This colourful, zesty pickled red cabbage slaw with pear & walnuts is full of flavour yet contains only a handful of ingredients. Learn how to quickly pickle red cabbage and turn it into a delicious, handy ingredient perfect for adding into salads, sandwiches, burgers, and other dishes.
This pickled red cabbage slaw with pear & walnuts can be enjoyed all year round, as an everyday as well as special occasion salad. This colourful salad makes a fantastic healthy fall/winter dish perfect for the Holiday season.
Easy pickled red cabbage slaw
Red cabbage is a very healthy vegetable but I tend to avoid it in salads because of its tough often stringy texture. As I recently discovered, however, this problem disappears if the cabbage is left in a light pickling mixture overnight. It can be used already the following day! There are so many advantages to using pickled rather than raw cabbage in a salad!
First of all, it tastes delicious! Also, because it’s infused with flavour (sweet, sour and salty) the cabbage doesn’t require any dressing other than maybe a little drizzle of lemon juice or olive oil just before serving. This makes preparation simpler and shorter.
The process of pickling gives the cabbage a vibrant purple colour. It is so much more appealing than a faded purple greyish it would eventually turn without being pickled!
Another plus of pickling the cabbage is that it makes it more tender, but not soggy, still allowing it to retain some crunch, as it is pickled for a fairly short time. This red cabbage salad recipe does not share the life cycle of most salads made with raw ingredients (i.e. from crunchy to soggy). If left to stand for a while, its texture will not change. So you can leave leftovers in the fridge for a few hours and enjoy them later!
Another salad where I’ve used lightly pickled red cabbage is this festive red cabbage sprouts salad with maple glazed pecans.
How to pickle red cabbage
This is very easy to do. Remove the tough middle bit from the cabbage and slice it very thinly. Add the salt, sugar, oil and vinegar, stir thoroughly, cover and refrigerate overnight. The following day simply give a good stir and make the salad!
If you like the idea of pickling vegetables you may enjoy this cured sprouts salad with clementines and leftover turkey.
Equipment you’ll need to make red cabbage slaw
- Kitchen scales
- Cutting board and knife
- Fruit zester and peeler
- Large mixing bowl and spoon
How to make pickled red cabbage slaw: step-by-step
This simple red cabbage and pear salad is really quick and easy to put together.
1. Combine the pickled cabbage with the pear, red onion, walnuts and cilantro.
2. Drizzle with a little oil and lemon juice, stir, season to taste and enjoy!
- You could either slice the cabbage very thinly, as I have done, or shred it. Whichever method you choose your pickled red cabbage will have a lovely texture, a little crunchy but not tough.
- Swaps: You can use sweet tasting apple instead of pear and pecans instead of walnuts. I used cilantro but fresh parsley or chives would work well too.
- Storing: Any leftover pickled cabbage can be kept in the fridge in an air tight container for 2-3 days. Add it to salads, sandwiches or soups. You can also serve this salad with Christmas/Thanksgiving turkey leftovers.
- Not suitable for freezing.
More red cabbage recipes
Be sure to check out also this collection of 15+ easy vegan salads for more salad inspiration!
KEEP IN TOUCH!
Have you made this red cabbage salad? I’d love to know how it turned out for you. Let me know in the comments below, thanks!
Pickled Red Cabbage Slaw with Pear & Walnuts
- 350 g red cabbage about 1/2 medium sized cabbage, shredded or sliced thinly
- 2 medium pears ripe but firm, peeled, cubed or sliced
- 1 small red onion very thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup walnuts roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp cilantro chopped
- A drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil plus zest of 1/2 lemon
- Pepper to taste
For the pickling mixture
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp cider or wine vinegar
- Coarsely grate or slice (thinly) the cabbage (without using the tough middle bit of the cabbage which can be chopped up and added to soup). Combine the pickling ingredients and pour over the cabbage stirring thoroughly. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
- To make the slaw combine the cabbage with the pears, cilantro, red onion, walnuts, season to taste and drizzle with oil and lemon juice. Scatter the lemon zest over the top and serve.