Recipe: Sauerkraut with Fennel

Makes 16 servings. Prep time: 15 minutes. Wait time: 5–7 days.
A Stephanie Weaver recipe

by Alexandra Williams, MA


Stephanie Weaver, MPH, has been renovating recipes for over 30 years, and
sharing them on her blog,, since 2010. As she learned more about the health benefits of raw foods, she grew adventurous about trying new foods, especially those high in probiotics (live microorganisms in food that confer a health benefit on the host). The bacteria in fermented foods such as sauerkraut and pickles are considered probiotics.
Weaver likes this recipe for sauerkraut because it requires few ingredients and is fairly easy to make. “It’s crispy, with a pleasantly sour taste. I like adding vegetables such as beets, carrots and fennel,” she says. She cautions cooks not to confuse sauerkraut with cooked cabbage, which she “detests.”

One head cabbage, green or red
3–4 large carrots
1 bulb fennel
1 Tbsp sea salt or kosher salt
Slow-cooker liner or food-grade plastic bucket
Flat-bottomed cup to mash down the vegetables in the pot
Plate that fits inside the pot
Clean rock or water-filled jug (to weigh down the vegetables)

Wash the vegetables. Remove any wilted outer leaves from the cabbage, then cut it in quarters and remove the hard core. Using a sharp knife or a food processor fitted with a shredder disk, shred or finely slice the cabbage. Shred or grate the carrots. Remove any hard stems from the fennel, then finely chop.
Set a large bowl on the counter with the salt next to it. As you shred the veggies, add them to the bowl. Sprinkle each layer lightly with salt. (You can make this without salt, although it will not be as crisp.)
When all the vegetables are prepared, mix everything together thoroughly.
The salt draws the water out of the vegetables and creates a natural brine.
Pack the slow-cooker liner or bucket, using the flat-bottomed cup to mash each layer flat, removing any air. Once you have all the vegetables in there, put the plate on top and press down. You should already have a fair bit of brine. Add the weight. Press again.
Ensure that the liquid rises above the level of the plate so the vegetables are not in contact with air (otherwise you will get mold, not fermentation). If there is not enough liquid, add a bit more. Fermentation usually happens within a few hours. If it hasn’t happened overnight, then make 1 cup of salt water by mixing 1 Tbsp of salt with 1 C of filtered water and pour it in.
Put a clean kitchen towel over the slow-cooker liner or bucket and place it in a cool, dark place. Check it after 3 or 4 days, and skim off any foam that has formed, washing the weight, then replacing it. Taste the sauerkraut after 5 days. Once it’s ready, remove it to a container and store it in the refrigerator.
Makes 16 servings. Prep time: 15 minutes. Wait time: 5–7 days.

Meet our experts

AFM_Author_Williams Alexandra Williams, MA, A writer and editor, as well as a lecturer at UC Santa Barbara in the department of Exercise Studies, Sport and Recreation. She is a vegetarian who cooks and bakes from scratch. Find her at

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