Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

Red cabbage may be a food photographer's nightmare, but don't let that stop you from making this amazing Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese!

Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese found on

A few months ago I re-discovered this amazing Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese back in my archives and realized it was never going to get the attention it deserved without better photos, and then three times I tried to get a really good photo of this salad!  Unfortunately the salad ended up making me painfully aware of my limitations as a food photographer because after three tries the picture above is the best photo I could come up with for this amazing salad with slightly-wilted red cabbage, bacon, and goat cheese. I hope you won't let that stop you from trying this recipe; I promise this salad tastes amazing even though it was hard to photograph!

When I was a kid, my mom used to make a type of bacon and cabbage salad that everyone in our family loved. Her salad had lots of bacon, and used a huge amount of bacon grease and a little vinegar as the dressing. This cabbage salad has a lot of healthy red cabbage and a lot less bacon than mom's salad, and the dressing is mostly made from olive oil, for tasty salad with less saturated fat.  I used six slices of pre-cooked bacon (which has only 3 grams of fat per slice.) Then I cooked the bacon until it was very crisp and blotted off and drained more fat. The small amount of fat that's left in the pan delivers just enough bacon flavor! 

The addition of soft goat cheese is also a big flavor boost, and goat cheese has only 3 grams of fat per ounce.  I think Feta cheese would also be great here.

(Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese was first posted April 2007 and updated with new photos April 2015.  And if you're a big cabbage fan like I am, here are more Favorite Salads with Cabbage.)

Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese found on
Cook the bacon until it's very crisp and most of the fat is cooked out, then drain the pan but don't wipe it out.  Drain the bacon on paper towels.

Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese found on
Cut up the cabbage in to quarters and cut away the core.  Slice the cabbage into thin strips.  (I like a mix of thinner and slightly thinner strips for texture.)

Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese found on
Add the olive oil to the pan and heat, then saute the red onions until they're starting to soften. Add the vinegar and simmer 30-45 seconds.  Then add the cabbage and cook until it's barely wilted, tossing to coat with the dressing.  Season cabbage with salt and pepper, then put cabbage in a bowl and toss in the bacon and goat cheese.  YUM!

Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese found on

Original photo Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese found on
And here's the original photo of the salad from 2007. If I'd known how hard it would be to get a really good photo of this salad, I would have appreciated this photo a lot more!

Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese found on
Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe slightly adapted from Vegetables Every Day.)

1 small head red cabbage
6 slices bacon (For South Beach, use pre-cooked bacon, then crisp and blot off as much fat as possible)
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced red onion
3 T red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
fresh ground black pepper
3 oz. crumbled goat cheese (about 2/3 cup)

Heat a frying pan (large enough to hold the cabbage) and cook bacon until very crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels. Pour out bacon fat, but don't wipe out frying pan.

Remove discolored outer leaves of cabbage, then quarter cabbage and cut away the core. Slice cabbage into thin strips and put into large bowl.

Add olive oil to pan and saute onions until barely softened, 2-3 minutes. Add vinegar and simmer 30 seconds. Add cabbage and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring to coat cabbage with dressing. Cabbage should still be crisp.

Crumble bacon while cabbage cooks. Turn off heat and season cabbage with salt and pepper. Pour cabbage back into bowl, add bacon, crumble goat cheese over and stir to combine. Arrange salad on individual plates and serve.

South Beach/Low-Carb Suggestions:
This salad would be a great side dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet, keeping in mind that it should probably be a "once in a while treat" due to the saturated fat.  It would be suitable for most other types of Low-Carb eating plans.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Salads with Cabbage:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet or Low-Carb friendly; check ingredients.)
Apple-Jicama Slaw with Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Dressing ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Red Cabbage Salad ~ Taste and Tell

Thai-Style Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Mint and Cilantro ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Purple Power Salad ~ My New Roots

Crunchy Napa Cabbage Asian Slaw with Sugar Snap Peas, Radishes, Almonds and Cilantro  ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Quinoa and Red Cabbage Salad ~ Local Kitchen

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) 
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  1. Hola Kalyn! I just love red cabbage...have never tried like this. Bacon and goat cheese could really dress up a veggie :)
    Have a tasty week!

  2. Kalyn,
    I love bacon and this salad won my heart because of that. ;)

  3. This is one for my files Kalyn. I love red cabbage and can't get enough good recipes for using it. This one's a keeper. Thanks!

  4. My mother made a similar salad but with leaf lettuce. I loved it and I'm going to try yours with the cabbage...and the bacon! Life's short!

  5. I see I'm not the only bacon lover out there. Not the only cabbage lover too apparently. They really are a great combo.

  6. I can taste this just from looking at it. As Christine said, this one's a keeper.

  7. This sounds like a great combination! Good and good for you! I will definitely give it a try!

  8. The cabbage-bacon-feta combination sounds truly tasty, so I might try that one soon (not sure why, but cabbage/bacon seem to ask for firmer feta in my eyes, too, as opposed to creamier goat cheese).

  9. Wow! I just finished eating this... what a fantastic recipe! I did it without the bacon because I just am not big on bacon and it was perfect! The goat cheese is soft so you really need to mix that in well...

    I will absolutely make this again and again... and what a fantastic color it i will add to your meal!

  10. The slaw was really yummy. I served it atop mahi mahi tacos with ancho chili salsa. It provided a great texture element.

  11. Anonymous, love the idea of using this on fish tacos. That sounds like it would be fantastic.

  12. Nice ... I did it all different though, but that's the fun of cooking. I just poured some boiling water over my red cabbage. I made my bacon crispy in the microwave (between two sheets of kitchen paper). I didn't have any sherry vinegar, but I did have sherry and some lemon juice and I didn't have any goats cheese, but I did have some feta.... and still an awesome salad :)

  13. Your version sounds good to me!

  14. I think your picture looks great and I think this salad sounds great! I don't know if I've ever combined goat cheese and cabbage.

    1. Thanks Pam; you are too kind. I did work on the photo quite a bit, but it's still not great.

  15. I was wondering why you recommend throwing away the outer leaves when we waste so much food unnecessarily. The cabbage will be cooked so nothing cosmetic would show, is there something on the outer leaves that might be bad for you?

    1. Elizabeth I said "remove discolored outer leaves." This cabbage isn't really cooked, just barely wilted, so if the outer leaves are getting brown, that won't look appealing. Of course other people may use their cabbage up more quickly than I do. And of course if the outer leaves on your cabbage don't look bad, go ahead and use them if you prefer.

  16. I love red cabbage but I don't prepare it nearly enough. Adding bacon and goat cheese definitely makes me want to run right out and grab some. Looks delicious, Kalyn!

    Bill @

    1. Thanks Bill! Definitely three of my favorite salad ingredients.

  17. I make a similar salad with Savoy cabbage - but I think I need more bacon LOL And the onion.The photos are great!

    1. Thanks Katie! I know I'm too critical but all I see is the wrinkle in the fabric!


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