Potato Dumplings and Red Cabbage with Apples

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Potato dumplings and slowly cooked Austrian (German) red cabbage with apples are easy to prepare, inexpensive, vegetarian or vegan, healthy, and very delicious dishes. Despite the “low budget” and “simple home cooking” factor, they also pass as festive Christmas recipes. The potato dumplings are perfectly soft and fluffy. And the braised red cabbage with apples is full of flavor and pleasantly fruity. It’s definitely worth making both yourself in terms of taste!

Potato dumplings as well as braised red cabbage with apples are usually classic side dishes. For me, however, they complement each other to create a nice main course, for Xmas but also on every other day.

Initially, with the side dishes idea, I considered paying homage to the recipes in separate posts. But since they go so well together, I couldn’t separate them after all. But first one by one.

XXL gnocchi

If you ask yourself what potato dumplings are and what do potato dumplings taste like, I would describe them as XXL Gnocchi. Gnocchi are always good, and the whole thing on a huge scale is definitely not wrong. Potato dumplings are, so to speak, the big gnocchi sister from Austria (or Germany), where they are called “Knödel”, in this case “Kartoffelknödel”. They really are incredibly good, the ingredients are simple, and the preparation is relatively easy.

Which potatoes – and what else?

It’s no secret that potatoes go into potato dumplings. However, please do not buy just any, but definitely floury ones, like you would use for mashed potatoes, and not waxy ones that you example use for a potato gratin, where we want the slices to keep their shape. The potatoes for this recipe are (freshly) boiled. I mention this because there are also recipes with raw potatoes, or boiled and raw potatoes, or cold boiled potatoes.

What I keep preaching about recipes with potatoes: Please don’t skimp on potatoes. Even the slightly more expensive organic potatoes are still a cheap food. In my experience, the difference in taste is huge. So don’t reach for the cheap house brand sack, but please “invest” in good potatoes.

Apart from potatoes, the dumplings only contain flour, potato starch, and vegan butter. Seasoned with nutmeg and salt. Even without eggs inside the dough, they taste very authentic.

How to make potato dumplings

When I first made potato dumplings, I wondered if I was really breaking up just-cooked potatoes and then putting them back together into almost the same shape?! But believe me, this minimal extra effort is so worth it. They are so fluffy, velvety, smooth, delicate, soft – truly excellent!

For the most delicious potato dumplings, you must first boil potatoes, peel them, put them through a potato ricer * ) (this thing is so good and doesn’t cost the world! No leftovers stay inside like in the cheapest versions), mix with the other ingredients to form a dough and, after it has cooled down, form into dumplings and then place them in a large pot with hot salted water (they are prepared without a steamer). While it’s not a quick 15-minute recipe, it’s also not science that requires you to keep doing something.

In the recipe below, I describe some tips for sure-fire potato dumplings that are guaranteed not to fall apart during cooking – if you follow my recipe exactly. Speaking of cooking. If you’re wondering how long potato dumplings are properly boiled, then let me tell you: it’s best not at all! They only pull in hot salted water, in boiling water they would fall apart and dissolve in the water. After approx. 20 minutes steeping time, they are ready, at least when they appear on the surface.

On the photos, you can see the dumplings neatly cut apart with a knife and torn apart with a fork. Don’t they look delicious?

How to make potato dumplings ahead of time or freeze your leftovers

Should it happen that some of the delicious dumplings, or even the raw dough, is left over, or you want to make some ahead of time, then let me tell you that it is possible freezing them raw or cooked. They will not turn out quite as soft and fluffy as they were freshly made, but they’re still very good!

If you want to freeze the raw dough, you have to form dumplings first. Whether raw or cooked (but cooled!): First freeze them separately, i.e. on a tray or similar if there is space in your freezer, so that they don’t stick together in a lump. Then, after about an hour, you pack them airtight (in a bag or a can) and put them back in the freezer.

Frozen dumplings are reheated directly in hot (not boiling!) water. Prepare raw frozen dumplings as in the recipe as if they were freshly formed. The same goes for already cooked ones, but the brewing time is then reduced to about five minutes, until they float to the top again.

In the second photo, the dumplings were cut, and in the third one, they have been torn apart with a fork.

You can also store leftover (fully cooked) potato dumplings in the fridge and then fry them! I love using leftover potato dumplings from the day before. Simply heat a little oil in a pan, cut the dumplings into smaller pieces and fry them, season with pepper, and serve with a salad, for example. They will be nice and crispy on the outside, but wonderfully soft on the inside – mmmh!

But they taste especially good when fresh made – served with some homemade braised red cabbage with apples. …

Braised red cabbage: an underestimated delicacy

In my opinion, red cabbage (or purple cabbage as it’s also called sometimes) receives far too little attention; I confess, also at my home. Too bad, because red cabbage is so healthy – and so good! Whether raw in salads or summer rolls in summer or braised in autumn and winter – that’s how I love it most.

Braised, warm, soft, spicy red cabbage with apple goes wonderfully with – you can guess – right – potato dumplings. But also very easy with boiled, peeled potatoes (with a piece of vegan butter on top and salt) – that’s my variant if I want it to go faster.

I would describe this red cabbage with apple recipe as traditional Austrian or Viennese red cabbage, because I’ve known the taste since I was a child. However, here it is often prepared with (goose) lard or with some beef soup. Even in the case of obviously vegetarian or vegan recipes from Austria, some animal derived ingredient is often unnecessarily “hyped up”. It is for example the case with potato salad, but you can easily prepare Austrian Potato Salad vegan. So if you ever eat red cabbage in a restaurant, it’s better to ask to be on the safe side. 

How to season and prepare red cabbage

Making fresh braised red cabbage with apples yourself is not rocket science, but it does take a little time to marinate. A lot can be prepared the day before. However, the preparation itself is very quick and simple, especially with a food processor. You can find the details in the recipe at the end of this post, but here is a rough summary of how to cut, prepare, season, and cook the red cabbage:

For a wonderfully flavorful red cabbage, you first have to cut it into fine strips, then switch the blade of your food processor and grate the apple into the same container. Next comes vinegar, salt, pepper, (homemade) vegetable stock, and fruit juice (e.g. apple juice, but also orange juice or grape juice – or also fermented red grape juice, ergo red wine, nomnom if it doesn’t have to be quite so child-friendly), and then everything is nicely kneaded and then marinated – at best overnight.

The next day, an onion is fried and caramelized with a little sugar, then the red cabbage is added along with the liquid, and it is also refined with spices (bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves) before you leave it cooking for about an hour. With this method of preparation (kneading, marinating, slow cooking) the red cabbage becomes nice and soft.

Speaking of soft, warm cabbage: If you want to try another Austrian cabbage recipe, then make sure to try these delicious Krautfleckerl, a pasta dish made out of white cabbage.

Grandma’s level

Alrighty, gossiped enough. Now it’s time to get down to nitty gritty and show you how to prepare mouthwatering vegan potato dumplings and/or red cabbage with apples. The recipe seems very long, but that’s because I like to explain everything in detail.

You will see and taste that the result is digging – at least as good as grandma’s! She will probably even ask you for the recipe, hehe. Please recommend me.

Yield: 16 dumplings and 4 servings of cabbage

Vegan Potato Dumplings & Braised Red Cabbage with Apples

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Easy recipe for delicious homemade Austrian (German) vegan potato dumplings and slowly cooked vegan braised red cabbage with apples. For every day and Xmas.


Potato dumplings

  • 1 kg floury (!) potatoes
  • 50 g all-purpose flour
  • 200 g potato starch (potato flour)
  • 50 g vegan butter (soft, room temperature)
  • some freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • + 3 tbsp of salt for the cooking water (yes, it is salted generously)

Red cabbage

  • 1 smaller red cabbage (approx. 1 kg or 35 oz)
  • 2 apples
  • 5 tbsp vinegar (preferably apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar or mixed)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • some freshly ground black pepper
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) of juice (apple juice, orange juice or grape juice. It is not necessary, but grape juice for adults can also be used here, namely red wine)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable stock (or water mixed with 1/2 tsp vegetable stock powder)
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cloves
  • some oil (e.g. rapeseed oil)
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 tsp sugar (or other sweetener)


Potato dumplings

  1. Put the potatoes in cold water and bring to boil. Cold water is necessary so that the potatoes can cook evenly from the outside in. If you cook them in hot water from the very beginning, the edge becomes a kind of insulation layer and the heat can barely reach the inside of the potato.
  2. You can check if the potatoes are done (which will be after approx. 30 min., depending on the size of the potatoes) by poking a small kitchen knife or fork into one of the potatoes. The knife/fork should come in/out easily.
  3. Peel the potatoes. It’s easier by putting them into cold water for a moment, directly after cooking.
  4. Press the peeled potatoes through a potato ricer while they are warm. I use this potato ricer *) here, which is doing a great job since years. I highly recommend it!
  5. Mix with all other ingredients (flour, potato starch, vegan butter, nutmeg and 1 tsp salt) and knead until you have a smooth dough. If it still feels too sticky, add a little more potato starch. If the dough is too firm, you can make up for it with a little soft vegan butter. Please only add it in small increments so that you don't have to balance it out in the other direction and end up with a flour-butter mass.
  6. Let the mass cool down (in the refrigerator), this will make it easier to shape. So that you get dumplings of the same size, shape the mixture into a roll and cut it into equally sized pieces. Halve the dough = two parts, then halve each part again = 4 parts. Halve each of these parts again (= 8 parts) and then halve again. Et voilà, you have 16 parts of the same size.
  7. Form dumplings with slightly damp hands and make sure that they are as smooth as possible and have no cracks. By the way, they get a little bigger from cooking.
  8. Salt the cooking water generously (approx. 3 tablespoons in 3 liters of water) and bring to boil. Then switch to a low flame so that the water only simmers. This is important: so that the dumplings do not disintegrate, the water should be just before the boiling point and should never boil anymore.
  9. Slowly slide the dumplings into the water and let them steep for about 20 minutes until they have risen to the surface. Nudge the dumplings bit by bit in the water so that they don't stick to the bottom or to each other.
  10. Remove from the water, carefully with large spoons or something like this slotted spoon *).

!Red cabbage

  1. Remove the outer leaves from the red cabbage. Then cut into halves, then halve the halves again and cut off the stalk.
  2. Now cut the red cabbage as finely as possible. I use my kitchen machine *) for this step. Here, the bigger slicing blade is enough to cut it as fine as desired.
  3. Cut the apples into small pieces or grate them by simply changing the blade of the kitchen machine and grate them directly to the red cabbage.
  4. Now add vinegar, salt, pepper, juice, and vegetable stock and knead well with your hands. The whole thing can be processed immediately and tastes very good even then. But it will be very, very good if you let everything stand overnight.
  5. The next day, cut the onion into small cubes.
  6. Heat some oil in a large pan, add diced onions and fry until translucent.
  7. Next, add the sugar and let it caramelize a little.
  8. Now add the red cabbage along with all the liquid. Also, the bay leaf, the cinnamon stick, and the cloves. The cloves can be put in a tea infuser. Or taken out after cooking. Or just leave them inside - after cooking them for an hour, it's not that bad to bite on them (that's how I do it). Alternatively, you can place them into a peeled onion and add it to the pot during cooking time.
  9. Cover with a lid and simmer on low flame for about an hour.
  10. Check now and then to see if more liquid is needed. If so, just add a dash of water.
  11. At the end of the cooking time, when the red cabbage is nice and soft, remove the bay leaf and the cinnamon stick, as well as any cloves if you see some by accident.
  12. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I would love your thoughts, please comment:

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2 years ago

Such an authentic and delicious supper dish – I love red cabbage and the potato dumplings are a perfect pairing with it. Delicious!

2 years ago

I love how you break down this recipe!! It makes it so much easier to understand. I am definitely giving this a go over the holidays!!

2 years ago

I love this vegetarian dish!

2 years ago

I love the cabbage alone but the addition of the potato dumplings really makes this a delicious dish!

2 years ago

I absolutely love Kartoffelknödel! Such a wonderful comfort food. That texture looks perfect and love the pairing with the red cabbage.