Bright green napa cabbage is so eye-catching, yet most of us probably stroll by every time we see a head hanging out in the produce section. Why? Because we aren’t really sure what the heck to do with it. If your interest in napa cabbage has been piqued, we’ve got good news. It’s actually really versatile — not to mention that it packs a pretty heavy nutritional punch.
With a texture somewhere between celery and bok choy, you really can’t go wrong using napa cabbage in these tasty recipes.
1. 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.
2. Napa cabbage rolls
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.
3. 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.
4. Quick kimchee
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!
5. 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 halfway with vegetable broth, ground ginger, garlic powder and a few teaspoons of soy sauce. Cook over medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes or until the napa cabbage becomes soft.
Next up: Napa cabbage stir-fry
Originally published July 2009. Updated July 2017.