The 8 Best Napa Cabbage Substitutes for Cooking

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of cooking a recipe that calls for napa cabbage, only to realize you don’t have any on hand? Don’t worry, because we’ve got you covered!

In this article, we will explore the top 8 napa cabbage substitutes that can save the day in your kitchen. These versatile alternatives will add their unique flavors, textures, and nutritional properties to your dishes, ensuring you never miss out on the joy of cooking with napa cabbage.

The Top 8 Napa Cabbage Substitutes

Bok Choy

Bok choy, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a close relative of napa cabbage. It boasts a mild and slightly peppery flavor with a crunchy texture. Bok choy is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K. It is commonly used in stir-fries, soups, and salads, providing a delightful freshness to your dishes.

Savoy Cabbage

Savoy cabbage is a leafy green vegetable with a crinkled texture and a mild, slightly sweet taste. It adds a lovely crunch to stir-fries and coleslaws. Savoy cabbage is packed with nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, making it a healthy choice for your meals.

Green Cabbage

Green cabbage is a readily available and affordable substitute for napa cabbage. It has a crisp texture and a slightly stronger flavor compared to napa cabbage. Green cabbage is rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber. It works well in stir-fries, slaws, and cabbage rolls.

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Red Cabbage

Red cabbage, with its vibrant color and slightly peppery taste, is not only visually appealing but also a great alternative to napa cabbage. It has a crunchier texture and is packed with antioxidants and beneficial phytonutrients. Use it in salads, braises, or pickled for a tangy twist.

red cabbage isolated

Brussels Sprouts

Although Brussels sprouts may seem like an unconventional choice, they can work as a substitute for napa cabbage in certain recipes. These miniature cabbage-like vegetables offer a nutty flavor and a dense texture. They are an excellent source of vitamins K and C. Roasting or sautéing Brussels sprouts will enhance their natural sweetness.


Kale is a highly nutritious leafy green that can be a worthy replacement for napa cabbage. It has a slightly bitter taste and a sturdy texture. Kale is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber. Incorporate it into soups, salads, or stir-fries to add a delightful twist.

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard, with its colorful stems and dark green leaves, is another fantastic alternative to napa cabbage. It offers a mild and earthy flavor, similar to spinach. Swiss chard is a great source of vitamins A, K, and C. Sauté or braise it as a side dish or mix it into pasta and grain-based recipes.


Radicchio, a bitter leafy vegetable, can bring a unique flavor to your dishes as a substitute for napa cabbage. It has a vibrant purple-red color and adds a pleasant bitterness to salads, pasta dishes, or grilled preparations. Radicchio is low in calories and provides essential nutrients like vitamin K and antioxidants.

How to Use Napa Cabbage Substitutes in Your Cooking:

To incorporate these substitutes into your favorite recipes, consider the following suggestions:

  • Replace napa cabbage with bok choy in a stir-fry for added freshness and crunch.
  • Use savoy cabbage as a filling for cabbage rolls or as a base for coleslaw.
  • Add green cabbage to soups or stews for a hearty and nutritious addition.
  • Include red cabbage in salads or slaws for a vibrant and tangy twist.
  • Roast or sauté Brussels sprouts as a flavorful side dish or incorporate them into grain bowls.
  • Massage kale leaves with dressing to soften them for salads or use them in soups and smoothies.
  • Sauté Swiss chard with garlic and olive oil or mix it into pasta dishes for a burst of flavor.
  • Incorporate radicchio into salads, pizzas, or even grilled preparations to add a delightful bitterness.
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For recipe inspiration, here are a few suggestions:

  • Bok Choy and Mushroom Stir-Fry: Stir-fry bok choy and mushrooms with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce for a quick and nutritious side dish.
  • Savoy Cabbage Roll-ups: Fill blanched savoy cabbage leaves with a mixture of ground meat, rice, and spices, then bake until tender and delicious.
  • Red Cabbage Slaw with Apple: Toss shredded red cabbage with sliced apples, lemon juice, honey, and a pinch of salt for a refreshing and colorful slaw.
  • Brussels Sprouts and Quinoa Salad: Roast Brussels sprouts and mix them with cooked quinoa, dried cranberries, toasted almonds, and a lemon vinaigrette for a hearty and flavorful salad.
  • Kale and White Bean Soup: Simmer kale, white beans, onions, carrots, and vegetable broth together for a nourishing and comforting soup.


Having a variety of napa cabbage substitutes in your kitchen ensures that you can still create delicious and nutritious meals even when napa cabbage is unavailable.

Bok choy, savoy cabbage, green cabbage, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, Swiss chard, and radicchio offer a range of flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits that can elevate your culinary adventures.

So, don’t hesitate to experiment with these substitutes and discover new and exciting flavors. Share your experiences and recipe creations in the comments below, and happy cooking!

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