Pickled Cabbage Slaw

Pickled Cabbage Slaw

Recipe by Liz Sempervive, Executive Chef of the Millstone Café 

Carolyn Wyeth (1909 - 1994), The Cabbage, 1944, oil on canvas, 24 1/2 × 26 1/2 in. Anonymous gift, 1997


1 head of cabbage
1 red onion
3 cups of white distilled vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 cups of water
½ cup of salt
½ cup of sugar
Any amount of any fresh herbs to add in at the end


  1. Thinly slice the cabbage and onion. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small pot add the vinegar, water, salt and sugar (for extra credit you could add a tablespoon of whole, dry spices like cumin, coriander, bay leaf, spicy chilies or pickling spice if you have it). Heat on the stove until it comes to a boil and turn off the heat. During this time, the salt and sugar will dissolve.
  3. If you added whole spices, strain them out. Now, pour the liquid over the cabbage and onions. The vegetables should be submerged under the liquid (if they’re not, make some more liquid to pour over top).
  4. Let the whole thing cool completely before you enjoy. Once it’s cooled, store the vegetables with all the liquid in an airtight container in the fridge (unless it is properly canned, it should not be stored at room temperature).
  5. When you’re ready to eat it, remove some vegetables from the liquid and mix in your herbs. Our Executive Chef, Liz Sempervive, likes to add in parsley, cilantro and scallions. Of the many dishes that pair well with picked cabbage slaw, try topping it on some tacos, adding it to a rice bowl with veggies and braised meat, or even as a sandwich topping. Or, as Chef Liz says, "I would eat it plain . . . but that’s just me!"

Other tips:

  • Save the pickling liquid. You can easily bring extra liquid back up to a boil and pour over some fresh veggies in the future. The liquid can be reused at least once. It can also be used as a tasty vinegar addition to a salad dressing.
  • If you’re not into cabbage, you can use this pickle recipe with just about anything. Try jicama, carrots, radishes, onions, bell peppers or maybe a mix! Be sure to thinly slice everything. Ideally pickled vegetables—when they are fresh—create the most crunch and flavor, but it is also a great way to extend the shelf life of the vegetables in your fridge that are past their prime.
  • A note to parents: this is a great recipe to get the kids involved with. They can measure the ingredients, work on fractions by reducing the recipe, do all of the mixing and cut the cabbage into strips using scissors. It’s best practice to go leaf by leaf to ensure even slices and scissor safety.

Liz Sempervive is the Executive Chef of the Millstone Café and Catering at the Brandywine River Museum of Art. She hopes to bring nourishment to everyone through her scratch cooking, classic dishes and rustic cuisine. Chef Liz is passionate about food accessibility and supporting our local food systems. She believes that collective healing begins with sharing a meal between friends. Her accomplishments include being awarded "Best New Chef, 2019" in Main Line Today magazine and participating as a contestant on Food Network’s Chopped