8 Things to do with napa cabbage

Napa Cabbage:
Beyond Slaw

Looking for a healthy crunch? Need something to wrap, wok or roll? Have you tried napa cabbage? Napa cabbage is an Asian vegetable that resembles regular green cabbage, but is longer and oval-shaped. Napa cabbage has slightly more protein and fewer calories than regular cabbage and a unique taste like a mild celery or bok choy. Here are eight things you can do with this very versatile veggie.


From Asian recipes to quick topping ideas, here are 8 things to do with napa cabbage.


Napa cabbage rolls

Instead of using green cabbage, try some of the larger outer leaves of napa cabbage. Cut them in half and 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.


Quick kimchi

Kimchi is a spicy Korean side-dish, sort of like the hottest cole slaw you've ever eaten. Traditional kimchi 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 olek (an Eastern hot sauce), 3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, 4 sliced cloves of garlic, and a healthy pinch of salt. Stir well, chill overnight and then eat right out of the bowl!

More Napa Cabbage Recipes >>


Napa cabbage stir-fry

If you have eaten a Chinese dish with vegetables, you have probably eaten napa cabbage. Typically, they are white squares that look like they should be onions, but have not turned clear. To do your own napa cabbage stir-fry, peel off 20 to 25 leaves and cut off the leafy green sections until all you have is the firmer white stems. Cut the white stems into two-inch pieces. Heat some peanut oil in a wok, cook the napa cabbage for 3 to 4 minutes until it starts to soften, and then add your favorite stir-fry sauce. Cook until the sauce starts to bubble. Serve hot over rice.


Napa cabbage slaw

Got a favorite cole slaw recipe? Try it with shredded napa cabbage. Napa cabbage slaw has a subtly different flavor and texture than classic cole slaw and is particularly tasty if you add fruit. For your next slaw, combine 2 cups diced mango, a finely diced jalapeno, 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 cups shredded napa cabbage, and 4 tablespoons rice or red wine vinegar. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight and serve.


Braised napa cabbage

For a quick and easy side-dish, add the cut up white stems of the napa cabbage to a skillet and cover them half way with vegetable broth, ground ginger, garlic powder, and a few teaspoons of soy sauce. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until the napa cabbage becomes soft.


Napa cabbage spring rolls

Napa cabbage has a great crunch that's perfect for spring rolls. Simply slice napa cabbage into thin strips and roll with cooked shrimp, rice noodles, and fresh basil in a spring roll wrapper. Serve with a dipping sauce of soy sauce, chilies and fish sauce.


Napa cabbage taco topping

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.


Napa cabbage soup

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.

Napa cabbage recipes

Asian Chicken and Vegetable Slaw
Shredded salads
Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

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Comments on "8 Things to do with napa cabbage"

Kathy Kettner March 30, 2014 | 4:17 PM

Thinly slice the cabbage. Make a warm bacon vinegar dressing. You will make it again and again.

Maria Castro November 07, 2013 | 5:07 PM

I bought a very large Napa cabbage from my local farmers market and before this have never used Napa cabbage.However, what I ended up doing was browning some ground chuck with onions, garlic, cilantro, and cumin, once the meat was cooked I added the cabbage with some potatoes, tomatoes, 2 cups of water and some chicken and tomato bouillon. It tasted amazing and my husband who does not like vegetables didn't even notice the cabbage was different :-) Just thought I'd share a recipe that was not Asian influenced, just in case, like me, you don't have any of the ingredients the above recipes call for.

Louise August 31, 2013 | 11:59 AM

We had this wonderful napa cabbage salad for the first time yesterday. I had looked at this veggie but never knew what to do with it. This salad had ramen noodles, sesame seeds and slivered almonds all toasted together and mixed with the dressing at the last moment - it was delicious!

No Brainer July 10, 2012 | 11:46 PM

@ Linda-- simple solution would be to do a Google search.

Randy June 26, 2012 | 1:36 PM

I always walk past these at the store, they look funny, and the are definitely not as pretty as some of the other greens that neighbor it in the produce section. Now however I am super intrigued and will probably pick them up and try the spring rolls! Yum

Marsha June 23, 2012 | 3:14 PM

Good ideas all. For spring rolls, a healthy and low-cal alternative is to use the leaves of Napa cabbage as the actual wrappers. Works great, tastes terrific. As for taco toppings, "traditionally" lettuce is not the topping of choice for tacos. It is in fact shredded cabbage, at least in Mexico.

Linda Michigan March 21, 2012 | 6:10 AM

Great ideas however following up with the recipes would have turned this from a 2 to a 5. How could a reader who does not know how to make kimchi hope to know how much of each ingredient to add. I have had the Tai veggie/meat rolls they are great sure wish I knew how to make em.

sylvia December 30, 2011 | 5:05 PM

Cabbage....Very good for us...Many ways to enjoy the good vegetable...enjoy!........

Pat October 08, 2011 | 1:59 PM

As I sit with a napa cabbage in my frig from an expedition to a chinese grocery, these tips sound great. This cabbage may go into 2 or 3 of the suggestions you list. Thanks a lot.

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