Vegetable Qualities: Napa cabbage (sometimes called Chinese cabbage) has a sweeter, milder flavor than its head cousins, making it a good alternative for use in the kitchen.
Nutritional Benefits: Cabbage is one of the most nutritious vegetables available, packing formidable amounts of vitamins C, K, and folate, as well as dietary fiber vitamins B2 and B6, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese. A 1-cup serving of shredded raw cabbage contains 22 calories. Like other cruciferous vegetables, cabbage contains abundant phytonutrients, such as sulforaphane and indoles, which have proved in studies to fight cancer, especially prostate, colorectal, and lung
Storage: To help cabbage stay fresh longer, do not wash it until you are ready to use it. Store cabbage in the refrigerator vegetable crisper. Avoid slicing or shredding cabbage in advance, as this will cause it to lose a significant amount of vitamin C. Napa cabbage should be kept in a plastic bag, as it tends to absorb odors; it will keep for 4 to 5 days. Most head cabbages will keep for 1 week to 10 days, but their flavor and aroma may become stronger as they get older.
Quick meal prep:
Trimming and Cleaning
For head cabbage, strip off the outer leaves if they are wilted or yellowing. If you are not shredding the cabbage, store it whole or in large pieces; ultimately you should remove the core since it is bitter and not tasty. If you want to keep the outer leaves intact for wrapping or stuffing, boil the entire head for 1 to 2 minutes to make it easier to peel off the leaves.
Stir-Frying and Sautéing
Napa cabbage takes well to a quick stir-fry; just shred and cook it in a heated, oiled wok on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted but still crisp-tender. Green or red head cabbages, cut into ½-inch ribbons, may need a little longer, depending on their toughness and age.
• Try cutting up small wedges of raw cabbage and serving them with your favorite dip or salad dressing. Kids especially love eating cabbage (and many other raw veggies) this way.
• Bake cabbage with cheese at 350°F for 30 to 40 minutes for a filling, savory
• Stuffed cabbage dishes abound around the world. Some delicious fillings include combinations of bacon, onions, ground beef, sausage, lamb, tomatoes, mushrooms, or sauerkraut.
• Braise red cabbage with apples, a little red wine, and cinnamon or cloves.
• Cabbage is one of the staples of the New England boiled dinner, where it is cooked with corned beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions.
• Napa cabbage is ideal for stir-fries; cut it into strips and toss in with garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce.
• Thinly shred napa cabbage and add to very hot, clear beef or chicken broth. Sprinkle with soy sauce and top with tofu, thinly sliced mushrooms, and green onions for a delicate soup.
• Make homemade kimchi, the potent Korean condiment of pickled cabbage fermented with hot chiles, green onions, garlic, and anchovies or oysters. More and more evidence appears every day of fermented foods’ tremendous health benefits.
Asian Fusion Slaw
Serves 6 to 8
Source Note: This has become a staple in my potluck repertoire. It is easy and beautiful and offers a fresh twist on a classic.
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
¼ cup rice vinegar
1½ tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons soy sauce
6 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
2 bell peppers (any color), sliced into sticks
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
1 cup chopped salted peanuts
1 cup minced cilantro
1. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
2. In a big bowl, toss together the cabbage, peppers, and onions. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss. Add salt to taste.