Braised Barbecue Red Cabbage

 Too hot to cook this Braised Barbecue Red Cabbage in the oven? Try it on the grill instead!

Too hot to cook this Braised Barbecue Red Cabbage in the oven? Try it on the grill instead!

Let's talk cabbage.

It's the humble star in two of summer's most iconic dishes: coleslaw and sauerkraut meant for topping all of your barbecued hot dogs. But stop to think about other ways you may enjoy this important vegetable and you may be stumped. 

It's not a surprise, though, because cabbage tends to get overlooked quite often even though it is one of the most versatile and nutritious vegetables out there. Red cabbage in particular is packed with antioxidants and vitamins such as Vitamin A & K. And while it's great simply sautéed in some butter on the stovetop, I find braising it like in this Braised Barbecue Red Cabbage recipe really tones down some of its bitterness and enhances its natural sweetness. A little bit of barbecue sauce and apple cider vinegar make the perfect sweet yet tart braising liquid which also helps tenderize the cabbage leaves. 

Think homemade barbecue sauce seems like too much of a hassle? I'm here to tell you it's not and that it is totally worth it. To prove it to you, I'm also including my barbecue sauce recipe that uses only honey and molasses for sweetness and contains none of the questionable ingredients you might find at the store. 

So if you are looking for a simple yet memorable new summer side dish, make up a batch of this Braised Barbecue Red Cabbage and try it along with all of your summertime favorites. 

BRaised Barbecue Red Cabbage

Serves: 4

Time: 25 Minutes

Ingredients: 

1 tablespoon grass-fed butter

4 cups shredded red cabbage (about 1 small head of cabbage)

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup homemade barbecue sauce, below (or favorite store bought sauce)

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/3 cup sliced green onion

Instructions:

1. Preheat your oven or grill to 350F (medium heat on the grill). In a large, deep skillet that has a cover, melt the butter over medium heat until it foams slightly. Add the shredded cabbage and garlic, tossing well to coat evenly. 

2. Let the cabbage cook for 3-5 minutes before adding the barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil before placing the lid on the skillet and placing in the oven or on the grill. 

3. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the cabbage is softened but still a little crisp and a majority of the liquid has been reduced/absorbed.

4. Garnish with the scallions and serve. Cabbage will stay in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. 

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Makes about 1 cup

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup tomato paste

1/2 - 1 cup water*

1 tablespoon organic molasses

3 tablespoons honey (sub maple syrup for a vegan option)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons liquid smoke (optional but recommended)

Instructions:

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the tomato paste, 1/2 cup water, molasses, honey, vinegar, onion, garlic, mustard, salt and liquid smoke over low heat. If the mixture seems too thick, add more water.

2. Simmer for 15 minutes before removing from heat. Once cool, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.