Napa cabbage isn't your ordinary cabbage. This crispy and crunchy Asian vegetable can be easily confused for green cabbage, though it's longer and has an oval shape. Napa cabbage remains a popular staple in Asian recipes because of its distinct taste, similar to celery or bok choy. And if that isn't enough, napa cabbage is also considered healthier — with fewer calories and a little more protein than the regular cabbage you'd find on the produce shelf.
From Asian recipes to quick topping ideas, here are eight things to do with napa cabbage.
Warm up with a hearty bowl of napa cabbage soup. Add a few cups of chopped napa cabbage to your favorite vegetable, chicken or beef soup; it will give your soup a lot of body and for fewer calories than most other ingredients.
Instead of using green cabbage, try some of the larger, outer leaves of napa cabbage. Cut them in half, steam or boil them until they just turn soft, and then fill with a mixture of cooked white rice and browned mild sausage or hamburger. Top with tomato sauce, and bake until bubbly.
Traditionally tacos are topped with a healthy handful of lettuce. A better choice is napa cabbage, which is more flavorful and totes a crisper texture, which contrasts nicely with the taco fillings.
Kimchee is a spicy Korean side dish, sort of like the hottest coleslaw you've ever eaten. Traditional kimchee can take several days to make. However, for a quick at-home version, combine a few cups of chopped napa cabbage, a tablespoon of sambal oelek (an Eastern hot sauce), 3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, 4 sliced garlic cloves and a healthy pinch of salt. Stir well, chill overnight, and then eat right out of the bowl!
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