1 large red onion, sliced thin and long
3 Tbsp pasture-raised butter*
8-10 cups purple cabbage, chopped thin and long
1 Tbsp spicy mustard
1 tsp carraway seeds
2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 tsp coarse ground salt, plus more to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
*Sub vegan butter or oil of your choice for dairy free version
1. Heat the butter on medium-low heat. Add the onion and apple to the pan and turn the heat down to low. Put a lid on the pan and saute for ten minutes, stirring every few minutes. You want to sweat the onions and apples down so they are translucent and soft.
2. Add the cabbage to the pan, and turn the heat back up to medium-low. Stir everything well, then put the lid back on and cook another 15-20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Add the salt, pepper, mustard, and caraway seeds after about 5 minutes of cooking. Stir un the apple cider vinegar after about 10.
Check the cabbage after 15 minutes to see how soft it is. If you want the cabbage to be slightly crispier, take it out a little early. If you want it softer, leave it in a few extra minutes. Taste to see if you need to add more salt/pepper. Serve warm.