Making kimchi without napa cabbage is possible, but it will not be the same.
Napa cabbage has a unique flavor and texture. However, if you do not have any napa cabbage available, there are a few substitutes that you can use instead.
So if you’re looking for an alternative to Napa Cabbage in recipes, Bok Choy, red cabbage, and many more are definitely the way to go!
Maybe you’re not sure how to use them in your recipes, don’t worry, we’ll show you how and how you can store them longer up to six months.
So stay tuned.
What is Napa Cabbage?
It is a type of cabbage originating from China. The leaves are long and pointy, as opposed to round cabbages you’ll see at the grocery store. It is also popular as a white napa cabbage.
This variety has been around for about 500 years. Still, it’s becoming more popular throughout the world for its taste and nutritional properties.
Research said, Napa Cabbage is very high in vitamin C and other antioxidants. It contains ursolic and oleanolic acid, which have anti-microbial properties.
Napa Cabbage is most commonly found in Asian dishes such as kimchi and stir fry. The leaves are sweet-crispy, and the texture is almost noodle-like.
Is Chinese cabbage the same as Napa cabbage?
Napa cabbage is a specific variety of Chinese cabbage, but not all Chinese cabbages are Napa cabbages.
Napa cabbage is known for its tender leaves and mild flavor. It’s a popular ingredient in salads, kimchi, and stir-fries.
Whereas Chinese cabbage is a leafy vegetable and part of the cruciferous family, which also includes: broccoli, Bok Choy, collard greens, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
Chinese cabbage has a lighter texture than Napa and stronger flavors.
Chinese cabbages can be distinguished by their color. Napa cabbage has light white or green heads with pale green leaves inside. Other varieties of Chinese cabbage include bok choy, Chinese mustard cabbage, and tatsoi.
Each type has a different leaf, with white or green leaves and bright white stems.
Today, Napa cabbage is widely available in supermarkets and farmers’ markets. It can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Chinese cabbage is also available at most grocery stores, but it may not always be labeled as such. It’s a popular ingredient in many Asian dishes and can also be pickled.
12 Napa Cabbage Substitutes
Day by day, Napa Cabbage gaining its popularity, and not every time you can find it nearby you, then you can substitute napa cabbage with- Bok choy, Head Cabbage, sweetheart cabbage, kale, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, brussels sprout, January king cabbage and so on.
Keep reading and know how to have those alternatives while there is no “Napa.”
Napa cabbage is a common ingredient in Asian dishes. However, if you are looking for a substitute, Bok Choy is a good option. Bok choy has a slightly different flavor than napa cabbage, which is less crunchy.
Bok Choy is a variation of Chinese cabbage high in beta carotene, vitamin C and K. It is a good source of calcium, folate, and iron.
Bok Choy is a delicious addition to your diet and is very versatile. You can add this hearty vegetable to stir-fries, soups, salads, casseroles or eat it as a side dish. It is low in calories but rich in nutrients.
Additionally, you can use bok choy in dishes like Hot and Sour Soup, Chinese Chicken Salad, and Pork Stir Fry.
Bok choy has a very mild flavor compared to Napa cabbage. So if you are looking for a softer texture in your dish, Bok choy is the better option.
You can easily store Bok Choy in the vegetable crisper in your refrigerator for up to five days. When storing it in the fridge, place it inside a plastic bag to keep the humidity out.
2. GREEN CABBAGE
Green Cabbage is also known as white cabbage; Head Cabbage or King Cabbage is a popular vegetable widely eaten worldwide.
Green cabbage can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. It is often used in salads, coleslaw, soups, and stews.
As green cabbage and napa cabbage are two different varieties of cabbage, all dishes that require napa can be made with green instead.
Head cabbage is a versatile vegetable that can be used in many dishes. It is healthy, low in calories and fat, and fiber.
Use Green cabbage as an alternative to napa cabbage in Korean Kimchi Recipe or your favorite recipes for a delicious and healthy meal.
3. SAVOY CABBAGE
If you’re looking for a cabbage that is both beautiful and delicious, then look no further than the Savoy Cabbage.
Savoy Cabbage can use as a substitute for napa cabbage in most recipes, except for dishes where the leaves will be stuffed since savoy cabbage does not form a bulb.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy savoy cabbage is simply to chop it up and add it to your favorite salad. Savoy cabbage can also be used as a wrap for sandwiches or topping for pizza.
If you’re looking for a way to incorporate savoy cabbage into the main course, consider using it in place of napa cabbage in recipes like stir-fries, soups, or stews.
You can even use savoy cabbage to replace potatoes in dishes like mashed potatoes or potato pancakes.
Savoy cabbage is a versatile vegetable that can be used in various dishes, so don’t be afraid to experiment with it!
With its ruffled leaves reminiscent of lace curtains in an elegant ballroom or gently curling nature, this vegetable will make your dinner table shine as nothing else could!
4. BRUSSELS SPROUT
Brussels sprouts are small green cabbages related to broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. They have a mildly tangy taste and are typically cooked by boiling, steaming, or roasting.
Napa cabbage is a little sweet, while Brussels sprouts taste bitter. If you want to add a savory flavor to your dish, Brussels sprouts are the way to go.
You can use brussels sprout in place of napa cabbage in recipes like stir-fries, slaws, and kimchi. They also work well when added to stews, soups, and rice dishes.
Brussels sprouts will last for up to a week when stored in the fridge. Make sure to keep them in a moisture-free environment and away from direct sunlight.
You can also freeze them for up to six months. Just blanch them in boiling water for two minutes, then transfer them to a zip-top bag and freeze.
Now that you know all about Brussels sprouts, it’s time to give them a try in your next dish!
5. JANUARY KING CABBAGE
In France, January king cabbage or January Red Head, a.k.a chou de Milan de Pontoise, is a crossbreed between savoy cabbage and white cabbage.
The name comes from its cultivation time, January or winter season. January King Cabbage carries a unique tone has a small head with bluish-green leaves surrounding a dense, bright purple-red head of watered leaves.
January King Cabbage looks beautiful and has a slightly sweet and peppery taste that is really delicious when cooked! You can use it in Kimchi and other dishes where Napa cabbage is usually used.
My favorite way to enjoy this kind of cabbage is by stir fry with beef and vegetables; you can also try this. As with most vegetables, it is a good idea to cut them into fairly small pieces to cook evenly.
Please store January King Cabbage in a plastic bag with the air removed from the bag. If properly stored, it will keep for at least a week.
6. RED CABBAGE
Red Cabbage is a type of cabbage that has a reddish-purple color. It is typically used in salads, slaws, and stir-fries. Red Cabbage has a slightly bitter taste and a firm texture.
Red cabbage is a great substitution for napa cabbage in slaws and salads. It also works well in stir-fries, where its slight bitterness provides a nice contrast to the other flavors in the dish.
Try adding some apple cider vinegar or honey to help cut through the slight bitterness of the red cabbage. Additionally, you can add a touch of sweetness to your dish by using maple syrup to help balance out the flavors.
We recommend storing red cabbage in the crisper section of your refrigerator for up to two weeks. To keep it fresh, store it in a plastic bag and make sure to remove any excess air before sealing. You can also freeze red cabbage for up to six months.
7. POINTED CABBAGE
Pointed Cabbage A.K.A sweetheart cabbage, Hispi cabbage, sweeter cabbage.
Hispi cabbage is a variety of cabbage that crosses between savoy and red cabbages. It is slightly sweeter than other varieties. It’s tasty, crunchy leaves with a sweet and mild flavor used in many dishes in place of napa cabbage.
Pointed cabbage is a versatile vegetable; try it in coleslaw, stir fry, and sauerkraut dishes. Simply substitute an equal amount of it as napa cabbage.
This substitution can be made to apply to sauces, soups, and any dish.
Hispi cabbage can be stored in the fridge for up to four days. To store, place the cabbage in a plastic bag and store it in the fridge.
For best results, do not wash the cabbage before storing it. If you need to wash the cabbage, wait until you are ready to use it. Washing the cabbage will reduce its storage time.
8. SPRINGS GREENS
Springs greens are nothing but the small leafy greens cultivated or available in spring.
Springs greens are a great alternative to napa cabbage in a salad. Just add some sprinkles of black pepper and salt.
Endive ( chicory ) is a leafy vegetable. It belongs to the dandelion family, and it’s related to radicchio, although the endive has less color.
The endive comes in curly endive, broad-leafed endive, and escarole. All these types are usually presented either fresh or dried. The taste of endive is slightly bitter and tangy, but it’s also a little sweet.
You can enjoy Endive in several ways in replacement of napa cabbage: raw in salads, slaws, cooked as a side dish or added to soups or stews. It’s also tasty as an excipient in sandwiches, wraps, and pizzas.
First of all, make sure you destem off any brown edges (if necessary) and cut the endive in half lengthwise. Then slice the cabbage thinly crosswise.
You can use it exactly like napa cabbage, but I recommend adding lemon juice or vinegar to endive salads. This way, they won’t become soggy, and you’ll get a nice contrast in flavors.
Endive is not as crisp and tender as napa cabbage, but it can be used in the same ways. Top with a vinaigrette or other sauce to add flavor. Endive can also be added to salads and slaws for an extra crunch.
After purchasing, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate. Use within 3-5 days. Try using a paper towel to blot any excess moisture before storing. It will stay fresh longer if the leaves are kept dry.
You can also freeze it for up to six months. To freeze, blanch the endive for three to four minutes before freezing.
Kohlrabi is a type of cabbage that is often used in European cuisine. Kohlrabi tastes like juicy cabbage/turnip with hints of broccoli stems or hearts of palm. It has a texture more similar to jicama or turnip than cabbage.
The entire plant is edible. The leaves and stems are edible, cooked, or raw. The swollen stem is a crisp, slightly sweet, and densely nutritious morsel that tastes like a blend of water chestnut, broccoli stem, turnip with cabbage undertones.
You can have Kohlrabi raw or cooked. Kohlrabi is a great napa cabbage alternative in salads because of its crunchy texture and mild flavor. Cut it into matchsticks or thin slices for best results. It can also be eaten cooked, roasted, grilled, broiled, braised, etc.
Wrap it in a damp paper towel and place it in a plastic bag, then store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. Alternatively, you can store it in the freezer for up to six months.
11. CHOY SUM
Choy sum is a type of Chinese cabbage. It has a sweet and delicate taste and can be stir-fried, boiled, or used in soup. Choy sum is a good source of vitamins A and C and dietary fiber.
Choy sum is similar to napa cabbage but has a slightly sweeter taste and firmer texture. It can be replaced in any dish that calls for napa cabbage as an ingredient. I find choy sum to be delicious in my Pineapple Fried Rice!
Choy sum is best when kept whole and refrigerated, away from strong-smelling foods. They can last for about two weeks when stored this way.
Kale is an edible green leaf vegetable belonging to the Brassica family of vegetables (also known as cruciferous vegetables).
The leaves are usually dark green and curly or flat, but sometimes they can be purple or red depending on the cultivar. Some varieties look similar to cabbage, but its taste is usually much stronger and sweeter than that.
The two vegetables are very similar, so you can interchangeably use kale and napa cabbage. However, the taste of kale is stronger than that of napa cabbage, so you may want to consider using less.
Kale is commonly steamed, boiled, or stir-fried, but you can also use it in salads with olive oil and lemon juice.
Kale can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Keep it in a bag or airtight container, and make sure it’s dry before putting it away.
12. CHINESE LETTUCE/CELTUCE
Chinese lettuce, also known as chrysanthemum leaves, is a vegetable used in East Asian cuisine. The leaves have a slightly bitter taste and are often used in salads or wraps for rice rolls.
You can use Chinese lettuce in any dish that calls for Napa cabbage. If you are making a stir fry, chop up the Chinese lettuce into small pieces and add it to your wok along with carrots, garlic, ginger, etc.
If you assemble spring rolls or rice paper rolls, try substituting half of the napa cabbage with Chinese lettuce. You can even use it in soups or stews.
Chinese lettuce is also called baby bok choy because the leaves are quite small. The Chinese Lettuce has long green leaves that grow close together on thick white stems.
You can store Chinese lettuce in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Substitute for Napa Cabbage in salad
There are various types of cabbage available, so feel free to substitute another type if you cannot find Napa cabbage.
Savoy cabbage and green cabbage both work well in salads. You can also use Bok choy or Chinese cabbage if you look for a slightly different flavor.
If you are looking for a crunchier texture, you can try using pointed cabbage, endive, kohlrabi in your salads. As with any salad recipe, feel free to customize the ingredients to fit your taste preferences.
Napa Cabbage Substitute Kimchi
For those of you who live outside Korea, they might be wondering how to make kimchi without Napa cabbage. This ingredient is used almost in all recipes for kimchi because it has the perfect texture and durability to ferment.
Napa cabbage is also known as Chinese cabbages or Beijing cabbages. It’s a type of lettuce that is round and has a white stem. If you can’t find Napa cabbage, you can use bok choy, a Chinese cabbage type.
If it’s a soup-based kimchi recipe, you can substitute it with Chinese mustard greens or spinach. Still, if it’s tofu stuffed kimchi, you can use another type of cabbage or even spinach.
You can also use head cabbage, Green cabbage, Brussels sprout, and January King Cabbage.
Read More- Sometime we can’t find the key ingredinet of Kimchi that is Gochujang. While you have Napa in your hand but no Gochujang paste- here is 10 Gochujang Paste alternatives.
How is napa cabbage different from regular cabbage?
Taste, texture, and cooking qualities are the main differences between regular cabbage and napa cabbage.
Napa cabbage is more delicate and has a softer crunch than regular cabbage. Its flavor is milder, making it a popular choice for salads and other dishes where regular cabbage might be too strong. Napa cabbage is also a bit pricier than regular cabbage.
Napa Cabbage season is from May through November, while the regular green cabbage season is from October through April.
Napa is the key ingredient of Kimchi, where regular cabbage is used as a substitution.
Wrap Up On Substitute for Napa Cabbage in Different Recipes
So, suppose you’re looking for a substitute for Napa cabbage in your recipes. In that case, you now know that bok choy, savoy cabbage, and Chinese cabbage are all viable options.
Each one has its own unique flavor and texture, so be sure to experiment until you find the one that’s perfect for your dish.
Although whatever you choose, the final result is come out amazing. Happy cooking!
FAQs Related to Napa Cabbage & Its Alternatives
Q1. Is napa cabbage related to cabbage?
Napa cabbage is a kind of Chinese cabbage. It is related to other types of cabbages, such as white cabbage, red cabbage, and savoy cabbage.
Napa cabbages are typically light green in color and have smooth leaves.
They are used in salads, stir-fries, and soups. Napa cabbages are also known as Chinese white cabbage or pe-tsai.
Q2. Can you substitute napa cabbage for green cabbage?
Yes, napa cabbage can be substituted for green cabbage in most slaw recipes.
Napa cabbage has a milder flavor and a more delicate texture than green cabbage, so it is good for salads and slaws.
Be sure to select a firm napa cabbage with no brown spots.