Cilantro and Orange Pickled Cabbage and Shallots

Pickling is an age-old method of preserving vegetables. It can transform the simplest ingredients into a vibrant condiment or side dish that complements a variety of meals.

When you mix the tangy zest of orange with the unique pungent flavor of cilantro, then pair these with cabbage and shallots, you get a concoction that is both refreshing and flavorful. This pickled medley brings together the crispness of cabbage, the subtle sharpness of shallots, and the fragrant notes of cilantro, all brightened by the citrusy undertone of orange.

Cilantro and orange pickled cabbage and shallots arranged on a wooden cutting board

To embark on making your own cilantro and orange pickled cabbage and shallots, you’ll need a basic set of ingredients. These typically include red cabbage, which adds a pop of color and crunch, shallots for their mild yet sharp taste, cilantro for its refreshing aroma, and of course, orange, for its sweet and tangorous zest.

To create the pickling solution, you will combine water with apple cider vinegar for its acidity, salt and sugar for seasoning, and add an array of spices like brown mustard seeds and coriander seeds. These spices lend a depth of flavor that elevates the overall profile of the pickle.

The process itself involves preparing the vegetables and then soaking them in the aromatic vinegar mixture. Over time, the mixture softens the vegetables and imbues them with its tangy essence.

This easy-to-follow recipe results in a condiment that’s not just a treat for the palate but also a feast for the eyes. The rich hues of the ingredients create an inviting visual appeal.

Cilantro and orange pickled cabbage and shallots arranged on a vibrant plate, showcasing their health benefits and nutritional value

Health Benefits and Nutritional Overview

Your attention to nutrition can significantly impact your overall health. Cilantro and pickled cabbage are not just flavorful additions to salads and side dishes, they’re also packed with beneficial nutrients.

Nutritional Components

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum): Cilantro offers a unique nutritional profile:

  • Vitamins: Rich in vitamin C, which is vital for your immune system.
  • Minerals: Contains iron, crucial for oxygen transport in your body.

Cabbage: This versatile green is nutrient-dense:

  • Calories: Low in calories, making it a weight-friendly choice.
  • Fiber: An excellent source of dietary fiber for digestive health.
  • Vitamin C: Loaded with vitamin C, surpassing even oranges in concentration.
  • Vitamin K: Essential for blood clotting and bone health.

Shallots: A type of onion known for its delicate flavor:

  • Antioxidants: Contains antioxidants that counteract oxidative stress.
  • Fiber: Delivers dietary fiber to support your digestive system.

Dietary Importance of Cilantro and Cabbage

Cilantro and cabbage serve as powerful ingredients in enriching your diet. Including them in salads or as a side dish provides:

  • Essential nutrients that promote health.
  • A diverse range of plant compounds beneficial for long-term well-being.

In particular, cilantro is recognized for its potential to detoxify heavy metals, while cabbage’s antioxidant properties make it a strong ally against inflammation. Integrating these greens into your diet not only enhances flavors but also fortifies your nutritional intake.

Ingredients List and Preparations

Cilantro and orange sit beside pickled cabbage and shallots, ready for preparation

In crafting a batch of cilantro and orange pickled cabbage and shallots, your selection of fresh ingredients and careful measurements will pave the way for a bold and tangy condiment that invigorates your palate.

Selecting Quality Ingredients

Cabbage: Freshness is crucial. Choose a firm head of green or red cabbage with crisp, colorful leaves.

Shallots: Opt for shallots that are dry, firm, and free from sprouts or signs of moisture.

Cilantro: Look for bright green, fresh-smelling bunches without any yellow or wilting leaves.

Oranges: Select oranges that are heavy for their size, indicating juiciness, with vibrant skin.

Carrots: Pick carrots that are firm all over without any soft spots or discolorations.

Apple cider vinegar2 cups

Prepare a pickling liquid with the vinegar combined with the same amount of water to ensure a balanced acidity.

Sweetening Agents:

  • Sugar: Balance the tanginess with a suitable amount of sugar as per your taste preference.
  • Brown Mustard Seeds: Typically, 1 tablespoon will suffice.

Salt: A necessary component for pickling, use salt cautiously. It draws out water from vegetables and acts as a preservative.

Additional Flavor EnhancersQuantity
Garlic cloves (optional)As per your liking
Lime juiceTo taste
OilAs needed for texture

Mix coriander seeds with the pickling liquid to infuse a warm, citrus-like spice that complements the other ingredients. The ratio is often about 2 1/2 tablespoons. Avoid overpowering the mixture; the aim is to enhance, not dominate. Be judicious with seasonings like garlic and lime juice, which can be potent.

Finally, the art of pickling lies in layering these ingredients in a sterile jar, ensuring equal distributions of flavours throughout. As you begin preparations, remember that the quality of your pickled vegetables will be as good as the ingredients and care you put into them.

Step-by-Step Pickling Process

In this section, you’ll learn how to create a vibrant and flavorful pickled cabbage with cilantro and orange that has a satisfying crunch. This process will take you through making the brine, combining the ingredients for a robust flavor, and proper storage techniques for the perfect marination.

Creating the Brine

Ingredients for the brine:

  • 1 cup white vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt or sea salt


  1. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar and salt are fully dissolved.
  3. Set aside to let the brine cool slightly.

Combining Ingredients for Flavor

Ingredients for flavor:

  • 1 small head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, shallots, orange zest, garlic, ginger, and black pepper together.
  2. Stir in the orange juice and cilantro to blend with the cabbage mixture.
  3. Transfer the ingredients into a jar or airtight container, packing them tightly.

Storage and Marination


  1. Pour the warm brine over the cabbage mix, ensuring that the liquid covers the vegetables completely.
  2. Seal the container with a tight-fitting lid.
  3. Refrigerate the jar for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld together and the acidity to develop, giving your pickles a bright and tangy flavor profile.

Prep time: 15 minutes | Total time: 24 hours

  • Storage: Always store your pickled cabbage in the refrigerator in an airtight container or jar to maintain its crunch and to prevent spoilage. The pickled cabbage will usually be at its best within 2 weeks of pickling.

Serving Suggestions and Pairings

Cilantro and orange pickled cabbage and shallots arranged on a white plate with a fork and knife

When you have cilantro and orange pickled cabbage and shallots on hand, you unlock a versatile condiment that can elevate a wide array of dishes. Let’s explore how to best incorporate this zesty pickled blend into your meals and adapt it across various cuisines.

Accompaniments for Meals

Salads and Slaws: To begin, consider cilantro and orange pickled cabbage and shallots as an invigorating addition to salads.

Integrate this pickled condiment into a cole slaw by tossing it with shredded carrots and a light vinaigrette.

The vinaigrette is made with olive oil, lemon juice, and a touch of honey for balance.

Tacos and Sandwiches: If you’re serving tacos, particularly chicken tacos, a spoonful of this tangy mixture can provide a bright contrast to the savory fillings.

It works similarly well as a topping on burgers and sandwiches, adding a refreshing crunch and a burst of flavor that complements the main protein, be it chicken or beef.

Main Dishes: Enhance your main courses by using the pickled cabbage and shallots as a side dish.

Its vibrant taste pairs well with grilled chicken, steak, or fish, effortlessly cutting through the richness of the meat.

Variations for Different Cuisines

Asian Influence: In the realm of Asian cuisine, transform your pickled cabbage and shallots into an Asian slaw.

Simply add ginger and substitute vegetable oil for sesame oil in your dressing.

Serve it alongside rice or as part of a bahn mi-style sandwich for an authentic touch.

Mediterranean Twists: For a Mediterranean flair, mix the pickled blend with greens like fennel and olive oil, and pair it with grilled lemon-marinated proteins.

Serving Size: Remember to use the pickled cabbage and shallots sparingly, as they are meant to complement your dish, not overwhelm it.

A couple of tablespoons per serving should suffice to infuse your meals with their unique character and zest.

Frequently Asked Questions

A jar of pickled cabbage and shallots surrounded by cilantro and oranges

In this section, you’ll find concise answers to commonly asked questions about cilantro and orange pickled cabbage and shallots, from preparations to storage tips.

What is the recipe for a slaw with cilantro, orange, and pickled cabbage?

To prepare a slaw with these ingredients, you’d create a brine with vinegar, salt, sugar, and spices.

Thinly slice green cabbage and shallots, toss with chopped cilantro, and mix in the brining liquid.

Incorporate freshly squeezed orange juice for a citrusy twist. Allow the mixture to marinate before serving.

How can I make a coleslaw with an orange-cilantro vinaigrette?

For a coleslaw with an orange-cilantro dressing, whisk together orange juice, olive oil, a hint of garlic, and chopped cilantro for the vinaigrette.

Combine with shredded cabbage and carrots, and mix thoroughly to coat the vegetables with the dressing.

Is there a citrus slaw recipe that doesn’t use mayonnaise?

Yes, a citrus slaw can be made without mayonnaise by using citrus juices like lemon and orange, combined with a sweetener like maple syrup, and olive oil as a healthier alternative to create a light, refreshing dressing.

What are some tips for storing pickled cabbage for long term?

For long-term storage, ensure your pickled cabbage is submerged in its brining liquid in an airtight container.

Store it in the refrigerator, where it can last for several months. Check periodically for any signs of spoilage.

Can you recommend some dishes that pair well with pickled cabbage?

Pickled cabbage pairs well with rich meats like pork, offering a refreshing contrast, and it can also complement tacos, burgers, or salads to add a tangy crunch.

Are there any health benefits associated with consuming pickled red cabbage?

Pickled red cabbage contains beneficial probiotics from the fermentation process. It is also high in vitamins C and K. The antioxidant properties of red cabbage may aid in reducing inflammation and improving digestion.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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