A simple way to make sure that you are getting all the nutrients you need in your diet is to eat plants in a rainbow of colors. This recipe for braised red cabbage and apples is a delicious way to do that and is a good option even for people who have compromised digestive systems and can’t handle eating a lot of raw vegetables. The low and slow cooking increases digestibility and also makes the red cabbage turn a brilliant and appealing purple color and allows the flavors to meld into something so delicious even picky eaters will enjoy it.
I actually developed this recipe when I was visiting my parents at their Wisconsin lake house this past summer, but because cabbage is a great storage vegetable and therefore available almost year round in the market, it is wonderful to enjoy in winter as well. It was a great mental vacation for me on this cold January day to go back through the pictures I took of the completed dish and our fun that July day!
Red cabbage has nutrient power
The brilliant color in red cabbage comes from flavanoids, which are antioxidants that counteract the stress on our bodies from toxins and other sources. This is helpful for all of us, but particularly for people with chronic diseases or who are recovering from illnesses. Cabbage is also a source of a compound known as “vitamin U,” which has been shown to be beneficial for healing gastric ulcers.
Red cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C, which is necessary for our bodies to form collagen and boosts the immune system. It also provides a significant amount of vitamin K which is necessary for maintaining bone calcium and preventing osteoporosis, a common concern for people who have Crohn’s disease or other digestive conditions as we age.
Notes for healing diets
People who have difficulty tolerating many vegetables due to FODMAP intolerance will find that red cabbage is a good low-FODMAP option. However, this dish includes onions, apples, and garlic – all of which are high in FODMAP content – so it may not be the best option for some. You can follow the same technique in the recipe below and simply omit the ingredients you don’t tolerate.
If you are following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), do not include the optional maple syrup and be sure you are using a legal apple cider vinegar.
Braised Red Cabbage Recipe
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, lard or other AIP-friendly cooking fat
- 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 apples, cored and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 head red cabbage, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced or shredded
- ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ cup bone broth
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
- In large pot with a lid, such as a dutch oven, heat fat over medium heat. When hot, add onions and apples and cook until soft (about 4-6 minutes).
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Stir in cabbage, salt, vinegar, rosemary, and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, cover and cook until cabbage is very tender (about 45 minutes).
- Add optional maple syrup if using, then taste and add more salt and vinegar if desired.
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