Braised Sausage with Cabbage and Onions

Braised Sausage with cabbage, onions and raisins

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For years, cabbage has been a vegetable that I can just “take it or leave it” – usually leaving it. Coleslaw, sauerkraut, corned beef and cabbage – not on my list of favorite foods. However, Kimchi is an exception, but that’s a story for another day. Since Bobby feels the same way as I do about cabbage, it’s been a struggle through the years coming up with a cabbage dish that we both love, not just like.  Knowing that cabbage is good for us, and it’s one of the few leafy things that I can get fresh in the winter, I had to keep trying.  Today I’m sharing the success of that struggle.  We both LOVE Sausage with Cabbage and Onions and have no problem eating it many, many times a year.  During the cooler months, it’s one of our go-to comfort foods.  I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do.

Braised Sausage with Cabbage and Onions
Braised Sausage with cabbage, onions and raisins

Braised Sausage with Cabbage and Onions Recipe
15 mins
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins

Cabbage and Sausage - what a great pairing!  Even your cabbage hating eater will love this one!

*See Kitchen Notes for substitutions and further information.

Course: Main Course, Meat Entree
Yields: 2 servings
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchen
  • 4 large uncooked sausages links*
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ large head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 medium onion, halved, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • ¼ to ½ cup raisins
  • ½ tsp. dried sage, crushed
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Toasted Farmer’s bread (optional)
  1. In a large skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, turning once 4 minutes per side or until brown on at least two sides.

  2. Move the sausage to a plate and add the cabbage, garlic, and onion. Reduce heat to medium low.
  3. Sauté, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until vegetables start to soften.

  4. Add the bourbon. Deglaze the pan, scraping anything stuck on the bottom.

  5. Add the raisins, sage, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir to combine ingredients.
  6. If all of the moisture has evaporated from the skillet, add ~1/4 cup water.* (See Kitchen Notes)

  7. Place the sausages on top of the cabbage and onion mixture. Turn the heat down to low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  8. Taste. Add additional salt and pepper if desired.
  9. Serve on top of a slice of toasted Farmer’s bread if desired.  Omit the bread if you don't want the carbs.
Kitchen Notes

Sausage – Use your favorite uncooked sausage – Bratwurst, Knackwurst, Italian, Chorizo, whatever you like.  Smoked sausage does not work because, first of all, you want to the capture all of the rendered fats from the initial cooking of the sausage and incorporate that into the dish.  Also, as the sausage cooks during the “braise”, you want any of the juices that escape from the sausage to drip into the cabbage mixture, adding that sausage flavor that we oh so love.  Our favorite is a hot Italian sausage.


Cabbage – Use whatever is available.  Green cabbage, savoy, and Napa all work great!  Of course the flavor and texture of the cabbage mixture will be a little different between types of cabbages, but that just provides you with a way to change up the recipe a bit and to use what’s available.


Raisins – The raisins do add some “sweetness” to the dish which I find very complementary with Italian sausage and Bratswurst.  However, when I use Chorizo, I reduce the amount of raisins to 1/4 cup with better results.  If you aren’t a fan of “sweet and savory”, then definitely use 1/4 cup or less; however, I wouldn’t suggest eliminating the raisins altogether.  If you aren’t a raisin eater, then you could try substituting with dried cranberries. I can’t speak for the results, but I do know that cranberries do make a great substitute in many dishes.


That added water – In order for the sausage to continue cooking once the skillet is covered and to keep the cabbage mixture from burning, there needs to be a small amount of liquid in the skillet when you cover it to finish cooking.  Therefore, if the pan is dry and the ingredients are beginning to stick to the skillet, add up to 1/4 cup water.  That’s all that is needed to finish cooking the meal.


Bread or no Bread – I do love serving this dish over a slice of toasted Farmer’s Bread.  It feels like eating a Diner’s Special. 🙂  However, if I don’t have the bread, it doesn’t stop me from making it. With or without the toast, this sausage and cabbage dish is a winner!



Braised Sausage with cabbage, onions and raisins


Just a little bit of sausage adds such a great flavor to a dish.  It doesn’t have to be much. Here are a few dishes that illustrate how a little sausage can transform a meal

Posole with Italian Sausage and Kale

Beans and Rice with Sausage

Suppertime Pileup (Sausage, onion and fennel)



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64 Responses to “Braised Sausage with Cabbage and Onions”

  1. Marie October 26, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    Thank you for the recipe! My husband’s grandmother always sends homemade polish sausage with his dad to us. I was a vegetarian for 10 years until the end of my third pregnancy 7 months ago. I am new to all meat cooking and this recipe made me feel more confident. The only thing I added was vinegar in place of water as needed and a few teaspoons Worcestershire sauce. I think this will be a winner!

    • mj October 28, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

      Thanks so much Marie for your feedback! I’m so glad that you and your family liked it! Bet it was great with the polish sausage! Interesting that you became a meat eater again, especially after 10 years as a vegetarian. Was it due to hormones or just a sudden craving for meat? Just curious. Thanks again for your comments!

  2. Maggie November 9, 2013 at 3:10 am #

    This dish looks so yummy! I like the idea to cook cabbage with the oil from frying sausage. I’m not a big fun of cabbage too, but I do love this one!

    • Shannon June 18, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

      Cooking note: I made this without the bourbon, sage or the raisins (as I had none of those) and it still came out sweet and delicious.

      I served it with mashed potatoes.

      • mj June 19, 2014 at 12:31 am #

        Shannon, Thanks for letting me know that you tried this and liked it even without all of the ingredients! Recipes are just suggestions to help you get started, so thanks for giving it a go with what you had. Love the idea of serving it with mashed potatoes. I’ll be trying that next time I make this!

  3. Biren @ Roti n Rice October 29, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    I always have cabbage in the refrigerator as we do like it in our veggie stir fry.Your dish with raisins and spices looks and sounds very flavorful. I am sure it was delicious with the sausage.

  4. Bill October 29, 2013 at 6:42 am #

    I love cabbage and I don’t make it nearly enough. Actually it can be a little boring unless it’s doctored up and you’ve done a magnificent job with a great blend of flavors! What a great weeknight meal!

  5. swathi October 28, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    You have given an excellent makeover to Cabbage Love it.

  6. Angie@Angie's Recipes October 28, 2013 at 4:30 am #

    I love how you prepared the cabbage…sauted with sausage dripping and flavoured with paprika and sage…absolutely mouthwatering!

  7. Nancy/SpicieFoodie October 26, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    I like you even more now, because we share a love for kimchi.:) I like cabbage in many ways and your recipe sounds like something both hubby and I would love. Thanks for sharing.:)

    • mj October 27, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

      Kimchi – YUM! 🙂 Thanks!

  8. Asmita October 25, 2013 at 4:00 am #

    This looks really good! I love cabbage and sausage and can only imagine the flavors from the two must be so yum!

  9. Nami | Just One Cookbook October 24, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    My mom used to cook shredded cabbage and sausage dish like this, but more Asian (Japanese) flavor. It’s interesting to see you use bourbon, raisin and sage, etc. Sounds really good!

  10. Ramona October 24, 2013 at 4:35 am #

    This dish would be devoured up quickly in my house. 🙂 I am usually a cabbage lover.. but it has to be prepared deliciously. 🙂 You my friend had done just that. 🙂

  11. Bam's Kitchen October 24, 2013 at 1:39 am #

    I feel the same way about cabbage. I am okay with it raw in a salad but cooked not so much. However your addition of sweet raisin and bourbon might really change my mind about this lost and forgotten veggie.

    • mj October 24, 2013 at 8:21 am #

      Thanks Bam! It is the raisins and bourbon that take it past that “cabbage dish” flavor. 🙂

  12. Jodee Weiland October 23, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    This looks really delicious! I’m definitely trying this recipe. You always come up with such good ideas! Thanks!

  13. Liz October 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    I do like cabbage, but it’s nothing I ever get a craving for. Your dish could change that!!! Sounds incredible paired with sausage!

    • mj October 24, 2013 at 8:22 am #

      Thanks Liz! I definitely relate to your comment because I don’t ever crave cabbage, but I do get a craving for this dish. 🙂

  14. Shashi @ October 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    Cabbage is one of my favs – love your version with raisins and sausage!

  15. easyfoodsmith October 23, 2013 at 6:45 am #

    Sausages are not a very common food in India. What few we have are very basic. I would love to try this meal. 🙂

  16. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles October 22, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Well, you will have NO problem selling this cabbage post to me! :). We eat cabbage virtually in this house! (Yup, we like it that much). Often raw but also in pho. I love the idea of cooking it up as you have and tossing in all of those delicious ingredients — the plump raisins are especially calling out to me. I bet chopped apple would work well here too. I don’t know how anyone would not enjoy this version MJ (whether they like cabbage or not ;-)). Your sausage is the perfect accompaniment to this sweet and savory vegetable toss.

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      Thanks Kelly! You’re right – apple would be a great addition or even a great substitution for the raisins. Great idea! Thanks! Everyday – WOW – you are a cabbage lover! 🙂

  17. wok with ray October 22, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    This dish of yours looks amazing and with the sausage. . . Oh wow! I am a big fan of cabbage and when I use it in a soup, I include and eat that hard middle core part. I guess that makes me a hard-core cabbage fan? hahaha! I hope you are having a great week my friend. 🙂

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      You’re so cute Ray! 🙂 I do put a little cabbage in soups sometime, but even then, I use it sparingly. How you’re having a great week as well!

  18. Katerina October 22, 2013 at 4:34 am #

    I admire your perseverance in trying to find a recipe that will make you consume cabbage. I have a few things I don’t like to eat. Perhaps I must follow your steps and try to find a good recipe for artichoke for example haha! Your cabbage looks absolutely inviting and delicious!

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

      Thanks so much Katerina! Artichoke? oh how I love artichoke! Now brussels sprouts and beet root – they’re another story. I’ve already decided that my next challenge is beets. 🙂

  19. Zsuzsa October 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    Suerkraut Peach Lady all I can say sauerkraut! 🙂

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

      You’re funny Cake Lady! I guess I’ve never had a good sauerkraut. 🙂

  20. Debra October 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    This reminds me of a chard recipe with raisins (that I usually leave out) that was delicious. I might try adding bourbon the next time I make that recipe. This is perfect for a homemade Oktoberfest! 🙂

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      Thanks Debra! I never thought of using another green for this meal, but chard sounds like a great idea.

  21. ChgoJohn October 21, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    I’ve never had a problem with cabbage except for their size. One cabbage is a whole lot of cabbage for one person. I still make it, though, and frequently. This sounds like a great dish, MJ, for the “other half” sitting in my crisper. I just wish I had seen this last week. My market had a sale and the cabbage display was very popular. 🙂

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

      Thanks John! I usually have Jerry, my produce guy, cut the cabbage in half, because buying a whole cabbage is a waste for just the two of us.

  22. Evelyne@cheapethniceatz October 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    It’s like you are me! Feel exactly the same as you..except for kimchi. And I recently did break down and bought a cabbage. I can see how bourbon would help 😀

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

      Thanks Evelyne! Yes, the bourbon as a deglazer for the sausage it wonderful! I forgot to say that a dark beer works as well.

  23. Minnie@thelady8home October 21, 2013 at 11:29 am #

    Cabbage is a difficult ingredient to work with. I love eating it, especially when cooked in certain ways. I love how you have turned such a difficult vegetable into a beautiful meal. Love it.

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

      thanks so much Minnie! I, too have always found it a difficult vegetable.

  24. Judy @Savoring Today October 21, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    MJ, this is a great recipe ~ cabbage or saurkrat with sausage is an easy weeknight meal that is hard to beat. Just great.

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

      Thanks Judy! Yes, this is a perfect weeknight meal!

  25. cquek October 21, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    wow, another mouth watering menu you got here

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

      Thanks so much Cquek! 🙂

  26. Soni October 21, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    We love cabbage over here and this recipe sounds delicious MJ.Especially in cooler days like today!Thanks!

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

      Thanks Soni! It is a great cold weather dish!

  27. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen October 21, 2013 at 5:38 am #

    I happen to love cabbage and I will definitely try this out! Thanks!

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

      Thanks Peachy! Hope you like it!

  28. Sissi October 21, 2013 at 3:40 am #

    MJ, it looks… breathtaking (I have never thought I would say a sausage and cabbage plate looks breathtaking!). I suppose you don’t like sauerkraut because you haven’t tasted the famous Polish sauerkraut & meat dish (I have planned to post it soon; it’s full of spices, herbs, has to be cooked at least two days but well worth it! nothing to do with the German/French-style disgusting heap of barely cooked sauerkraut!). Anyway, your way to serve fresh cabbage is already bookmarked. Very original and I’m sure delicious!
    I have always loved saurekraut but I started to appreciate raw cabbage first when I prepared Japanese omelet called “okonomiyaki” and then when I realised how fantastic it is stir-fried with squid Korean-way.

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

      Thanks so much Sissi! I can’t wait for your Polish sauerkraut and meat dish! and NO – I’ve never try such a dish. Most of the meat and cabbage dishes that I’ve tried have been German dishes and I’m not a fan. 🙁 I’ll definitely have to try out the two dishes you mentioned – the Japanese and Korean dishes. Thanks for bringing those to my attention!

  29. Giulietta | Alterkitchen October 21, 2013 at 3:13 am #

    Delicious and good looking dish! I’d love to have this for dinner… it’s a complete meal in a dish! Just perfect!
    And I love cabbage.. well, sausage too 🙂

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

      Thanks Giulia! I LOVE sausage, so it’s not hard to love anything that you serve as a side. 🙂

  30. Raymund October 21, 2013 at 12:13 am #

    Very nice and simple dish, now I miss Germany!

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

      Thanks Raymund! I’m sure this doesn’t taste like any German dish, but it’s good just the same. 🙂

  31. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen October 20, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    I will have to make this tomorrow! I’m so tired of my every day meals and love that this can be all done in one pan. The addition of raisins and bourbon make it even more enticing! I can’t wait! xx

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

      Thanks Barbara! Gotta love those one pot dishes! 🙂 Hope you get to try it and enjoy it.

  32. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef October 20, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    Cabbage in salads and that’s been about it for me. I juice some occasionally but cooked? it’s never been a favorite. This, however, looks wonderful.

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

      Thanks Maureen! Juiced cabbage? I guess one needs a juicer for that to happen. If you don’t like cooked cabbage, you will like this cooked cabbage. That cabbage flavor is really overpowered by the onion and raisins – two flavors I love.

  33. john@kitchenriffs October 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    I used to really dislike cabbage too, particularly coleslaw. But now I’m a fan! I have to say, though, this dish is perfect for someone who’s cabbage-adverse. Sausage and cabbage go so well together (and onions too? Yes!). This really looks like a winner – thanks so much.

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

      Thanks John! Yes – onions too! 🙂

  34. Tessa October 20, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Looks great MJ! Cabbage is a staple in my kitchen. I use it in so many dishes. It has a long shelf life and it’s generally an inexpensive ingredient :).

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

      Thanks Tessa! Yep – Aside from being healthy, you’re right – a long shelf life and cheap in comparison, so it really needs to be on the menu once in a while. 🙂

  35. Gomo | cHow Divine October 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    I know what you mean about cabbage. Aside from kimchi, which I LOVE, I’m not a big fan of cabbage. I guess I’m a bit turned off by the sulfur smell. There are a few cabbage dishes I love though. I have a feeling this will become one of those dishes. The flavors sound wonderful. A little bit of booze doesn’t hurt either. 😀 As always, lovely dish MJ!

    • mj October 22, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

      I think you’re right – it’s the sulfur smell. Never thought about that. You certainly are a kimchi lover and I love all of your wonderful kimchi dishes. I can guarantee that this cabbage dish doesn’t have a sulfur smell or flavor. It’s not spicy like kimchi, but it’s chocked full of flavor. Thanks for your comments as always!


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