Blood Orange Braised Red Cabbage on Barley

When I moved to California I couldn’t wait to stroll through the Farmers Markets and try all the different seasonal foods. One I was particularly excited for was the beautiful blood orange and since it’s in season, I am buying some every week! It must have been the color that attracted me, I felt like Abu from Aladdin reaching for that forbidden jewel. The anthocyanin pigment developed from cold conditions during development or post-harvest gives the flesh this rich ruby red. This fruit, high in antioxidants, actually tastes more like raspberries than oranges.  This recipe is adapted from My New Roots.

Blood Orange Braised Red Cabbage on Barley
Serves 4 people

1 cup (200g) of barley
2 – 2 ½ cups water
¼ tsp. of sea salt
1 small head red cabbage (approx. 500g /1 lb.)
2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic
knob of coconut oil or ghee
½ tsp. of sea salt
5 bay leaves
2 whole star anise
Black pepper
1 cup blood orange juice (from 3-4 oranges)
2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
1 blood orange, for garnish (optional)
Olive oil to garnish
Parsley to garnish


Rinse out the barley a few times till the water is clear. Add the barley in a pot with the water and bring to a boil. I use the Trader Joe’s ten minute barley but if you buy any other kind, it might take up to 40 minutes. Cook until tender. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork.
While the barley is cooking, prepare all the vegetables. Slice the cabbage into thin strips, slice onions and mince the garlic. Juice oranges, and keep one for garnish (optional), set aside.
Heat a knob of coconut oil or ghee in a large pot. Add the bay leaves, star anise, and a few grinds of black pepper. Let cook for about a minute. Add onions, stir to coat well and cook until the onions have softened (about 5 minutes). Add garlic, salt, and cabbage, stir to coat and cook on medium heat for a couple minutes to caramelize the vegetables, mixing every so often.
Add the apple cider vinegar and stir. Next pour in the orange juice, stir well. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and let cook for another 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is cooked and a little tender.
When you are ready to serve, scoop barley into the plates and add the braised cabbage on top. Garnish with parsley (highly recommended), olive oil and blood orange.

Will keep for a day in the fridge and can be eaten as a cold salad.

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