Smothered red cabbage is a classic dish that has been enjoyed for generations. With its unique flavor and versatility, it's the perfect side dish for any occasion. In this post, I'll guide you on how to make smothered red cabbage that's both vegan and delicious. We'll also discuss how you can customize the recipe with meats like bacon or sausage.
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What is the Difference Between Red Cabbage and Green Cabbage?
Red cabbage and green cabbage are both members of the Brassica family, but they have some notable differences in terms of appearance, taste, and nutritional value.
Green cabbage has a pale green color with a smooth and waxy texture. It's round in shape and has tightly packed leaves that form a compact head. Red cabbage, on the other hand, has a deep purple or red color with a slightly rougher texture. It also has tightly packed leaves that form a compact head.
Green cabbage has a mild, sweet flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste. It has a crisp and crunchy texture that makes it ideal for salads and slaws. Red cabbage has a slightly sweeter and earthier flavor than green cabbage. It also has a slightly tougher texture that makes it ideal for cooking and pickling.
Both red and green cabbage are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, red cabbage contains higher levels of certain nutrients, such as vitamin C and anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that give red cabbage its distinctive color and have been linked to several health benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved heart health.
In terms of cooking, both types of cabbage can be used interchangeably in most recipes. However, the flavor and color of the dish may be slightly different depending on the type of cabbage used. Red cabbage is a popular choice for pickling, while green cabbage is often used in salads and slaws.
Origins of Smothered Cabbage
Smothered cabbage is a dish that has its roots in southern cuisine, particularly in states like Louisiana and Mississippi. The dish is traditionally made with green cabbage, bacon, and onions, and it's known for its deep, rich flavor. The dish gets its name from the fact that the cabbage is slowly cooked in a pot until it is "smothered" in its own juices. Over time, the recipe has evolved to include other ingredients and variations.
- 1 head of red cabbage
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
- ¼ cup of canola oil
- Prepare the cabbage
Begin by cutting the cabbage in half, removing the core, and cutting it into chunk-sized pieces. Make sure the pieces are not too small, as they will shrink during cooking.
- Add the seasonings
Next, add the salt, smoked paprika, black pepper, and canola oil to the pot. Mix everything well to ensure that the cabbage is coated evenly with the seasonings.
- Cook the cabbage
Place the pot over medium-low heat and cover it. Let the cabbage cook for about 30-45 minutes or until it softens. Make sure to stir occasionally to ensure that the cabbage cooks evenly. If the cabbage begins to stick to the pot, you can add a little bit of water or vegetable stock.
- Serve and Enjoy
Once the cabbage is cooked, it's time to serve and enjoy! Smothered red cabbage is a great side dish for a variety of meals.
Uses for Smothered Red Cabbage
Smothered red cabbage is a versatile dish that can be paired with a variety of main courses, from roasted meats to grilled vegetables. It's also great as a standalone dish or as a topping for sandwiches or hot dogs. Some popular pairings include pork chops, roasted chicken, and beef stew. This is also a great addition to holiday feasts, as it adds a festive touch to any table.
- Spicy Smothered Red Cabbage: Add a chopped jalapeño or red pepper flakes to the pot for a spicy kick.
- Apple Smothered Red Cabbage: Add chopped apples or apple juice to the pot to give the cabbage a sweet and tangy flavor.
- Nutty Smothered Red Cabbage: Add chopped nuts like walnuts, almonds, or pecans to the pot for a crunchy texture and nutty flavor.
- Smothered Red Cabbage with Bacon: For a non-vegan version of the recipe, add cooked bacon to the pot for a smoky and savory flavor.
- Smothered Red Cabbage with Sausage: Add sliced or diced sausage to the pot for a heartier flavor. You can use smoked sausage, kielbasa, or any other type of sausage you like.
- Smothered Red Cabbage with Carrots: Add sliced carrots to the pot for added color and flavor. Carrots will also add a slightly sweet taste to the dish.
- Smothered Red Cabbage with Wine: Add red wine to the pot for a deeper, richer flavor. The alcohol will cook off during the cooking process, leaving behind a delicious flavor.
These are just a few ideas for variations on the traditional smothered red cabbage recipe. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients and flavors to find your own unique twist on this classic dish.
Customizing the Recipe: Adding Meats
If you're not a vegan and want to add some meaty flavor to your smothered red cabbage, there are several options available. Here are some meats you can add to the dish to enhance its flavor:
- Bacon: Bacon is a classic addition to smothered cabbage, and it adds a smoky and savory flavor to the dish. Cook the bacon separately, then crumble it and add it to the pot with the cabbage before serving.
- Sausage: Sausage is another great addition to smothered cabbage. You can use any type of sausage you like, from smoked sausage to kielbasa. Slice or dice the sausage, cook it separately, then add it to the pot with the cabbage before serving.
- Ham: Ham is a delicious addition to smothered cabbage, and it adds a salty and savory flavor to the dish. You can use cooked ham or ham hocks. If using ham hocks, simmer them in the pot with the cabbage until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
- Ground Beef: Ground beef is a great addition to smothered cabbage, and it adds a hearty and meaty flavor to the dish. Brown the ground beef in a separate pan, then add it to the pot with the cabbage before serving.
- Chicken: Chicken is a healthy and flavorful addition to smothered cabbage. You can use cooked chicken or chicken sausage. If using cooked chicken, shred the meat and add it to the pot with the cabbage before serving.
When adding meat to your smothered red cabbage, keep in mind that the cooking time may vary depending on the type of meat you're using. Some meats, like ham hocks, may take longer to cook than others, so adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Adding meat to smothered cabbage is a great way to add some extra flavor and heartiness to the dish. Feel free to experiment with different types of meats and spices to find the perfect combination for your taste buds.
OTHER RECIPES TO TRY
- Best Ever Fried Cabbage with Sausage
- Authentic Louisiana Style Red Beans and Rice
- Best 7up Cake Recipe with Lemon Glaze and Lemon Syrup
How to Make Delicious Smothered Red Cabbage: A Classic Recipe with Vegan and Meat Variations
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Sides
1 head of red cabbage
3-4 teaspoon of salt
1 tbs of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
¼ cup of canola oil
1. Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise and remove the core. Then, chop the cabbage into large, bite-sized pieces.
2. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped cabbage to the pot.
3. Add the salt, smoked paprika, and black pepper to the pot. Drizzle the canola oil over the top of the cabbage and mix everything together until the cabbage is evenly coated with the seasoning and oil.
4. Cover the pot with a lid and let the cabbage cook over medium heat for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the cabbage begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, you can add a small amount of water or vegetable broth to help it cook.
5. Check the cabbage for tenderness after 30 minutes. If it's still too crunchy for your liking, continue cooking for an additional 10-15 minutes until it reaches the desired level of softness.
6. Once the cabbage is tender, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!
Keywords: Smothered red cabbage, fried cabbage, smothered cabbage