Bratwurst and red cabbage is a flavorful, brightly colored dinner! Smoky sautéed vegetables are combined with sweet and sour red cabbage to make the perfect partner to juicy, flavorful beer-soaked bratwurst. Pair it with a mango ginger sangria for blackberry lime mint julep for an even brighter meal.
I feel like there’s a real lack of red cabbage recipes in the world. I know it’s probably because I’m German, but good grief do I love a big dish of red cabbage. But I also love bratwurst. Why not put sausage and red cabbage together?
When Johnsonville reached out to me about doing a post to celebrate National Bratwurst Day, I was here for it because 1) I freaking love bratwurst and 2) I’ve been longing for fall for a while now and (as you may have read in my last post) it’s full speed ahead on the autumn train for me.
Choo choo, fall – I’m coming for you.
Perfect for BBQ season
Let’s kick it up a notch – why not purchase a whole bunch of Johnsonville brat packages and host a dinner party with your family and friends?
Maybe you’re looking for an excuse to show off your sweet grilling skills.
Maybe you bought a new house and need a reason to break in your new, fabulous backyard.
Or maybe you’re like me and you just freaking love brats and any excuse to eat them! I’m not saying you have to share them, but it would probably be a good idea… you know, if you want to continue to have those family and friends you love so dearly.
As for me, I like to stick with the stove and use a skillet or high-sided pan. The grill and I don’t get along super well – it produces a whole lot of heat and invariably the winds shift when I’m grilling and all that heat ends up in my face.
I do make exceptions, but since I live in a pretty windy area, I tend to stay inside with my food-related activities. That’s why I thought now is as good a time as ever to whip up a couple of my favorite foods and turn them into the perfect dinner: brats and cabbage.
Strong opinions on red cabbage
Now I know that many people have very strong opinions when it comes to their red cabbage. Some people think it should always have bacon in it unless you hate happiness, others think it should never be cooked and only served in a cold slaw form, and there are people who believe if it hasn’t been pickled for months that you’ve lost your mind.
If you are any of those people… just hear me out.
We’re going to mix it up with water, vinegar and sugar and let it simmer for half an hour. That’s it.
The thicker pieces will still have a slight crunch (one of my favorite parts about it), but the rest is going to be perfectly tender with a delightful combination of sweet and sour flavors.
And the color? Well, just look at it. It’s gorgeous. While the German in me is obsessed with the red cabbage, the real star of the show here is the bratwurst.
Should I boil my brats before cooking?
We’re going to let them simmer in a beer broth for ten minutes, and then brown them – it gives them the most perfect texture.
They’re juicy and flavorful, and pair beautifully with the sauteed onions and peppers that are seasoned with a combination of spices including smoked paprika.
If you don’t have any, you have to get some. Plain ole’ paprika won’t do. Smoked paprika gives this dish a wonderful smoky flavor with a respectable kick of heat.
I don’t want to tell you how to eat your own food, but let me make a recommendation:
Place your colorful combination of veggies on the plate, and carefully nestle the bratwurst on top. Slice your bratwurst as you go, ensuring that each bite will be warm and juicy. Eat each bite with a forkful of veggies, and lose yourself in this amazing flavor combination.
I promise, the process will be worth it.
What to serve with bratwurst and cabbage
I love to serve this as a big ol’ platter alongside some other sharable favorites for group gatherings. Try serving it with:
After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!
Bratwurst and Red Cabbage
- Olive oil, for heating
- 1 large onion, sliced (divided)
- 1 small head red cabbage, sliced
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sugar, can substitute honey
- 4 Johnsonville Bratwursts
- A can or bottle of your favorite beer, I recommend a lager
- 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ⅛ teaspoon cumin
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan, heat a drizzle of oil on medium. Add half of your onions and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened.
- Add cabbage, water, vinegar, sugar. Let simmer on low 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste, and remove from heat.
- After cabbage has cooked for about 10 minutes, start cooking the sausages. In a high sided saute pan, add brats and beer. Add just enough water to help cover the brats.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Drain the liquid, then add a drizzle of oil to the pan and turn the heat up to medium. Brown the brats on all sides until their internal temperature is 165°F, then turn off the heat and remove them from the pan. Place them on a plate, covered with aluminum foil to keep them warm.
- Return heat to medium and add another drizzle of oil to the pan. Once hot, add the other half of your onions and saute for 3 minutes until they start to soften.
- Add bell peppers and cook for another few minutes until both onions and pepper are softened. Add garlic, oregano, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes and cumin, and cook another 30 seconds, until fragrant. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Add prepared cabbage to pan (sans liquid) and carefully stir to combine. Add sausages back to the pan, cover, and heat until sausages are warmed. Serve and enjoy!
This post was sponsored by Johnsonville, but as always the text and opinions are all mine.