Yesterday I shared the recipe for the first course of my Clean Eating German Christmas Menu: Creamy Chestnut Soup with Pears. (Check that post to learn more about the classic German Christmas dinner – and what kind of modifications I decided to make to it.) Today, we’re going to take a look at the festive German side dish known as Rotkohl, which means “red cabbage” but here refers to a very specific dish: Braised Red Cabbage with Apple.

Rotkohl is warming (especially when aromatic herbs and spices like juniper berries, cloves, and bay leaf are added in), comforting, and appealingly tart and sweet yet savory. Classic Rotkohl is made with apples, of course, but also tends to contain a lot of added sugar (or honey); in my version, the apples take care of all the sweetness, but if you need things a bit sweeter you can always add 1–2 tablespoons of coconut blossom sugar. (Also, Classic Rotkohl is often made with pork fat; ours is made with coconut oil and thus vegan!)

Rotkohl is also fantastic with a little cinnamon added – just like pumpkin and sweet potatoes! I know that sounds strange, but trust me, it all comes together beautifully. If you want to switch things up even more, try swapping out the apples for pears. :-)

By the way, Rotkohl is super easy to make – which is ideal for Christmas dinner, since it means you get to spend less time stressing in the kitchen and more time relaxing. (If you want to save even more time, use a pressure cooker* to reduce the cooking time to about 20 minutes.) Rotkohl can also be cooked and frozen in advance: simply warm it up in a saucepan before serving.

And here’s the recipe:

German Braised Red Cabbage with Apple (Rotkohl)

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Passive Time
  • 1 head red cabbage (approximately 750 g)
  • 2 apples
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil*
  • 1–2 tbsp coconut blossom sugar* (optional)
  • cinnamon (optional)
  1. Wash red cabbage, quarter it, and cut into fine strips. Wash, core, and chop apples. Peel and chop onions.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a saucepan and briefly sauté the apple and onion cubes. Add red cabbage then deglaze with 250 ml water.
  3. Cook over medium heat for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add a little more liquid. Toward the end, stir in the coconut blossom sugar (if desired).

You can reduce the cooking time by 20 minutes by using a pressure cooker!

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Check out all the recipes from my Clean Eating German Christmas Menu here:

Guten Appetit! :-)

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