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Posted on Nov 16, 2011 in Food, Recipes | 18 comments

Balsamic Braised Red Cabbage

I’ve already admitted to you how “bad” I’ve been with my cooking lately. With the exception of Monday’s triumphant return to the kitchen, it’s barely been happening at all. Aaaaand while technically I did help “cook” a little bit during last night’s fondue session, I realize that dipping cubes of white bread into bubbling vats of cheese isn’t exactly the kind of healthy cooking I should be striving for (but oh, was it delicious!)

Luckily, where motivation fails, monetary incentives prevail (who wants to pay me to lose these last 20 lbs? Anyone?) So when a Clever Girls Collective opportunity with Marzetti Simply Dressed Salad Dressings presented itself, I jumped! They sent me a coupon, so I picked up a jar of the balsamic vinaigrette at the grocery store and forged ahead with another culinary adventure.


Despite a lifelong avoidance of the stuff in salads and a grudging acceptance of it as a topping for fish tacos, I’ve been obsessed with red cabbage lately. At my dad’s birthday dinner last month, I had the most incredible braised, sweet, sour, and savory dish of it. It had this barbecue-like flavor to it… oy, just thinking about it now is making my mouth water! So, having absolutely no experience cooking red cabbage, I winged it (er, wung it? Wang it?) and ended up with a beautiful, delicious, easy-peasy dish that bore an amazing resemblance to the dish I was trying to replicate, for once!


This salad dressing ended up working really well because it had this great creaminess to it (which probably accounts for the 90 calories per 2 tbsp serving instead of your typical 45 calories or less for vinaigrettes — but I digress.) If you happen to have a more watery vinaigrette on hand, however, you could probably try adding some yogurt or cream at the tail end of the cooking process to simulate a similar texture. The Marzetti’s Simply Dressed dressings pride themselves on containing “a minimal number of all-natural and simple ingredients” and no preservatives, HFCS, or artificial colors/flavors, but if you wanted to cut out the processed-foods middleman altogether, you could also just experiment with using straight balsamic vinegar.


Balsamic Braised Red Cabbage
Print this recipe!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes active, 30 minutes passive

This sweet, tangy, and colorful dish would make a fantastic addition to any holiday feast. It’s melt-in-your-mouth tender and has a subtle smokiness that’s sure to perk up your plate. To lighten it up even further you could forgo the butter, but why would you want to? Each 1-cup serving is packed with flavor at only around 150 calories!


1 tablespoon butter
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
1 head red cabbage, chopped/shredded (about 5 cups)
1 cup balsamic vinaigrette of choice (I used Marzetti’s Simply Dressed, as noted above.)
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon sugar, optional
1 tablespoon white vinegar, optional


1. Melt butter in a large pan on medium heat. Add red onion and cook until slightly soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add cabbage and, if using, sprinkle sugar evenly over it. Saute until cabbage begins to wilt, about 5 – 7 minutes.
3. Add balsamic vinaigrette and water, then reduce heat and simmer until liquid has reduced almost completely, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust flavors with salt, vinegar, and additional sugar as needed. Enjoy!

Might not look like much, but it tastes like heaven. Nom.

Et voila! A perfect side dish for me to consider adding to my potential Thanksgiving For One next week. Womp womp, that’s right. With no leave on the books and a Federal-holiday dictated job that doesn’t give me the day after Thanksgiving as a freebie, it;s looking more and more like it’ll just be me and the pups for Turkey Day this year. If anyone else in the area is on their own this T-Day, mayhaps we should arrange a potluck? I can bring the cabbage. Also, schnauzers.

I was one of the bloggers selected by T. Marzetti Company and Clever Girls Collective to host a Marzetti Simply Dressed review. They provided me with product to test myself and compensation for my time. However, my opinions are entirely my own.

PS: If you haven’t already, check out the article I wrote for MochiMag earlier this month on coming to terms with my body type!


  1. Just wanted to thank you for the site – your witty,well written blogs are great to read. I have lost 14 pounds in five weeks using a calaroie countign approach. I have found your blog one factor that has really helped and encouraged me. Best wishes with your journey.


    • Thank you so much, Brandon! Congratulations on your weight loss so far, that’s awesome!! πŸ™‚

  2. So this is weird, but I am cooking this year rather than going to the parents and there will be bacon so…we’ve never met ever but do you want to come eat my turkey? That was weird…anywho. So! Cabbage! Yeah…that is cool.


    Where is that Acme black hole when you need it?

    • Hahahaha, Roger Rabbit would be proud. And I don’t think it’s weird! You should definitely email me, maybe we can talk about doing something potlucky? I promise I’m not a stalker – I love turning blog friends into real-life friends!

  3. Beautiful post! Can’t wait to try that cabbage myself. (Why does eating red cabbage always make me feel like someone in a Russian film?)

  4. you aren’t celebrating thanksgiving?!?!

    • I’m definitely celebrating it, I just might end up celebrating it on my own since everyone in my family is doing their own thing this year. Womp.

  5. “Also, schnauzers.” Love it!

  6. Think I might add this to the Thanksgiving menu! Looks delicious!

    • And how fun is it to have such a colorful addition (PURPLE!) to the plate? Usually the only colorful thing that makes it to my plate at Thanksgiving is the cranberry sauce, haha!

  7. OMG this looks amazing!! I love cabbage. I ussually eat green cabbage, boiled with a pat of butter (I swear I’m a healthy eater). Not had red boiled, I must try this.

  8. Hey Gretchen! I think I’ve looked at your blog once or twice before, but I was reading through it last night and just couldn’t get enough! Just wanted to say that I love your posts (and your doggies too)!
    Oh- and I was showing my husband the “play dead” video that you posted and couldn’t stop laughing. I love a good “dog trick” video (but am jealous because my boys can’t learn a trick to save their souls).

    • Thanks so much, Lauren! Haha, well, if it makes you feel any better, my other dog can barely even “lie down”. Something about old dogs and new tricks…? πŸ™‚

  9. “Wang it” I’m apparently 12 years old today and I love it hahaha

    • I didn’t even check to see if anyone else caught it and was amused before I made my comment down yonder. Yay for being childish! πŸ™‚

      • Haha I love it! You know what they say, great minds think alike πŸ˜‰

  10. My sister and I had an orphan Thanksgiving this year. We managed to get a few of our friends together who would also be celebrating as temporary orphans (all of our parents were outside of the country). I’m sure you’ll find a band of people to share the meal with. You’re only one of the most awesome people I know!

    I request that you cook that cabbage recipe for me when I visit in the inevitable future.

  11. If you feel like hopping down to N. Fla, my family is great at adopting people for holidays. πŸ™‚ My grandma might steal your dogs, though!

    (Side note: Hahah, “wang it.” There, I’ve had my 13 year old boy moment, I’m done.)


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