This Quick Pickled Carrots and Cabbage recipe is one of my family’s favourite crunchy and tangy salads.
We use thinly sliced green cabbage, carrots and garlic, that are then tossed in a simple homemade brine flavoured with apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, pickling spices and spicy red pepper flakes.
This healthy German-inspired Pickled Cabbage and Carrots recipe is vegan and vegetarian friendly. You can serve it on its own or as a side salad, with roast meats like pork hock and bratwurst, as a garnish for tasty Mexican tacos or stuffed in a wrap, sandwich or burger. The culinary options are endless!
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What Are Quick Pickled Carrots and Cabbage?
This quick and easy Pickled Cabbage recipe transforms thinly sliced green cabbage and carrots into a flavour packed crunchy and tangy salad.
We love the dish as its so versatile and can be served as a side salad or garnish in many different cuisines.
Inspired by a German Pickled Cabbage slaw I tasted at a beer hall in Bavaria, it is a delicious accompaniment to meat-centric Germanic feasts featuring roasted pork hock, sausages and pretzels.
You can also use Quick Pickled Carrots and Cabbage as a garnish for Mexican fish tacos.
In many Asian countries a version of this dish is also served as a compliment to satay skewers and spicy curries.
You May Also Enjoy These Pickled Fermented Recipes…
- Swedish Pickled Rhubarb Recipe
- Best Sourdough Discard Recipes
- Lacto Fermentation: How to Ferment Vegetables
- How To Make Fermented Garlic
- How to Make Fermented Jalapeno Peppers
- How to Make Fermented Carrots
- How to Make Fermented Onions
- How to Make Fermented Honey
- How to Make Kimchi at Home
Travel To Germany By Making Quick Pickled Carrots And Cabbage At Home
I love traveling to Europe.
As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in Europe, from traditional markets to award winning restaurants.
For over ten years, I’ve been on the hunt for the best Pickled Carrot and Cabbage recipe. I’ve embarked on culinary adventures at German restaurants throughout Western Europe in Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and Austria.
On a road trip of Germany, I’ve forked through crunchy Quick Pickled Cabbage in Freiburg, Berlin, Ahrenshoop, Hamburg, Spreewald, Potsdam, Dresden, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Cochem, Mettlach, Nennig, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Munich, Koblenz and Rudesheim.
The first time I tasted a traditional German pickled cabbage recipe was soon after I arrived in Berlin. After checking into my hotel it was already after the lunch hour and still hadn’t had anything more than a cup of coffee all day.
I walked straight to the city’s most famous beer hall to enjoy an early dinner featuring a massive stein of fresh beer, bowl of marinated cheese, soft pretzel, massive roasted pork hock with a side of crunchy Pickled Cabbage and Carrots.
I loved how well the acidic and flavour packed pickled cabbage slaw paired with the smokey and fatty pork knuckle. The acid in the vinegar-soaked cabbage cut through the rich fat of the pork and made for a sublime marriage of flavours in my mouth!
After you’ve enjoyed your first taste, you’ll realize why Pickled Carrots and Cabbage are a must-try when visiting Germany!
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My Family Loves Quick Pickled Carrots
After eating Quick Pickled Carrots and Cabbage on a visit to Germany I thought it would be fun to introduce the healthy pickled salad to my family.
I prepared the recipe on a cool Fall morning when I noticed my mom had a head of green cabbage and bag of carrots that needed to get used up in the fridge.
We’ve always loved fermenting and pickling at home so had a bag of pickling spices in the cupboard that I used to flavour the thinly sliced vegetables.
In order to save time I used the food processor to slice the carrots and cabbage. You can also use a mandoline or sharp French knife.
We enjoyed the quick pickled cabbage slaw with Air Fryer Bratwurst. Leftovers were stored in large mason jars in the fridge and enjoyed as an easy salad, garnish for homemade tacos and side dish for spicy Asian curries.
Pickled Carrots and Cabbage Recipe Tips
Ready to make an easy homemade Pickled Cabbage recipe? We suggest reading the recipe directions in detail to ensure you understand the step by step process. Here are some of our favourite tips and tricks:
- All containers, utensils and your hands need to be clean and free of oil or grease. Don’t cross-contaminate–always use clean utensils when handling, so the pickled vegetables last longer.
- Because salt and vinegar are corrosive, it’s best to use glassware or ceramic containers for pickling, not metal containers.
- We suggest using a food processor to slice the cabbage and carrots in order to save time but you can also use a mandoline or sharp French knife.
- We’ve used green cabbage in this recipe but you can substitute for savoy or napa cabbage if you prefer. It is perfectly fine to use red cabbage but be warned the pickled slaw will turn purple. We don’t find purple carrots that visually appealing but they taste all the same.
- We’ve used apple cider vinegar in this recipe but you can substitute with simple distilled white vinegar if you prefer. White wine vinegar works as well.
- We’ve added red pepper flakes to give the pickled cabbage a bit of spicy kick but you can omit if you don’t like heat in your food. If you like spicy food we suggest adding chopped up jalapeno pepper.
- We’ve used a bag of pickling spices to flavour the brine but you can also add fresh herbs like chives, tarragon, oregano or thyme to flavour the brine.
What To Serve With Quick Pickled Carrots and Cabbage
Quick Pickled Carrots and Cabbage can be made anytime of the year but we like to make them in the Fall during harvest season.
Our favourite way to serve homemade Pickled Cabbage and Carrots is as a side salad with roasted German meats like grilled sausages and roast pork hock. Don’t forget to have a large jar of German mustard and freshly baked pretzels on the table.
You can serve the crunchy pickled green cabbage salad as a garnish for tacos or as a side dish for Asian curries.
We also love to use this cabbage and carrot mixture in sandwiches and burgers.
How To Store Quick Pickled Vegetables
If it’s your first time making quick pickled vegetables not to worry the process is really easy.
Be sure to clean your mason jars and heat them to the appropriate temperature so all pathogens are destroyed.
Place a funnel in the lip of the mason jar and use a large spoon to transfer the quick pickled cabbage and carrots into the jar. Leave 2-3 centimeters between the lid and the liquid.
Store the jars in the back of your fridge and eat within a month to ensure the veggies are still crunchy. You can eat them within 12 hours but suggest waiting a few days so the carrots and cabbage can take on the flavour of the brine.
Should Carrots Be Peeled Before Pickling?
Technically, you don’t have to peel carrots when pickling but honestly the peels often taste like a hint of dirt. Tender young summer carrots are an exception, and they often have mild peels and are just fine to use when well-scrubbed and unpeeled.
How Long Before Pickled Carrots and Cabbage Are Ready To Eat?
It’s best to allow the vegetables to sit in mason jars for 3 to 5 days before consuming for best flavour development. You can enjoy these quick pickled vegetables within 12 hours if you’re pressed for time. They continue to taste better with age as the carrot and cabbage take on the flavour of the brine.
How Long Do Pickled Carrots and Cabbage Keep And Last In The Fridge?
Once opened pickled carrots and cabbage can be stored in the fridge in a mason jar for up to a montha. After 3 weeks the vegetables start to lose their desired crunchy texture but can still be consumed a few weeks after. Ensure the vegetables are always submerged in the pickle brine so they don’t dry out or discolour.
What Is The Difference Between Fermented and Pickled Cabbage?
A pickle is a food preserved in a brine (salt water), whereas fermented food is preserved by the activation of healthy bacteria found on vegetables or fruit using sugar or salt. This Quick Pickled Cabbage recipe will not make sauerkraut as that is a popular German fermented vegetable that comes alive with active bacterial culture.
What Is The Best Vinegar For Pickling Vegetables?
Most pickle recipes call for distilled white vinegar. This is the clear, colourless vinegar made by fermenting grains. It has a mellow aroma, tart acid flavor and does not affect the colour of light-colored vegetables. We prefer to use apple cider vinegar as it has a delightful aroma and flavour profile.
This pickled vegetable recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
An excellent source of vitamins K and C, cabbage helps keep your bones, blood, and immune system healthy.
An excellent source of vitamin A and the phytochemical beta-carotene, carrots help keep your eyes and bones healthy, and may help protect against several types of cancer.
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
You May Also Enjoy These German Recipes…
- Nussecken German Nut Corners
- Maulwurfkuchen German Mole Cake
- Cherry Lovers Black Forest Tiramisu
- Schwäbische Käsespätzle German Cheese Noodles
- Speckknödel German Bread Bacon Dumplings
- Semmelknödel German Bread Dumplings
- Kartoffelknödel German Potato Dumplings
- German Pork Rouladen with Bacon, Apple & Pickles
- Flädlesuppe German Pancake Soup
How To Make Homemade Quick Pickled Carrots and Cabbage
Easy Quick Pickled Cabbage
- French Knife or Mandoline
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Mason Jars
- 2 lb Green Cabbage
- 1 Large Carrot thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 cup Water
- 1 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 2 tsp White Sugar
- 1/8 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 4 Garlic Cloves sliced
- 2 tsp Pickling Spices
- Thinly slice the carrot. Set aside.
- Put the water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Toss the shredded cabbage and thinly sliced carrot in a bowl and then pour the hot brine over it.
- Divide the brined cabbage and carrots between mason jars, layering evenly with the garlic slices and pickling spices.
- Place the lids on the jars and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. For the best flavor, keep cold for 24 to 48 hours before serving.
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