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Pickled Red Cabbage Salad

I grew up eating red cabbage and rice. That is all, red cabbage, white rice, in a Middle Eastern cumin lemon dressing. I knew it was kind of weird when I made it for my boyfriend, now husband, 12 years ago and he was not on board with the combo. There was something about the dish though that kept you going back for more, maybe it was the fresh pickle on the cabbage, or the fact that the rice soaks up all the dressing. Whatever it was it inspired this pickled red cabbage salad, which I must note is husband approved, 12 years later.

cut red cabbage

Ah red cabbage. If you already love the stuff, you are in the right place. If you don’t, have you ever had it pickled? I admit RAW red cabbage kind of sucks. Sure, touches of it in coleslaw is okay, but overall, it’s not my favorite vegetable. Something magical happens when you pickle it though, even a short 30-minute pickle. Best part about this pickle? You can put away the vinegar, or any pots and pans.

What You’ll Need for Pickled Red Cabbage

  • Red Cabbage – You want to buy a red cabbage that is tightly wound, with minimal loose or wilted leaves.
  • Lemon Juice – Fresh is best.
  • Salt– Kosher

Thats it! 3 ingredients. (see full recipe card below)

pickling red cabbage

What You’ll Need for Pickled Red Cabbage Salad

  • Pickled Red Cabbage
  • White Rice – I have an upcoming post that will break down rice. Tips and tricks, how to make white rice not boring ect… Until then make a medium grain rice as per the packaging, but instead of water replace with chicken of vegetable broth.
  • Cucumber– Any type is fine, kirby is a great one to use here.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Chopped tomatoes work too, cherry tomatoes are just easier, and quicker to cut.
  • Jalapeños
  • Cilantro
  • Lemon Juice– Freshly squeezed.
  • Salt– Kosher preferred.

The dressing? Just a squeeze of lemon juice, and salt. The pickled cabbage adds a lot of moisture when the salad is combined.

Pickled Red Cabbage Salad
Pickled Red Cabbage Salad

Just a Few Tips

  • The recipe below yields 2 servings (pictured above). Confession i usually eat all of this myself. This is an easy recipe to reduce or double or triple for more people if need be.
  • If you are sensitive to spice, squeeze some lemon juice on the jalapeño slices while the cabbage is pickling. This will cut into some of the spice. If you are REALLY sensitive, omit completely.
  • This is a great option for lunch, whether that is at home or in the office. Want more healthy lunch ideas, check out the recipe for Harissa Tomato Roasted Farro Bowl.


Pickled Red Cabbage Salad

Print Recipe
Pickled red cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes, spice from jalapeños, and dare I say…. rice?
Course Lunch, Salad
Keyword Healty
Prep Time 30 mins


  • 1/2 red cabbage small-medium size, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup white rice cooled
  • 1 cucumber kirby cut into chunks, if using a bigger cucumber cut amount in half
  • 10 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 jalapeño sliced thin
  • 2 lemons
  • Salt Kosher


Pickled Red Cabbage

  • Start by pickling the red cabbage. Remove any loose leaves.
  • Cut cabbage in half down the bottom stem. Cut the cabbage in thin slices going from the end to the stem, stoping just before reaching the stem. Discard this piece.
  • Place cabbage in a bowl and toss with 2 tsp of salt and the juice of 1 1/2 lemons. Let cabbage sit for 30 minutes minimum. If prepping this in advance, place cabbage in an air tight container in the fridge.


  • Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Add 1/2 lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of salt. Toss and enjoy.

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