Best Braised Red Cabbage (sweet & sour)

The best tasting Italian style red cabbage (also called purple cabbage by some). Braised on the stove top in a sweet & sour sauce with nuts and raisins, this cabbage recipe is a keeper. Ideal as a side meal or on its own too.

Braised red cabbage in sweet and sour sauce

Red cabbage is a popular food choice across the Mediterranean and in Central and Eastern Europe as well (Hungary, Germany, Austria, ect.). Its sweeter, easy to cook and rich in flavor – not to mention in nutrients This recipe is not the usual braised cabbage with oil and spices. It brings extra flavor by combining sweet and savory in one dish. Its one recipe even my little ones approved (which is not an easy task when it comes to cabbage).

If you are a fan of cabbage definitely try my favorite BAKED CABBAGE WITH PORK recipe.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Red cabbage head – cleaned and cut in stripes.
  • Walnuts – chopped, or can be substituted with hazelnuts or almonds.
  • Raisins – small, dark raisins or yellow small raisins are best.
  • Lemon juice – only fresh lemon juice is recommended. Substitute with apple cider vinegar.
  • Brown sugar – just a pinch to make it sweeter.
  • Olive oil extra virgin olive oil is always recommended, however you can use canola or peanut oil if olive oil is not an option.
  • Chives – fresh or dried chives works well. Or substitute with fresh parsley or celery leaves.
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.

IDEA: If you’d like, you can also add finely chopped apple to the cabbage to give it a sweetness boost.


1st: Cut cabbage in thin stripes. Sauté in olive oil on low on the stove for a few minutes with rehydrated raisins.

2nd: Add all remaining ingredients and stir. Let cook for another few minutes under a lid. Stir as needed.

What to serve with braised red (purple) cabbage:

Braised purple cabbage is best enjoyed as a side dish to fish and/or meat. Or as appetizer/salad on its own. Here are some suggestions from my kitchen:

Purple Cabbage Recipe - for a sweet - sour red cabbage with raisins and walnuts.


Purple Cabbage Recipe - for a sweet - sour red cabbage with raisins and walnuts.

Braised Red Cabbage (sweet and sour)

Most delicious braised red cabbage with appetizing sweet and sour sauce – a Mediterranean diet delicacy. Served as appetizer, side dish or on it's own, this braised cabbage recipe is a keeper.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine European, Italian, Mediterranean



  • 1/2 (approx. 300g to 400g) red cabbage head, cut in stripes
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) dark small raisins, or yellow
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 large lemon – juice only needed
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 4-6 tbsp. olive oil extra virgin
  • 3 tbsp. chopped chives, fresh or dried
  • boiling water for rehydrating raisins
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  • Remove the 1st layer of leaves from red cabbage. Wash under cold water. Then, cut cabbage head in thin stripes.
  • Add olive oil to cooking pot, then add cabbage and sauté for 10 minutes on medium to low heat -cover with a lid.
  • In the meantime, in a smaller pot add raisins and boiling water – they should be fully submerged. Leave for 10 minutes and drain excess water.
  • Next, add all remaining ingredients (rehydrated raisins, chopped walnuts, lemon juice, sugar, salt, pepper, chives) to cabbage and sauté until cabbage is soft and fully cooked (approx. 20 minutes).
  • Serve warm as a side dish or appetizer.


  • Use larger cooking pot with lid as in the beginning cabbage is more voluminous, then it shrinks in size (double or triple). 
  • Always rehydrate raisins, otherwise they may become drier. 
  • Add more sugar, salt, olive oil and/or lemon juice to adjust taste based on personal references. 
Keyword red cabbage, side meal, sweet&sour
Did you make this recipe?Mention @theeuropeandish on Instagram or tag us so we can see what you’ve made #theeuropeandish!

This recipe may contain affiliate links, please see full disclosure here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating