With this savory white cabbage salad, you can have an authentic Bavarian experience at home, around your own dinner table.
While classic coleslaw from countries like England or the US is often made with mayonnaise, this recipe is prepared with a subtle marinade of oil and vinegar, but it’s big on flavor.
It requires only few other ingredients, plus that special seasoning that you definitely don’t want to forget: the caraway seeds.
They not only provide the characteristic flavor of this dish, but also promote good digestion (which can be quite useful as part of a rich and hearty meal).
This type of cabbage salad is typical of German cuisine. White or red cabbage is often finely chopped and combined with a vinaigrette-style dressing.
Lots of local varieties exist. Some versions, for example, include a fruity flavor due to the addition of some diced or chopped apple.
I think this particular combination is actually great served on its own, too. The crispy bacon that this slaw is topped with provides a wonderful salty note, especially if it’s served while it’s still warm.
Enjoy this recipe for a wonderfully easy, satisfying, and savory side dish or meal.
- 1 small white cabbage
- 3 tablespoons Oil
- 1 onion peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 Tablespoons white vinegar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds lightly ground
- 4 ounces bacon
- If necessary, remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. Quarter and remove the stem. Shred into fine strips and place in a large bowl.
- Boil some water (enough to fully submerge the cabbage) and pour it over the cabbage. Leave to soak for about 2 minutes.
- Pour the cabbage into a colander and drain well. Squeeze the water out thoroughly with your hands, then place in a fresh bowl.
- Warm up the oil in a pan and saute the onions until golden brown. Sprinkle with the sugar and caramelize over low heat.
- Deglaze the pan with the water and vinegar, bring to a boil, and allow to reduce a bit. Pour over the cabbage while it's still hot. Season with salt, pepper, and caraway seeds. Mix thoroughly and set aside to cool.
- Before serving, cut the bacon into fine strips or small cubes. Saute in a dry pan until crispy. Sprinkle over the salad and serve immediately, while the bacon is still warm.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step One – Preparation
If the outer leaves of the cabbage head are wilted, then go ahead and remove them. Cut the head into quarters and discard the core.
Shred into fine strips – a food processor works well for this if you’re making a double or triple batch for a get-together. Make sure the shredded cabbage is placed in a heat-safe bowl.
Step Two – Wilting the Cabbage
Add water to a medium stockpot and bring to a boil. Pour the water over the cabbage and allow it to soak in the hot water for a couple of minutes.
Step Three – Drain
Pour the water/cabbage mixture into a colander and allow to drain. Squeeze the excess water out with your hands. Place the drained shreds into a dry bowl.
Step Four – Sauté and Caramelize
Chop up the onion. Add oil to a frying pan and sauté the onions until they turn golden brown.
Sprinkle some sugar on top of the onion and reduce to low heat. Allow the sugar to caramelize into a light coating.
Step Five – Deglaze and Reduce
Add the water and vinegar to deglaze the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to reduce for 5-10 minutes to concentrate flavors.
Allow the liquid to cool and pour it over the cabbage while it’s still warm.
Step Six – Spice it up
Add freshly ground pepper, the caraway seeds, and a touch of sea salt. Mix everything throughly and allow to fully cool.
Step Seven – Bacon Time!
Chop the bacon up into small pieces and fry up until they are crispy.
Remove from the bacon from pan and sprinkle over the top of the salad. It’s best to serve while the bacon is still warm. You can also cook the bacon in the oven ahead of time, if you want to plan ahead.
Be sure to check out all of our German-inspired recipes now! Planning an Oktoberfest get-together? If so, be sure to check out this article.
Have you had this before? What’s your take on it? Be sure to tell us in the comments below!
What else can you make with cabbage? Plenty! Here are a few more favorites to try next:
About Nina-Kristin Isensee
Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.
9 thoughts on “Bavarian Cabbage Salad with Bacon”
Well you know what they say, bacon makes everything better. I am betting that this is the case here, but I cannot say that I know from experience, but I am curious and wish to find out now. I do know that the big soft pretzel in the picture above is making my mouth water, so if I could combine the two that would certainly be idea.. This looks like a great side dish though, and it is always nice to switch those up. Good stuff, and thanks for sharing.
Cabbage is one of the vegetables that my mom uses the most when it comes to salads and that sort of food, she definitely loves it and therefore, she made me love it as well. I will copy this down and show it to her as soon as possible, she needs to cook this.
I love cabbage! When the craving kicks in, I usually have a helping of coleslaw salad. So this recipe right here is a pretty good alternative to my go-to coleslaw. I think I can consume the whole recipe on my own, haha! The bacon bits I think would really complement the taste of the main ingredient. Will try this out.
I only eat cabbage salad when I’m preparing bean soup or steak with fries, I never would’ve thought to add bacon to it. Most of the time I just give it a little olive oil and it’s good to go! I’d love to try this recipe out with some meatballs.
This type of salad is very popular in central america where cabbage is very cheap. It is made almost exactly like this recipe, but obviously without the bacon which is expensive here. They usually shred a small amount of carrots into it. It was interesting when I got here getting used to all the types of salads made without mayonnaise, but using vinegar instead. I think it is partially to do with the cost, but also with the refrigeration needed if you use mayo.
In addition to being an inexpensive, filling and healthy choice, there is another reason this salad may be common in Central America. Many Germans migrated to Central and South America after WWII. Sharing, integrating and fusing traditional foods from one culture with another, often previously limited based on growing conditions where a recipe may have originated, has allowed us to develop so many amazing culinary choices. We are so fortunate to live in a time where we can choose our food based on how it tastes, and not just what happens to grow naturally that month.
Can I make this a day before and bring to room temp and then cook bacon?
made this twice in 1 week and will keep it in my regular rotation. I am so happy I found this! Danke!
My Grandmother brought this recipe to the U. S. when she came here as a young wife to my Grandfather in 1912. She always served it with a pork roast with rich natural juice gravy poured over bread and potato dumplings cut up to bite size. We called the cabbage, ” gkrautsolode” (sp). I always thought it translated to kraut salad. I’m 72 now and still a family tradition.